Move along, nothing to see here: Hillsong’s legal response to ‘misleading’ statements by ’60 Minutes’ (Part 2).

As stated in Part 1, up until the Royal Commission in 2014, the press were still reporting only a single case of child sexual abuse in New Zealand by Frank. Brian Houston, CLC/Hillsong and the AOGA were the ones who fueled this public misconception and failed to correct the story when given opportunities (Mar 2002 -SMH1 Journalist,  Jul 2002 -SMH1 JournalistJan 2003-SMH2-journalist). Brian actually lied to a journalist (Apr 2006-SMH3 journalist), lied to Ps Taylor; and lastly tried to claim Clergy Privileges before the RC’s report criticised Brian Houston.


Hillsong again attacks the integrity of a Royal Commission.

We continue with Part 2 by stating that the evidence from the Royal Commission findings suggested Brian Houston not only chose to disregard policy, procedures and documenting of important matters, the Royal Commission concluded that Brian had a conflict of interest, based on his own testimony (emphasis ours):

“Pastor Brian Houston was Mr Frank Houston’s son. Regardless of whether Pastor Brian Houston’s actions were proper or appropriate, there always remained a public perception of a potential conflict of interest because of the personal relationship.

Pastor Brian Houston’s own evidence supports this finding.[pg. 34] (Read hear on a summary of the Royal Commission’s report findings on Hillsong and AOG’s handling of AHA.)

Not only is Hillsong’s second media release statement incredibly over-critical, they are deliberately misrepresenting the findings of the Royal Commission to attack the integrity of the ’60 Minutes’ program. Hillsong knows that they cannot attack the victim, which is why they are attacking the integrity of the report and the reporter to make this issue go away. By taking this route they demonstrate once again, the victim comes last while their image comes first.

Hillsong Elders

These are the men responsible for penning the defensive media statement for Brian Houston at the expense of the victim.

In attacking the report, they are again undermining the findings and the integrity of the Royal Commission, (legally a criminal offence).


HILLSONG’S LATEST MEDIA STATEMENT

When the Royal Commissioned published a report on their findings back in 2015 of the AOG and Hilllsong’s handling of the Brett Sengstock case, Hillsong responded with a media statement. We critiqued their misleadings statements here. Here is a link to Hillsong’s latest media statement from this week and our review on their introduction.

It is also worth noting that there is no mention of Hillsong eldership writing this piece? Instead, it is signed by someone by the name of ‘Tim Whincop’, claiming they are Hillsong’s ‘General Counsel’. So who is Tim Whincop?

According to his Facebook and LinkedIn pages, he is a Hillsong member. Whincop’s LinkedIn page states he has been at Hillsong since 2004. First as a project manager (2004-2010), then Hillsong music(2010 to now), and not only is he part of Hillsong’s music arm – in 2015 he became Hillsong’s ‘General Counsel’ and had this role since then.


Tim Whincop on his Facebook Jul 04, 2015, performing at a Hillsong Christmas in 2013.

2018-11-12_Timothy-Whincop_Facebook-Jul042015

A bit more research reveals some more information. Back in 2001, Timothy Whincop was also Hillsong’s music manager. In a letter titled, ‘Response by HILLSONG MUSIC AUSTRALIA and HILLSONG MUSIC PUBLISHING to the ALRC Discussion Paper on copyright in the digital economy‘, Whincop, now a lawyer, comes across as a smart man with a good grasp on Australian copyright law and the legal system in general. If that is the case, his involvement in signing his name to the latest media statement is interesting.


At this point in time, Hillsong’s history of intimidating victims, groups or whistleblowers needs to be noted. It is interesting how they use their own or their networks to achieve their goals.

Lyall Mercer, media coordinator for Hillsong Church once flexed his legal muscles at critics in defense of Hillsong’s homosexual stance and various issues on this matter.

 

 

Stephen Drew Lentz - Carl Lentz Father - LentzLaw

Stephen Drew Lentz, father of Carl Lenyz, also flexed his legal muscles to intimidate Religous News Service into changing their story on his son Carl Lentz. He also has appeared to have removed himself from Hillsong’s service.

We’ve noted these tactics for years. Hillsong will ‘bully’ or legally intimidate in order to have their followers give them the benefit of the doubt in times of scandal. And this problem also runs rampant in the NAR-driven AOG, (see Henry Sheppard). Has Tim Whincop been assigned to Hillsong’s case to make ’60 Minutes’ (and the victim) out to be liars while Hillsong protest strongly about an imagined ‘injustice’ to make sure their million-dollar industry doesn’t suffer irreparable damage?


 A LAW UNTO THEMSELVES.

When Hillsong leadership was summoned to the Royal Commission, they were adamant that they have made the appropriate changes to their organisation to make sure children are protected. Is this true? Since then, it has come to our attention that Hillsong policy confirms the existence of an insider’s allegations of Hillsong’s ‘Sin Files’.

“The sin files was a database of information that we kept on youth group attendees. E.g. A youth would confide in their connect leader. Connect leader would enter it into the system. It was done without their knowledge, without parental consent. It was sensitive information used to screen people if they wanted to step into leadership and often it was used to isolate and make fun of people. Any leader could access this info, it wasn’t passworded or protected…” [Source]

Brian Houston, Nabi Saleh, George Aghajanian and Gordon Lee who were all involved in the cover-up were still in leadership when summoned to the Royal Commission back in 2017. Does Hillsong’s refusal to act on removing their leadership demonstrate they do not care about creating a culture that protects children? It also exposes how insincere they are to the Royal Commission and Frank’s victims. Their defensive media statements are also sending a clear message how little they care about the integrity of a Royal Commission and sexually abused victims. And now by dropping words such as ‘legal’ and having devoted Hillsong member, Tim Whincop, to do their legal work attacking the credibility of the victim’s story on 60 Minutes, does this demonstrate how little compassion they truly have?

The ‘outraged’ protests from Hillsong clearly shows that they have no sympathy or regard for the victim.

From past experience, CWC has seen it necessary to archive Hillsong’s media statements due to changes often made after the fact. However, due to their nasty legal tone, we thought it would be wise to archive the page so you can read it yourself here. We will thoroughly refute this statement in a future article.


Email all comments and questions to c3churchwatch@hotmail.com



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