Misleading the Royal Commission: Brian Houston Hiding Behind His ‘Straw man victim’

It is a sad day when the head of an Australian denomination and the Senior Pastor of a
network of mega-churches hides behind a victim of child sexual abuse (named AHA (1)).

That is, Brian Houston USED the victim, AHA, to get what he wanted, and lies.

How Brian Houston/AOG management handled his father's child sex abuse allegations is under scrutiny by the Royal Commission

“Any person who practises any fraud or deceit, or intentionally makes or exhibits any statement, representation, token, or writing, knowing it to be false, to any person called or to be called as a witness before any Royal Commission with intent to affect the testimony of that person as a witness, commits an indictable offence. Penalty: Imprisonment for two years.”[Source]

Brian Houston, with his conflict of interests, used AHA by fabricating a straw an version of the victim and isolating him from any independent investigation and process. The result was 1) a failure to follow AOGA procedure;  2) the perpetrator was not reported to police (mandatory); 3) justice was not done and NO ONE heard the details of the allegation; 4) the matter was covered up; and 5) the only people to deal with the victim were Frank Houston (the perpetrator) and Brian Houston (the son of the perpetrator), which traumatised AHA even further.

Note:
The “straw man-victim” does not represent the real victim, but rather a
fallacious depiction of the victim, a version that suits Brian’s purposes.

brian-houston-lyingtocommission

And finally, when Brian’s cover-up was exposed at the 2014 Royal Commission (3), he attempted to hide behind clergy privilege. This wasn’t mentioned  in Brian’s book, Live Love Lead, where he paints his life as the mentor leader for his disciples to follow.

You may be wondering how this could be. The answer lies in the lack of accountability of Brian Houston –  such is the fruit of the New Apostolic Reformation governance of NAR style mega-churches. The Royal Commission exposed Brian Houston as a leader who disregards the rules of the land, the rules of his denomination and the rules of Scripture. The Bible refers to it as lawlessness.

brian-houston-caught-lying

This article shows how Brian Houston used his straw man victim to achieve what he wanted,
(influence, control, justification for his actions, and sympathy), and how he got away with it.

As recently as February, 2016, on the ABC’s  Inside Story, Brian Houston presented his strawman victim to justify why he did not report his father to police. He also used this same straw man/victim idea to mislead the AOGA executive in their processing and determination of the matter, back in 1999.

Brian’s straw man/victim: he  was so “brittle” he didn’t want any investigation or anyone to know his identity, and only Brian had access to him.

Why? Because Brian Houston, son of the perpetrator, could position himself to be the sole investigator and the only AOGA executive to deal with the victim. There was no independent investigation, there were no witnesses, and nothing was recorded of Brian’s dealings with both the victim, AHA, and his father, the perpetrator. Brian was therefore free to spin any version of events he wanted, which he did.

The result was the real victim being denied official AOGA process, justice, counselling and compassion. The matter was not made public by decree of the AOGA. And it is shocking that no-one in the AOGA (including Brian) ever got to hear the victim’s account of the sexual abuse inflicted on him when he was a young boy, by Frank Houston, over several years. Brian only heard his father’s version, and Frank lied.

So how could this happen? Brian actually knew the victim, knew he was considering legal proceedings and knew the victim was represented by Ps. Barbara Taylor (2) who had been trying to get the AOGA to deal with the matter for almost a year. (Brian took over the matter from Taylor and then cut her out.)

The answer is simple: Brian can – he has little accountability. With regards to the AHA matter:

  1. Brian was influential as president of the AOGA executive – the men who had “served my vision and watched my father lead” (Live Love Lead, p.85);
  2. Brian handpicks his church eldership/board,  thus he is in charge (source 1 – BWR, source 2 Australian Story);
  3. Brian controlled the information (see below); and
  4. His loyal church was told that the Royal Commission and anyone critical, was unfairly dealing with him. (source 1 Inside Story, source 2 SMH 2015)

The following information explains and provides evidence from the Royal Commission and other sources about how Brian Houston misled and withheld key information from the AOGA in 1999 and continues to this day, to mislead the Australian public over his cover-up and the far reaching effect of his father’s predatory behavior. 

In particular, Brian lied and hid behind the strawman-victim AHA to justify why he broke the law.

Brian also used the victim to help make himself look like Mr.Nice Guy – by being ‘sensitive’ to AHA’s wishes and his ‘brittle condition’. To the contrary, AHA would have been much better off if the AOG had done their job properly by following their own procedure and Brian removed himself from handling the matter, due to his obvious conflict of interest.

Instead, Brian positioned himself as the sole executive to deal with both victim and perpetrator and without witnesses.

What does this mean?

This allowed him control of all information between the AOGA executive and the victim and perpetrator.

This totally affected how the AOGA determined the matter, denying AHA an independent investigation, compassion, support, a fair hearing and due process.

Brian’s rhetoric contradicts evidence presented at the Royal Commission. Two key events are reviewed in this article:

a) The ‘Game-changer’: the 28/11/1999 meeting where Brian met with Ps Taylor (2) and Ps McMartin, and found out that victim AHA was considering legal action, and
b) The 1999 AOGA executive meeting: this fully determined the AHA matter based on what Brian told them, or rather, didn’t tell them.


Outline of Content:

A. Introduction

B. Did Brian use the victim to help cover up his father’s crimes?

1. Taylor’s meeting with Brian on 28 November, 1999 was a game changer – Frank had confessed and AHA was considering the courts
–  AHA’s reaction to the news that Frank had confessed
2. AHA had already engaged with AOG “church authorities”
3. Was AHA that brittle?
4. How Brian influenced the AOGA executive meeting
5. Brian continues his spin with the media.
6. Brian tries to hide his dominant role in the AHA matter
7. What did AHA think about the treatment he got?
8. The effect of Frank’s abuse on AHA
–   Why did Frank stay with AHA’s family?
9. A nice outcome from the Royal Commission
–  (Ps Taylor provides some relief for AHA)


A. Introduction

Here is an example of what Brian spins to the public to justify why he failed to meet his legal obligation to report his father to police in 1999. Brian told channel 9’s Inside Story in February 2016,

“When he (the victim) came forward he was 36 or 37 years old. And he was very adamant he didn’t want to involve the police. He didn’t want the church authorities involved, or the police authorities involved.

“And so he was brittle and I think because of that I didn’t see the police as an option.”      

Source:  2016/02/11, Brian Houston on Inside Story: True Believers

What Brian DID NOT TELL the media, his church or the AOGA executives is what he was forced to reveal at the 2014 Royal Commission:

Q:  So you knew by 28 November 1999 that [AHA] was considering taking the  matter to court?
Brian: Yes.

Brian was told that AHA was considering taking the matter to court by  Ps. Barbara Taylor on the 28/11/1999 and it was confirmed in writing (29/11/1999).  Taylor had been supporting AHA for a year trying to get the AOG to deal with the matter, and she carefully documented her involvement.

Brian lies by obfuscation. He is very selective in what he does and doesn’t say. Yes, the victim was brittle and still is. (AHA also suffers post traumatic stress syndrome, depression and is on an invalid pension due to the ongoing trauma from his childhood abuse by Frank.) The “brittle” victim showed remarkable courage to engage with the process, despite his trauma, the culture of the church system and the run around he was given. If Brian was so concerned about AHA being “brittle” then why didn’t Brian protect AHA from the trauma of Frank directly contacting him?  Or more importantly,

Why did Brian force AHA to deal directly with the son of the perpetrator, Brian himself?
(More on this later.)

Brian and the Assembles of God Australia (AOGA) were forced to face a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (RC) in 2014 for their negligent handling of the initial AHA case, plus other child sexual abuse cases that emerged later.

At the time that the AHA allegation surfaced in 1999, Brian was head of the AOGA, Sydney Christian Life Centre (SCLC), and Hills Christian Life Centre (HCLC). Back then, Frank Houston was a prominent AOGA minster, like royalty. He and Brian lead two of the biggest AOG churches in Australia. In May 1999 Frank handed over the reigns of his SCLC to Brian (triggered by Taylor chasing up Frank about AHA). Frank remained an itinerant preacher, an employee of SCLC. During 2000 both SCLC and HCLC started the transition to be re-badged as Hillsong Church in 2001, all under Brian.

This is Brian’s version of the 1999 AOGA executive meeting that dealt with the AHA matter. In his book, “Live Love Lead“,

Brian writes:
“… and as soon as it became practically possible, our
national executives also gathered in a boardroom, and as forthright as I could be, I bluntly communicated the devastating  news to everyone around the table. I handed the chair of the meeting to someone else, and I sat as the wise men, who had so many times before served my vision and watched my father lead, began to talk about a way forward.”
       p85

Firstly, how could Brian be “forthright” and “blunt” when he was a blubbering mess as stated at the RC.  Brian testified he was sobbing:


Source: Royal Commission, Brian Houston questioned (Trans88/Page 9343)

For the RC, Brian was keen to hide his interfering prominence in the AHA matter  behind his emotional trauma. But in his book, Live Love Lead, Brian promotes himself as the model leader, blunt and forthright. Brian’s default mode is “spin”.

Secondly, note the influence Brian and his father had on the AOGA executive – as men who had served my vision and watched my father lead. Would those men dare suggest to Brian that he had a conflict of interest and it was inappropriate for Brian to be the sole investigator in the matter?

Also, some of the executives were long term buddies with Brian. In the 2014 video below, Phil Pringle, head of the C3 movement, interviews Wayne Alcorn who took over from Brian Houston as head of the Australian Christian Churches (formerly AOGA) when Brian stepped down in 2009. Wayne says he has been buddies with Brian for 35 years:

It was even more important to follow AOGA procedure, to ensure the executive were not influenced by Brian and there was no perceived conflict of interest.  Choosing to not follow the procedure facilitated the cover-up of the AHA matter.

Thirdly,  evidence from 2014 Royal Commission shows that Brian Houston misled the AOGA executive at the 1999 meeting. Brian managed to convince the AOGA executive that the victim (AHA):

a) did not want anyone to know his identity;
b) did not want any investigation by church or police, and that
c) only Brian Houston knew the identity of the victim and had access to him.

This had a profound effect on the decision making by the AOGA executive.

B. Did Brian use the victim to help cover up his father’s crimes?

AHA was horrified to find out his mother disclosed in November 1998, his childhood sexual abuse by Frank Houston. Yet by November 1999, AHA had engaged with the AOG through support from Ps Taylor, had sought legal advice and made sure Brian knew he was thinking about legal proceedings. So there is no way Brian could confidently assert AHA was “very adamant he didn’t want to involve the police”.

AHA’s perceived “brittle” nature and the need to keep his identity confidential,  provided an excuse for Brian and the AOGA to not follow procedure, not report Frank to the police and not make the matter public.

1. Taylor’s meeting with Brian on 28 November, 1999 was a game changer – Frank had confessed and AHA was considering the courts

On 28/11/1999 Brian met with Ps Taylor and John McMartin (state AOG) and informed her Frank had confessed (though to a lesser incident). This was a game changer as both Taylor and AHA’s biggest worry was that Frank might deny it. Frank had not been the model repentant pastor. He had lied and deceived many for years, was not repentant, had been uncooperative and those who knew about the case thought Frank would not own up. (See May 1999 letter from Taylor to McMartin.)

Both AHA and Taylor were relieved and thought maybe now the AHA matter would be dealt with fairly by the AOG.

By the way, Brian did not ask Taylor any details about the allegation nor her activities and documentation up to that point.

Taylor knew AHA had been to see a Chamber Magistrate and informed Brian at the meeting there “was a possibility that [AHA] would go to court.   (Trans88/Page 9330)

Barbara Taylor’s written notes of her meeting with Brian Houston:

Brian gave evidence at the 2014 Royal Commission that he understood that if AHA took the matter to court that could include criminal or civil proceedings.

Source: (Trans88/Page 9330)

AHA’s reaction to the news that Frank had confessed

19991129-ACC.0006.001Taylor

Taylor updated AHA immediately after her meeting with Brian with the good news Frank had confessed. AHA was relieved, actually, shocked that Frank admitted it.  She wrote a follow-up letter to Brian. [Brian received this letter – see (Trans88/Page 9339).]

Key points Taylor made in that letter to Brian, dated 29 November 1999 include:

  1. He [AHA] wanted to know if I had told you [Brian] he was thinking of legal proceedings”. .
  2. AHA “was in absolute shock that your dad had not denied the incident”.
    “I think dodging of the issue [by Frank] was causing the anger to accentuate. There was a complete change of attitude. I advised him to see you for ministry”.

2. AHA had already engaged with AOG “church authorities”

Brian said: ” … He [AHA] didn’t want the church authorities involved, …”

Taylor had been trying to have the AOG provide support for AHA’s case since November 1998. Taylor has the letters and documentation to prove it, including a complaint with names and dates sent to John McMartin (AOG NSW) in September 1999. Brian attended the meeting with Taylor in November 1999 as the President of the AOGA.  As the President of the AOGA, Brian had spoken to AHA’s mother and  extracted a “confession” from Frank and would stand him down from preaching. Taylor updated AHA from her meeting with Brian, and Taylor was encouraging AHA with the next step. AHA responded through Taylor with a letter informing Brian he was considering legal proceedings. And in a month’s time, Brian would be sitting in front of the AOGA executive telling them about the AHA matter.

THE POINT?

AHA had already engaged with the AOG authorities prior to the December 1999 AOGA executive meeting.

So why does Brian still assert in 2016 that AHA did not want the church authorities involved when they already were, including himself as the AOG president? (How high do you go?)

3. Was AHA that brittle?

Brian’s understanding of AHA’s brittle condition underpins several of Brian’s assertions he made to the AOGA executive, especially when linked to the need to protect AHA’s confidentiality. Brian even told the Royal Commission that the only one AHA wanted to talk to was Brian, which was false.

This claim of Brian’s resulted  in the AOGA:

a) not appointing an independent investigator;
b) disregarding policy; and
c) allowing Brian Houston to be the sole AOGA executive to deal with both the victim and perpetrator, despite Brian’s obvious conflict of interest. Therefore, the AOGA thought that AHA did not want any investigation nor for the matter to be made public.

Counsel at  the Royal Commission to Brian:

“It appears to me, at  least, on the evidence, that you, on the basis of  protecting his confidentiality, controlled all communication between the Assemblies of God and him? [AHA]” 
Source: (Trans88/Page 9325)

So it appears AHA was not as ‘brittle’ as Brian made him out to be.

4. How Brian influenced the AOGA executive meeting

Brian called the AOGA special meeting in 1999 to deal with Frank’s child sexual abuse. Brian had positioned himself as the sole investigator and the sole source of information to the 1999 AOGA meeting that determined the matter.

Despite being informed twice that AHA was considering legal proceedings,
Brian chose to ignore that advice and

  1. Brian did not tell the AOGA executive about or provide a letter (29/11/1999) documenting AHA’s interest in legal proceedings.
  2. Brian did not tell the AOGA executive that Taylor existed, let alone that she had been involved with AHA in the case since it started in Nov 1998. Frank’s behavior had also made things worse and the AOG NSW had not been helpful.
    See Taylor’s letter to McMartin May, 1999
  3. Brian did not get details and documentation about the AHA case from Taylor.
    This would have helped Brian understand that Frank did not tell the truth in his “confession” and would have allowed Brian to know the content of the complaint and how AHA was fairing. eg. Sept 1999 letter from Taylor to McMartin
  4. Brian did not tell the AOGA executive that Frank had paid AHA $2000 (which was revealed to Brian when Frank “confessed”).
  5. Brian positioned himself such that the AOGA executive believed only Brian knew the identity of the victim and AHA wouldn’t talk to anyone else.
    This was problematic as the AOGA executive felt powerless as they had to determine the AHA matter based on the information Brian gave them and Brian had a conflict of interest, being the son of the perpetrator.

Based on the evidence and the testimony of Keith Ainge (member present at the Executive meeting), Brian was SELECTIVE in what information he gathered and SELECTIVE about what he told the AOGA executives.

What you will see now, is how Brian seizes upon any vulnerability of the victim to defend himself.

From Brian’s evidence at the RC (Trans88/Page 9324) :

Source: (Trans88/Page 9324)

Brian and the AOGA did not protect AHA from the trauma from having to deal directly with both the perpetrator and his son. They did not provide AHA with an independent contact and AHA was never interviewed to find out the content of the allegation.

What did Brian tell them at the AOGA executive Meeting? 

Keith Ainge, General Secretary of the AOGA, gave evidence at the RC (on 2014/10/08) about the 22/12/1999 AOGA executive meeting he attended. He provides insight into what the AOGA executive thought, based on what Brian told them.

A. The AOGA thought Brian was the only one who knew about the AHA matter prior to the AOGA executive meeting. Hence Brian was the only investigator.
(Trans87/Page 9250):

20141008RCTrns87P9250-KAinge-on-BH-role-with-AHA

B. The AOGA knew Brian Houston had a conflict of interest,
C. The AOGA executive relied on information from Brian,
D. The AOGA did not have the matter assessed by an independent person and
E. The AOGA decided there was no need to refer the complaint to the police, based on the information Brian gave them and chose NOT to give the AOGA Exec. 

Keith Ainge giving further evidence at the RC (Trans88/Page 9274):

F. Brian did not understand the complaint nor had a true confession
(because Frank lied), when he went took it to the AOGA exec meeting. What’s worse is Brian Houston did not get details about the complaint from AHA himself.

So how did Brian Houston know what the allegation was?

From Brian’s evidence at the RC (Trans88/Page 9319):

G. Here is how the AOGA exec decided the AHA matter and Frank’s discipline, all based on what Brian told them. (Brian provided nothing in writing.) Brian was the “Conduit”.     Ainge reported to the RC:

Source: Trans88/P9262

This is what the Royal Commission found, as they reported (published Oct 2015):

[After finding out about the allegation against his father,]

” Pastor Brian Houston decided to confront Mr Frank Houston, who was then overseas, when he returned.140   In the meantime, he said he spoke with AHA’s mother about the allegation, but not with AHA because he had been warned that AHA was in a ‘brittle condition’.141  ” p.28

” At the meeting, the National Executive agreed that Pastor Brian Houston would communicate their decisions to Mr Frank Houston and to AHA. It is unclear in what capacity Pastor Brian Houston was to undertake these tasks. This meant, however, that Pastor Brian Houston was the National Executive’s only line of communication to both the perpetrator and the victim. ” p. 34

Source: Royal Commission report (published Oct 2015 )

The AOGA conducted themselves very differently in Nov 2000 when dealing with Frank’s next batch of allegations raised by the NZ AOG (ones they had been investigating since the mid 1990s ). In 2000 they followed procedure. This begs the question-

Qn:  Why did the AOGA not follow procedure in 1999?
Ans: Because the AOGA relied on what Brian told them.

5. Brian continues his spin with the media.

Brian talked to Sydney Morning Herald journalist, Deborah Snow in 2015. She wrote (14/11/2015):

Houston can barely contain his anger at Beckett’s [Royal Commission] recommendations. He maintains he respected the wishes of the victim, by then an adult, who had wanted the matter kept in-house; and that elders of the Assemblies of God had full knowledge and oversight of his handling of the affair.”   

This is the normal type of spin Brian presents to the media. The above statement is not true.

The AOGA executive based all their decisions on what Brian told them and did not appoint an independent person to verify that information, (despite Brian’s perceived conflict of interest). How is that full knowledge and oversight of Brian’s handling of the affair?

Brian withheld critical information from the AOGA Executive such as:

  1. A letter stating AHA was interested in legal proceedings and that Taylor existed (someone other than Brian who also knew AHA’s identity and was a perfect candidate to be that independent contact).
  2. Having legal advice that Frank would most likely be incarcerated if it went to court, (he convinced the AOGA that AHA wasn’t interested in legal proceedings).
  3. He (Brian) was the only one who had access to the victim so an independent investigator was not an option. They did not know about Taylor. AHA was denied justice.

Brain spoke to popular media personality, Ben Fordham, at the end of the Royal Commission. Again, Brian used the strawman-victim:

“I forgive him” Ben Fordham talks to Brian Houston about his paedophile dad on 2GB Radio 10/10/2014

Click here to play audio: http://www.2gb.com/audioplayer/67791
“I Forgive Him”

Brian: “It was complicated in this sense, you’ve got a survivor, a victim who is so brittle emotionally, who is adamant ah they don’t want any kind of church investigation, they don’t want any kind of police investigation or any other kind of civil investigation. And ahh, obviously though just wanted to be believed, and wanted to see justice done. So there was that side of it, but to be honest Ben, I just genuinely believed that a 36 year old man, ah, if he wants to go to the police, he can go to the police. And a child if their 9, 10 or 12 there’s absolutely no doubt what I would have done. I would have made sure we went straight to the police, as we would today. So I guess I just rightly or wrongly believed that it was his ahh you know, his prerogative to go to the police if he wanted to.”

6. Brian tries to hide his dominant role in the AHA matter to the Royal Commission

As shown above, Brian dominated the AHA matter. He was the sole investigator, controlled all information between the AOGA, victim and perpetrator which meant the AOGA executive determined the matter based entirely on the information Brian selectively gave them.

They had no access to the victim.

The result was:

  1. procedure was not followed,
  2. Frank was quietly moved to another church,
  3. his credentials were not permanently removed,
  4. the matter was not to be made public and
  5. Brian was to explain the outcome to both victim and perpetrator.  (See AOGA exective meeting minutes, 22 Dec 1999)

Brian’s declaration that the AOGA took a more prominent role than what actually happened, shows he knew his involvement was questionable and there was a conflict of interest. This can be seen in Brian trying to convince the Royal Commission in his statement that:

a. the AOGA executive removed him from dealing with the matter and that
b. from Dec, 1999, the investigation was handled by the AOGA without Brian’s involvement. 

In his official statement to the Royal Commission Brian downplayed his involvement (see below).  He didn’t mention:

  1. he was the sole investigator,
  2. controlled all information
  3. and that the whole AHA matter was determined at the 22 Dec 1999 AOGA executive meeting.

There was NO more investigation or matter to “deal” with after that. He didn’t mention his involvement in the $10,000 forgiveness payment in 2000, nor that he was the main point of contact for media statements. Brian also published his book, “You can Change the Future” in July 2000, with glowing praise for his dad and Brian’s heritage (no mention of Dad’s dark past).

Brian Houston swearing on the bible at the Royal Commission

Brian Houston swearing on the bible to tell the truth and the whole truth at the Royal Commission.

With an AOGA executive decision to keep Frank’s discipline quiet and refer all inquiries to AOGA executive J. Lewis, (with no evidence to confirm Brian made Frank’s discipline (re: the AHA matter) public in 2000), it is doubtful Brian told the 2000 Hillsong Conference about his father’s pedophilia (or his church), especially while selling his book that leveraged from the story of his father’s success and reputation.

It took until Dec 2001 for the AOGA to inform its ministers about Frank’s discipline. It was NOT public until that time period when Brian was forced to tell his church in Nov 2000, and probably due to internet publications. (See Brian leverages off father’s reputation & hides paedophilia to promote himself & Hillsong)

In his official statement to the Royal Commission, Brian said [emphasis ours]:

35. As President of the AOG, I convened an emergency meeting of the National Executive of the AOG. The meeting took place at a room in Sydney Airport on 22 December 1999. I informed the National Executive of the AHA allegation against Frank and that Frank had admitted to me that it was true. It was a very difficult and emotional time for me. The Executive agreed at that meeting that I should be removed from dealing with this matter including the issue of Frank’s ministry credentials because of my relationship with Frank. The AOG National Executive made the decision to revoke Frank’s credentials. Frank was never again allowed to preach or engage in public ministry at Hillsong or anywhere else. I made various announcements across the 12 month period after November 1999 to the Board, staff, to our leaders and at various public church services across our Norwest and Sydney City Campuses. I can’t give exact dates but it was over the months that followed the abuses coming to light and the ensuing investigation by the Executive of AOG. No two of these announcements were exactly the same, they were not written statements, but the recurring theme was that there were victims, people were damaged, and on most occasions, that it involved minors. This includes in one of my sermons during a major event at the Hillsong Conference in 2000. 

^ Note: Brian stated above in his statement he gave announcements about ‘victims‘ and ‘minors‘ (plural) between 1999-2000. However, he has repeatedly stated to the AOGA and to the Royal Commission that Frank confessed to a “one-off-incident”. The 2nd victim came forward towards the end of 2000.

Brian also had the gall to write in his statement to the Royal Commission:

“36. From Dec 1999 the investigation of the AHA complaints was handled by the AOG without my involvement”                        

(source: Brian’s Statement, see below)           

LIE! There was no more investigation of AHA after 22 December 1999, and Brian was the ONLY executive to investigate the matter before and the only executive that had “access” to AHA after.

Keith Ainge, before the Royal Commission, claimed that the AHA matter was fully determined at that AOGA executive meeting on 22/12/1999. Brian, who was the supposedly ‘only’ person who knew the identity of the victim, was assigned the following task as stated in the 22/12/1999 AOGA minutes:

When reading Brian’s account of his dealing with AHA (from his statement to the RC, below), keep in mind Brian’s assigned task (8. above), and that he was the only face of the AOGA dealing with AHA. This is  the best the AOGA provided AHA.

So you can see why AHA was rather disillusioned with how the church dealt with him.

Brian Houston was liaising with AHA and thus not only interfering with the matter but reinforcing to AHA he was the only executive AHA would get to deal with.

[ABOUT THAT PHONE CALL…]

Brian also insists his one phone call with AHA was AFTER the 22 Dec 1999 AOGA meeting, because he had to carry out his task – of offering counselling and explaining the discipline and restoration process that had been followed.

So you may be thinking,

“How could Brian tell the AOGA executive about AHA’s allegation if he hadn’t spoken to AHA?”.

Because Brian decided to be selective how he collected and eventually presented the victim. The Royal Commission exposed what Brian Houston omitted to the AOG Executive. In other words,

Brian CONSTRUCTED a STRAWMAN-VICTIM to present to the AOGA Executive to get the result he wanted.

Brian left out in his RC statement that he spoke to AHA in 2000 about the $10,000 Frank had promised him in return for forgiveness, but conveniently remembered at the Royal Commission.  

It is most likely Brian spoke to AHA before the 22 Dec 1999 meeting as well, but didn’t recall (Brian had nothing documented).  Taylor had made a note (21 Dec 1999) that a distressed AHA told her Brian had phoned him and was defensive about his father and said Frank was not part of the AOG back then. Both Taylor and AHA were very despondent about how the matter was being handled.

From Brian’s statement to the RC:

It doesn’t look like Brian completed his AOG task.

7. Who do you believe? The son of the perpetrator or the victim?

What is fascinating is that Brian Houston claimed in his statement that he was “compassionate and genuinely heartbroken… experienced by [AHA]” but in AHA’s statement, the victim highlighted how he was neglected by Brian Houston and the church.

Did AHA get a fair hearing and support? AHA answers this  at the RC:
(Transcript86/Page 9127)

8. The effect of Frank and Brian Houston’s abuse on AHA

From the Royal Commission Report (published Oct 2015 p24):

“Effect on AHA
AHA said that the abuse inflicted on him by Mr Frank Houston destroyed his childhood. For years, he was ‘full of shame, fear and embarrassment’. AHA told the Royal Commission that he dropped out of school in year 10, has not had a good work history  and is currently on a disability pension at the age of 52.

AHA has anger issues and suffers from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.100 He also continues to have flashbacks of Mr Frank Houston in his bedroom and has difficulty in his physical and emotional relationships with his wife and children.101 AHA said his doctor has attributed his depression and post-traumatic stress disorder to the abuse he suffered as a child.

AHA said he felt very isolated when the abuse came to light and that the church community made him feel like he was the problem.103 He stated that he feels he has ‘received absolutely no support, counselling, apology or acknowledgement of the abuse’ from the church and ‘that the church’s response was completely inadequate’. “

This feeling of being considered the problem and the church not being helpful was also experienced by Ps Taylor. Taylor made some notes in Dec, 1999. Points 4 and 5 show how disappointed she is with how the AOG has responded to the matter.

Ps Barbara Taylor writes,

Source: http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/downloadfile.ashx?guid=ae2a8a35-7752-4a04-a69b-64174d349777&type=exhibit&filename=ACC.0006.001.0012_R&fileextension=pdf

Why did Frank stay with AHA’s family?

AHA was asked at the RC why the Houstons used to stay at their house back in 1969 and early 70s when he visited Sydney to preach. AHA at the RC (Trans86/p9129):

9. A nice outcome from the Royal Commission – Ps Taylor provides some relief for AHA

From AHA’s evidence at the Royal Commission Transcript86/Page 9128:


Footnotes

  • AHA is an Australian victim, who was sexually abused by Frank Houston over several years (until he reached puberty) starting at the age of 7, in 1969 in his family home in Sydney, Australia, at various churches and at a conference centre. Frank would stay with AHA’s family when on preaching trips from New Zealand. Frank was head of the Assesmblies of God, NZ and Snr pastor of a large AOG church in Lower Hutt, and ran a bible college.
  • Ps Taylor was AHA’s mother’s pastor. When the mother disclosed about her son’s abuse to Taylor and a visiting evangelist, Kevin Mudford in Nov 1998, Taylor became the main support for AHA. She and Mudford told McMartin – AOG NSW (state) executive about it, hoping to trigger some support and action from the AOG. They were nervous about revealing identities because Frank Houston was AOG “royalty” and Brian Houston was head of the AOGA. Also, AHA was distressed, Taylor contacted Frank many times but he failed to cooperate and meet with Taylor and AHA. Instead he bought time to hand over SCLC to Brian, then went behind Taylor’s back and directly contacted AHA – which AHA found traumatic.
    In May 1999, Taylor wrote to (and met with) Mc Martin providing a summary of events until then. One key point was none that knew thought Frank would do the right thing and had been uncooperative.
    In September, 1999 Taylor met with McMartin and confirmed in writing to McMartin the names, dates and nature of the complaint, hoping for some AOGA support.  She also wrote to AHA about what McMartin had told her.
    In 28 November 1999, Taylor met with McMartin and Brian Houston. Brian took over the matter and did not get details or copies of her documentation. She wrote to Brian about AHA thinking about legal proceedings. He did not contact her again.
    In June 2000, Taylor wrote to Brian suggesting cover-up. Brian angrily responded and proceeded to give her an embellished “progress” report in which he lied.See Did Brian Houston Lie to Ps. Barbara Taylor?
  • 2014 October – Royal Commission hearings 7-10 October

    The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse - Case Study 18: a public hearing concerned with the institutional response to child sexual abuse of the Australian Christian Churches (ACC) and its affiliated churches.

    The 2014 Findings of the Royal Commission provided a Summary after the hearings which hones in on key issues with Brian Houston and the AOGA leadership:

    “SUMMARY OF AVAILABLE FINDINGS

    1. Between November 1998 and 21 December 1999 the Assemblies of God did not follow its complaint procedure as set out in its Administration Manual when handling AHA’s allegations of child sexual abuse against Frank Houston by:
    e. not appointing a contact person for the complainant
    f. not interviewing the complainant to determine the precise nature of the allegations
    g. not having the State or National Executive interview the alleged perpetrator
    h. not documenting any of the steps it took.

    2. In 1999 and 2000 Pastor Brian Houston had a conflict of interest in assuming responsibility for dealing with AHA’s allegations because he was both the National President of the Assemblies of God and the son of Frank Houston.

    3. In 1999 t he Assemblies of God set aside its own policy for handling allegations against ministers, and ignored Pastor Brian Houston’s conflict of interest, in order to permit Pastor Brian Houston to handle the allegations of child sexual abuse against his father.

    4. In 1999 the Assemblies of God offered Frank Houston rehabilitation to ministry contrary to its national policy that ministers found to have sexually abused children were not to be rehabilitated, in the knowledge that Frank Houston had admitted to child sexual abuse.

    5. In 1999 and 2000 Pastor Brian Houston and the National Executive of the Assemblies of God did not refer the allegations of child sexual abuse against Frank Houston to t he police.

    6. In 2000 the Sydney Christian life Centre did not report the suspension and withdrawal of Frank Houston’s credential as a minister to the Commission for Children and Young People as required bys. 39{1) of the Commission for Children and Young People Act 1998 (NSW).”     [p. 123]

    “94. Pastor Brian Houston gave evidence that in November 1999 Frank Houston told him that he had ‘fondled’ the genitals of a child. [166] The indecent assault of a child contrary to s. 81 of the Crimes Ac was in 1999 a ‘serious offence‘ as defined in s. 311 of the Crimes Act.Frank Houston’s admission to the criminal offence was information which might be of material assistance in ensuring a conviction against Frank Houston and that information was not passed to t he New South Wales Police by Pastor Brian Houston. As that information may relate to contravention of a law of New South Wales it is submitted it is appropriate to refer Pastor Brian Houston’s conduct to the New South Wales Police Commissioner pursuant to s. 6P(l) of the Royal Commissions Act 1902 (Cth) for further investigation. ” [p.25]

 


 

(See Timeline & Source Material: Related to Frank Houston’s Pedophilia Coverup )

3 comments

  1. Tru

    As a former child protection worker, I believe the law states clearly that any individual or organisation in the care of children are covered under “mandatory reporting” legislation. The legislation does not take into consideration the emotional state of the victim. If the victim makes a disclosure, it must be reported – no ifs or buts! From the information provided through this web site it appears that Houston has deliberately circumvented the legislation and attempted to deal with the matter ‘in-house’ rather than obey the law.

    “Mandatory reporting is a term used to describe the legislative requirement imposed on selected classes of people to report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect to government authorities.”

    https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/mandatory-reporting-child-abuse-and-neglect

    Like

  2. chester

    This ‘church’ and its ‘pastor’ are pathetic.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: