According to the New York Post, Australian megachurch founding Brian Houston has resigned from his position at Hillsong.
That move comes as Houston is facing criminal charges for allegedly helping to hide child sex abuse committed by his late father.
Authorities say pastor was part of a coverup
The 67-year-old pastor spoke about his departure in a statement that was posted on Sunday to Hillsong’s official website.
“In September last year, I learned it was necessary for me to step aside as a director of all Hillsong boards during this season, enabling me to give attention to these charges,” Houston, 67, wrote.
“But recently,” he continued, “we made a decision that may come as a surprise to you, and I want you to hear it from me directly.”
“The court processes are likely to be drawn out and take up most of 2022 (especially considering the backlog in the courts, exacerbated by the COVID pandemic),” Houston explained.
“We have talked about the effects of the situation with my father, which go back many years up to the current legal case, and the impact this has had on me emotionally.
“The result is that the Hillsong Global Board feel it is in my and the church’s best interest for this to happen, so I have agreed to step aside from all ministry responsibilities until the end of the year.”
Meanwhile, the Post noted that Houston’s daughter, Laura Toggs, has made clear that her mother will remain “remain fully engaged in church life.”
Other scandals plague church
News of Houston’s decision to step down is only the latest scandal to rock Hillsong. The Post reported in November that the wife of disgraced pastor Carl Lentz claims to be suffering from depression as well as PTSD.
Lentz was fired from Hillsong after the couple’s former nanny came forward with allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior between 2011 and 2017. What’s more, the nanny claimed that Lentz’s wife “blamed and silenced” her when she attempted to come forward.
For his part, Lentz has denied the allegations leveled by the former nanny. However, he did admit to having an affair with a New York fashion designer.