A lawyer for Hillsong Church co-founder Brian Houston has told a Sydney court he will plead not guilty to charges of concealing child sexual abuse by his late father, Frank Houston.
The senior global pastor of the evangelical mega-church was in the United States when he was served with a court attendance notice in August, following a two-year investigation into allegations he failed to report the alleged abuse of a boy in the 1970s.
Mr Houston returned to Australia from the US last month to face the charge of concealing a serious indictable offence, with NSW Police alleging he “knew information relating to the sexual abuse of a young male in the 1970s and failed to bring that information to the attention of police”.
He was released from hotel quarantine last week but did not appear in person at Downing Centre Local Court in central Sydney on Tuesday for the matter’s first mention.
His lawyer told the court her client would be pleading not guilty.
Frank Houston, who died in 2004, has been accused of abusing a total of nine boys while a Pentecostal preacher.
Court documents allege Mr Houston, 67, knew as early as September 1999 that his father had committed an indecent assault in 1970.
“Believing that Frank Houston committed that offence and knowing that he had information that might be of material assistance in securing the prosecution of Frank Houston for that offence,” the documents allege, Mr Houston “failed to bring that information to the attention of NSW Police.”