Did Brian Houston Lie to Ps. Barbara Taylor?

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Source material references are listed at the end.


Brian Houston is known for deceiving and abusing the trust so readily given to him by faithful people. It has emerged from the Royal Commision that Mr Houston told one thing to Ps. Barbara Taylor and testified something else to the Royal Commission.

Brian Houston swore on the bible at the Royal Commission.
Do you think he should have done this?

The Royal Commission (RC) proceedings provide a rare glimpse into the way Brian Houston operates behind the scenes as a ‘Christian leader’. A sad, sorry “meeting” at McDonalds between victim AHA (see Report of Case Study No. 18, section 2.2) and Frank with a family friend assisting Frank back in the year 2000, is an example of how Brian can spin the same event two ways to suit himself:

a. Brian insisted to the RC the meeting had “nothing to do with me [Brian] or Hillsong” and the “elder” was only there as a family friend for Frank.  (ie. family business)

b. Yet to Ps Barbara Taylor, that was a proper meeting between AHA and Frank Houston with an elder of Hillsong/CLC present.    (ie. official church business)

So, did Brian Houston lie to Ps. Barbara Taylor?

Barbara Taylor Brian Houston Hillsong Royal Commission AHA Scandal

Brian Houston argued that what he did as a son of Frank Houston was not relevant to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to child sexual abuse. Similarly, what Frank did with AHA was Frank’s business and nothing to do with Brian, the AOG executive or Hillsong. Brian gets to decide what is family business so who gets told what.

A CLOSER LOOK AT BRIAN SPINNING THE DETAILS

For Brian, depending on what suited him at the time, the meeting at McDonalds was:

A. A personal, family business (when Brian gave evidence to the Royal Commission).
Frank was trying to get forgiveness with a payment of $10,000 and have AHA
sign a document to say it was final.

  • Brian argued to the RC he did not need to inform the AOGA about this meeting at which a “final” payment was made and prior legal advice was sought.
  • Brian also argued that what he did in the role of a son was not ‘relevant’ to the Royal Commission.
  • It is easy to wonder if this meeting was an attempt to move AHA out of the picture, and help cover it up as they were giving AHA the impression it was “final”.
  • The man who accompanied Frank was a Hillsong/Hills CLC Elder, but Brian testified he was only there in the capacity of a personal friend to Frank.

B. Church business (when Brian spoke to Ps Taylor)
Brian said to Barbara Taylor that a meeting “had taken place between AHA and Frank Houston with an elder of CLC present”. 

  • This sounds like official church business! This sounds as if Brian and his organisation were  dealing with the AHA matter in an official capacity. Brian didn’t give details.
  • The man who accompanied Frank is attending as a “CLC elder” this time, no longer just as Frank’s personal friend as Brian told the Royal Commission.
  • Brian’s response was in defense to a letter written in June 2000 by Ps Taylor, who was wondering if Brian and his church/AOGA were covering it up.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION TO SUPPORT THE THEORY OF COVER UP

  • Between Frank’s confession to paedophilia in November 1999 and before July, 2000 when the McDonalds meeting occurred…
    – Frank’s credentials had not been permanently removed.
    – Frank was still employed by Sydney CLC.
    – The AOGA executive had decreed on 12/1999 the matter was not to be made public.
  • Later “Hillsong City Church” failed to report Frank’s discipline when
    registering  with for a Working With Children Check (as requested by the department in August 2000).
  • The fresh batch of New Zealand sexual child abuse allegations had not yet surfaced (to the AOGA officialdom) and so AHA was the only victim that had come forward; thus his was the only matter to ‘manage’ or to keep quiet at this stage.
  • Even after Frank confessed to other New Zealand abuses in November 2000, the
    AOGA executive still agreed not to make the matter public.
  • Brian and the Hills CLC elders stopped Frank from signing his admission of guilt prepared by the AOGA executive in Nov 2000 after Frank confessed to NZ child sexual abuses to AOGA members.

BACKGROUND

On 28/11/1999 Ps Barbara Taylor handed over the AHA abuse case to Brian Houston. In June 2000, Ps Barbara Taylor challenged Brian Houston about the AHA matter because from where she was, it was looking like a cover-up. In his defense, Brian cited a meeting to demonstrate how the church had been dealing with it. He was referring to the McDonalds meeting.

A meeting had taken place between AHA and Frank Houston with an elder of CLC present”.
(See June, 2000 letter from Barbara Taylor to Brian Houston, and her notes July 2000)

Now, was this meeting official church business or personal family business? And why is the distinction important?  Because Brian had to justify to the RC why he hadn’t told the AOGA executive.

Brian argued that personal family business was outside the scope of the RC as the RC was only looking at institutional responses. If Brian thought it was family business, then Brian did not feel obliged to tell the AOGA executive either.

Implications:

  • What Brian tells the RC or the AOG depends on what he decides is family business (including his role as a son).
  • In addition, Barbara Taylor was deceived into thinking that the McDonalds meeting was official church business with the implied idea that AHA’s needs were being looked after.

 

LET THE WORD GAMES BEGIN

Below, Brian is telling the Royal Commission he felt no need to inform the AOG about Frank’s payment of money to AHA:

11/2015 Report of Case Study No. 18 – The response of the Australian Christian Churches and affiliated Pentecostal churches to allegations of child sexual abuse (PDF 822 KB) p32.   Brian distancing himself & Hillsong from AHA payment at the
Royal Commission – Brian says it was in effect, family business:

2015rcreport-bh-mcdonaldsfa

The Daily Telegraph reported:

12/10/2014 Daily Telegraph reporting on the Royal Commission: Hillsong leader Brian Houston breaks silence on paedophile father: ‘It was wrong not to report him’.
Brian adamant Frank paying AHA $10,000 was NOT to do with church:

He [Brian] said paying victim AHA had nothing to do with him despite the royal commission hearing the victim had contacted him about Frank Houston failing to pay as promised.

Two weeks later the $10,000 cheque was delivered.

“There have been reports of money being paid to the victim. Again for clarification, this was between my father and the victim. It had nothing to do with me or Hillsong Church,” he said.

As a son, Brian sees his actions as not relevant to the Royal Commission:

T89/P9399 – Brian making the distinction between acting as a son and in his professional capacity – as a son he believes what he did was not relevant to the RC When at the lawyers, Brian checked the document Frank would give to AHA to sign to ensure it did not exclude AHA from going to the police.

Q. Did you go to Mallesons [lawyer] with Mr Saleh?
A.   Yes.  That was as a son, but I don’t see that going as a son has any relevance to institutional responses to child  abuse.

Brian’s counsel also  wants to distinguish between Brian’s roles:

T89/P9388 – Asking Brian Houston questions at the Royal Commission was frustrating as Brian would answer questions according to how he saw his role:

Q. Let me put it to you this way, pastor:  would it have  been easier for you, and perhaps for Barbara, if you had  appointed an independent person to deal with the [AHA]  allegations?

MR HIGGINS [representing Brian Houston and Hillsong]:   I object to this.  The objection is on the  basis that if he is being asked as the president of the  national executive of the AOG, then that should be made  clear as part of the question.  If he is being asked did he take on the role as the son of Frank Houston, then that  should be made clear, because I would object on the basis that it is not about an institutional response.  That’s my  objection.

It is evident that Brian and his council are deliberately forcing the Royal Commission to stay within their “Institutional response” parameters so they don’t glean information from Brian as “son”. (And this is a PASTOR being this manipulative to

This is a GREAT display of ‘conflict of interest’, in spite of Brian and the AOG arguing that Brian Houston never had one. 

So what was the McDonalds Meeting About?

It was a meeting with AHA, initiated by Frank Houston, probably between September 1999 and July 2000. A family friend from Hills CLC (who happened to be an elder) accompanied Frank. At the meeting Frank Houston offered AHA $10,000 and said, “I want your forgiveness for this. I don’t want to die and have to face God with this on my head”.

AHA was passed a soiled napkin to sign. Frank Houston said, ‘Just do it and say you forgive me, and that’ll be it.‘ After AHA signed the napkin he was told by the unnamed man with Frank that a cheque  would be sent to him and to contact Pastor Brian Houston if there was any problem.

AHA found the meeting distressing, Frank was obviously frail, stressed and fumbling because he could not find the proper document from Mallesons lawyers to sign, thus the napkin was used instead. There was nothing pleasant or healing about it from both sides. AHA had the uncomfortable task to phone Brian when the money was not forthcoming.

This meeting was the best AHA got from the Houstons, the church and AOGA.

Why was Frank allowed to contact AHA Directly?

You may be wondering how come this payment meeting was even happening given Brian’s report to the AOGA executive that AHA was so fragile and brittle. So brittle, according to Brian, that AHA didn’t want any church or police investigation or anyone to know his identity.

  • If AHA was as brittle as Brian suggested, then why didn’t Brian nor the AOGA’s discipline process protect AHA from having the perpetrator contact him directly, without proper supervision and without AHA’s prior consent?
  • It is most inappropriate that prior conversations, arrangements and the meeting even occurred:
    – without a third party present, ensuring AHA’s wellbeing was protected;
    – that he was supported and not compromised or intimidated.
  • Frank had refused to meet AHA with Ps Barbara Taylor in her office in early 1999 when requested, yet would “badger” AHA and his mother by phone.

Who was Ps Barbara Taylor?

Pastor Barbara Taylor was an advocate and support for the  Australian victim, AHA, and had been knocking on the door of the AOG leadership since December 1998.

Royal Commission - Barbara Taylor

A year later, Brian Houston finally took over the case in October/November 1999, and only then, after a strong phone call from evangelist “Maddog Mudford” to Hills CLC, alerting Brian to the issue. After Brian heard Frank’s confession, Brian had a meeting with Barbara Taylor and John McMartin on 28 November, 1999. In this meeting Barbara Taylor was relieved that  Brian Houston had taken over the case.

The following day Barbara Taylor sent a letter to Brian referring to their meeting. In it she thanked him and noted AHA received the news well that he had been believed, that Frank had not denied it and AHA was considering legal proceedings.

Note, this letter is important. Brian continues to claim AHA did not want any investigation from either church or legal authorities – this way Brian can justify why he didn’t report Frank to the police. On 29 November, 1999, AHA knew he was already being dealt with by church authorities and Ps Taylor’s letter made it clear to Brian that AHA was not so “brittle” after all as he had softened and was thinking about legal proceedings. AHA also wanted to know if Barbara Taylor had told Brian.

19991129-acc-0006-001taylortobhoustonreahasoftenedskglegal

Over the next 6 months she heard nothing from Brian or the AOG. From Barbara Taylor’s perspective there was no evidence to suggest Brian nor the AOG were dealing with Frank’s paedophilia. Barbara Taylor was another victim in this saga – she did not get the support she needed from the AOG or Brian. She had believed the church would be the best option to deal with Frank, provide justice and support AHA. Barbara made some notes to speak with McMartin about her concern which showed how she saw her predicament:

Discussion notes made by Barbara Taylor around 21/12/1999  – highlights how she was feeling about the AHA matter at the time. [It is not clear if the conversation ever did happen with John McMartin (NSW AOG executive)]

19991221-btaylor-notesforjm

25 June, 2000, Ps Barbara Taylor wrote another letter to Brian Houston, this time showing her frustration with the apparent lack of response from him and the Assemblies of God leadership, regarding Frank Houston’s child sexual abuse.  Of all people, she had good reason to think Brian and the AOG were not dealing with it and may even be covering it up.

20000626-taylor-to-brianhou

In response to her letter, Brian phoned Barbara Taylor almost a month later (Hillsong Conference was around that time – July 2000). He obviously was not happy with Barbara’s letter and tried to impress on her that they had been dealing with the matter. Barbara made notes of the conversation.

Here are the Notes from Barbara Taylor of her phone call from Brian Houston

19th July, 2000

Brian Houston rang me and said that :-

 1) His father was receiving AOG Restoration Counselling
2) The National Executive had met to consider the matter
3) A meeting had taken place between AHA land Frank Houston with an
elder of 
CLC present.
4) He was very hurt by my letter
5) He had shown the letter to 3 executive members at Hillsong.
6) His father’s memory and health was failing
7) His father had been abused as a child.
8) He would speak to his mother about a meeting with me
9) He (i.e. Frank) has told the truth about what happened
10) Any future correspondence to be by ‘phone.
11) Two executive members had spoken to Maddog Mudford.
12) His father is very depressed. 

I said:-  [Barbara Taylor]

1 ) Had he told me he was dealing with it the letter would not have been necessary.
2) I requested a meeting with Frank so he could get the resentment out.
3) I apologised for the timing of the letter (close to Hillsong)
4) AHA started going back to church.
5) I believe in restoration
6) I have forgiven his father.

[As an aside, a few key points to note about the phone call notes above:

a. A lot of focus was on Brian, Frank and his family.

b. Brian seemed to know little about the victim AHA.

c. The only thing that Brian cited that “gave” the illusion AHA had been given some personal attention and care, was that AHA had a meeting with Frank with a CLC elder present.

Brian pretended the shameful McDonalds meeting was an official meeting. 

To the RC, Brian said this same elder was only there as a friend to Frank [family business]. It was important for Brian to distance himself and Hillsong from that meeting, and in effect, from Frank and AHA.

NOTE: Brian was the only AOG designated contact for both.

d. Brian did not mention he had made the matter public at services.

Hence it can be assumed Brian probably hadn’t told his church publicly at this stage about Frank’s paedophilia because he would have been trying to convince Ps Taylor he was not hiding it. Can we assume he had not told Hillsong Conference as well?

e. Makes you wonder what else Brian didn’t tell the RC or the AOGA because it was “family business”.

f. It suits Brian not to put things in writing, but do it by phone. No wonder Ps. Taylor was documenting all her correspondence. She wasn’t trusting how the matter was being handled. At the RC it was plain Brian did not properly document his dealings with the AHA matter, even if required by the Procedures Manual – for something so important and which had legal implications. And this is from the top man who is responsible for how the AOG organisation conducts itself properly and follows procedure.]

ROYAL RANT

Why don’t Hillsong followers do their homework and read the Royal Commission transcripts and evidence submitted?

They will find out their leader is incompetent at best and at worst, a morally corrupt man who tried to cover-up his father’s paedophilia and protect the image and reputation of his family name, his church dynasty, and the denomination in which his church is a major player.

Brian is now in PR mode, rewriting history since he has a platform, access to media and a book to tell you all about it. The victims have no voice and have been left without justice.

How do you the think the victims feel each time media channels give Brian yet another opportunity to spin his version of events to hide how badly he handled his father’s crimes and his lack of compassion and support for the victims?

Everyone knows it was Frank’s crimes but who does Brian think should support the victims? Brian and his family did not cooperate with victims and investigations and Brian blatantly tried to distance himself and the Hillsong brand from the victims of the past.

The Houstons boast of the blessings that God has poured out on them. Yet where was the generosity and compassion shown to Frank’s victims? Even a church love offering for the victims (which are not uncommon) would have shown support and care. (So what did Brian actually tell his congregations, and when?)

Yet Brian has the gall to pull out the poor-Brian card every time on TV to garner sympathy for why he didn’t report his father. Brian did not have to deal with his father, and  shouldn’t have due to his conflict of interest. He chose to, and his AOGA executive team AND HILLSONG ELDERS should have stopped him.

You’ve seen above how Brian used the McDonalds meeting to deceive. He has also shown that he gets to decide what is family business or not, that is, to whom, when and what is disclosed. Brian decided that Frank offering final payment to AHA, and Brian  accompanying Frank and the “elder” when seeking legal advice, did not need to be mentioned to the AOG.

Observe, no-one was witness to Frank’s confession to Brian.

What did Brian decide was father-son and what was AOGA business?

Brian has already submitted after the RC he heard Frank’s admission as a “religious confession” [link], trying to avoid being investigated for not reporting Frank to the police. [Note: Brian is quick to hide behind church tradition and the establishment when it suits him, yet denigrates it when marketing his successful, cutting edge, relevant church that breaks the mould.]

Brian operates in a mode where people are called to simply trust him, the man of God who operates in God’s authority evidenced by Hillsong’s success. However, it is incumbent on Brian to walk in integrity, to prove he is trustworthy. Unfortunately, Brian is more focussed on managing the Hillsong brand, image and growth. When facing the hard issues/questions, he has shown himself not to be truthful and frequently resorts to deceiving word games. Brian does not walk in integrity and those who call him out are disparaged (even the Royal Commission got a serve on national television by the Houstons).

Where are the men in Hillsong? Where is the discernment? (O, that’s right!   Hillsong appeals to loyalty, unity, acceptance, and positivity, and the Hillsong faithful are regularly reminded.)

It is sad day when we need the world’s legal system to shine a light on Brian and the AOG’s dark mode of operation and their culture. There is something seriously broken and the church covers its ears, eyes and mouth. Brian and the AOG have lost its biblical and moral compass. It’s about the “cause” and that end is used to justify what should not be justified.

Read the transcripts below of the McDonalds meeting and you will see the focus, again, on Frank, and the church world. Where is the compassion, concern, protection and justice, and biblical discipline leading to repentance and forgiveness?


 

SOURCE / REFERENCES

McDonalds Meeting – References

Report of Case Study No. 18 – The response of the Australian Christian Churches and affiliated Pentecostal churches to allegations of child sexual abuse (PDF 822 KB) p31. This is a summary of the McDonalds meeting:

rcreportmcdonaldsmeet

Transcript86/Page 9079 – AHA recalls the McDonalds meeting – AHA was in a state of panic, Frank was distressed and fumbling and wanted forgiveness for the $10,000 and to put an end to it, the “unnamed man” said to sign the spoiled napkin.

Q. But that doesn’t seem to have been the end of the money; is that right?
AHA-A.  No, sir. In a phone call to my mother, he said he would pay $2,000 a month till the day he died. I think  that was his attempt to cover his trail, in my personal belief. Then the phone calls kept coming after that, and that’s when he made the remark that, “We need to get  and sort this out”, and that’s where the  McDonald’s restaurant situation came to light.
Q.  That’s the occasion where there was an apparent agreement to pay you $10,000; is that right?
A.  Yes.
Q.  What did Pastor Frank want from you during that  meeting?
A.  He wanted me to forgive him.
Q.  What else did he say about the $10,000 and what it was compensation for?
A.  Him and the unnamed man basically were pushing me just to sign this piece of paper and to say that, provided I forgive him, “The money is yours.” That was the only connection to it. That was what he wanted.
Q.  You say that you were asked by the unnamed man to sign a food-stained napkin; is that right?
A.  Yes.
Q.  Was there a document, like a typed document, that was put in front of you?
A.  No.
Q.  Did you subsequently sign some form of written agreement?
A.  There was nothing, as far as I could tell, on the napkin, and at that stage, sir, I just want to tell you that I was in a state of panic, but as I could not see anything on it, I just scribbled my name on it and Frank  kept badgering me about the forgiveness.
Q.  Then I understand that there was some delay in the money; is that right?
A.  Yes, sir.
Q.  And you spoke with Brian Houston about the money; is that right?
A.  Yes.
Q.  Was that the first time you had spoken to Brian Houston?
A.  As far as I can recollect, sir, yes.
Q.  You say in your statement that as far as you were  aware, he seemed to know that money had been offered to you by his father?
A.  Yes.
Q.  You say half a month later, a cheque in the sum of $10,000 arrived in the post?
A.  Yes.

12/10/2014 Daily Telegraph reporting on the Royal Commission: Hillsong leader Brian Houston breaks silence on paedophile father: ‘It was wrong not to report him’.
Brian adamant Frank paying AHA $10,000 was NOT to do with church.

He said paying victim AHA had nothing to do with him despite the royal commission hearing the victim had contacted him about Frank Houston failing to pay as promised.

Two weeks later the $10,000 cheque was delivered.

“There have been reports of money being paid to the victim. Again for clarification, this was between my father and the victim. It had nothing to do with me or Hillsong Church,” he said.

Transcript88/Page 9333 Brian Houston says elder with Frank was only as friend

Q. Who was it?
A.  It was a man called Nabi Saleh, who has been a lifelong friend of my father’s.
Q.  Was he a member of Hillsong Church?
A.  Yes, he was an elder of Hillsong Church. But he went along – first of all, by then, my father didn’t drive, so  someone had to go with him. I didn’t want to be in it  because of the conflict with Hillsong, and this was between Frank and [AHA]. So he really went there, if you like, in a pastoral, caring, friendship manner, to drive him there,  sit with him, help him through the process and just be his  friend.

Transcript88/Page 9335 Brian Houston viewed document – Frank was looking at $10,000 amount being final on document to be given to AHA at McDonalds meeting (doc was lost)

Q. What was on the document, apart from the three or so  paragraphs?
A.  I think it was just along the lines of, you know, we  agree to this amount of money and we agree this amount of  money is final and —

Transcript88/Page 9346-7 Brian Houston justifies why he felt he didn’t need to tell the AOGA executive about the $10,000 payment of AHA at McDonalds

Q. If that is the situation, if it is likely that you  knew before 22 December 1999, what were you hoping to achieve by not telling the special executive that such a payment had been made?
BH-A.  Well, I’m not convinced I didn’t tell them.
Q.  There is nothing after 22 December 1999 which  indicates some formal report to the national executive which includes what payments were made?
A.  To be honest, the payment in this sense had nothing to  do with the national executive, because I was adamant that  this was not about Hillsong; this was not about the Australian Assemblies of God. This payment was between Frank and [AHA].

Transcript89/ Page 9379: Brian Houston talking about role of Nabi Selah, Hills CLC elder at McDonalds meeting

Q. Was there any consideration about whether it was appropriate for Mr Saleh – excuse me, am I pronouncing his name correctly?
BH-A:Saleh.
Q. Was there any consideration of whether it was  appropriate for him to attend?
A. Well, he was a family friend. That’s the only reason he went. And I don’t think that he considered that at all. He loved my dad and I think he just – all he was concerned about was looking after my father in terms of driving him there and being there to comfort him. Obviously, you know, for my father, it was probably a – you know, a difficult day, and he was just there literally to stand with him.

Transcript89/Page 9386. Brian Houston confirming the meeting in the notes of his phone call with Barbara Taylor was the McDonalds meeting

Q. Can I draw your attention to item number 3 in that .  You will appreciate that we understand this document some notes that Barbara Taylor made of her conversation with you on the phone after you had received the letter I have just shown you?
BH-A.Yes, yes.
Q. Can you look to number 3.  Do you recall, during the telephone discussion, a discussion about the meeting between [AHA] and Frank Houston, with an elder of CLC present?
A. I can’t say I recall a lot about that actual phone call at all, to be honest with you.
Q. Specifically in relation to that topic, do you have any memory – that is, number 3?
A. I couldn’t say, to be honest, that I do have a memory that we discussed this at that time.
Q. Is that a reference to the meeting that we have heard described as occurring at Thornleigh McDonald’s?
A. Yes.

Transcript89/Page 9384. RC asked Brian if the Commission should know about meeting with lawyers. He said it was between a father and son.

Q.   Did you not think that it was a relevant matter for  this Commission to know?
A.   It could have been.  Look, I can tell you now, there’s a multitude of things I could have talked about in this  statement.  I was given advice that, “You can’t possibly  put everything in your statement.”
Q.   But you didn’t think that a meeting with lawyers where you discussed your father’s situation in relation to [AHA] was relevant to this Commission?
A.   Where I went, as my father’s son, to go to see a lawyer about my father, and this Commission is about institutional child abuse, so, in that sense, I don’t see that it was particularly relevant that I went to see  a lawyer.  It was something that was between a father and a son.

Transcript89/Page 9399. Brian says his actions as a son is not relevant to the Royal Commission. The lawyer visit with Saleh involved Brian looking over the McDonalds meeting document that Frank wanted AHA to sign in payment for AHA’s forgiveness, and the money was final.

Q. Did you go to Mallesons [lawyer] with Mr Saleh?
A.   Yes.  That was as a son, but I don’t see that going as a son has any relevance to institutional responses to child  abuse.

Trans86/Page 9132 AHA tells about role of unnamed man at McDonalds meeting  – Frank’s “business advisor

Q. In relation to the meeting at McDonald’s, who suggested McDonald’s as a meeting place?
A.  Again, that was because I had bought a house on the Central Coast and moved up out of there. Frank wanted  a meeting place that was mutual for both of us.
Q.  So do you recall who suggested McDonald’s?
A.  It was Frank at that stage who mentioned McDonald’s.
Q.  When you agreed to meet, were you expecting that  a third party would be at the meeting?
A.  No.
Q.  So you were surprised when you arrived and there was a third party?
A.  Yes.
Q.  Were you introduced?
A.  From memory – and it is vague – Frank said, “This is” – something about “my business adviser”, or something along those lines, but mainly Frank was talking to me about getting on with this and getting forgiveness from me. He was more concerned about dying and answering God for what he had done to me, and that was where that started from.
Q. And this third party – can you describe him?
A. From what I can remember of him, he was a short, stout man, balding, with a small moustache, but, again, I didn’t really look at him that much. He was on to my side and he had a hamburger he was pushing into his face and I couldn’t really get a good look at him.
Q.  With the napkin that you signed, do you know what happened to that napkin?
A.  No.
Q.  You didn’t take it away with you?
A.  No.
Q.  Did you see Frank take it away with him?
A.  I don’t remember who took it. I think the other  person, the unnamed man, he grabbed it and crunched it up  in his hands. But at that stage I was leaving the table.   I just wanted to get away from the whole situation.

nabiselahshortgloriajeansbl

 

From AHA’s statement about the Redfern near-meeting and the McDonald’s meeting:

17. Although Pastor Taylor told Pastor McMartin of the AOG my story, I never received any  correspondence or communication directly from anyone at Sydney CLC / Hillsong or from anyone in the AOG hierarchy itself about this matter. The only contact I had was from Pastor Frank himself who started calling me and my mother on a regular basis. The phone calls started coming about a week or two after I received the letter of 16 September 1999 from Pastor Taylor. I received several telephone calls from Pastor Frank over different periods. When he called me, he would say words to the following effect: “I want to get together to discuss some sort of money as a compensation to you … I don’t want this on my head when I stand in front of God.” The money was something that he brought up. It wasn’t something that I asked him for.

18. I eventually agreed to meet with Pastor Frank on or about early 2000. I decided to meet him because of his phone calls as I didn’t want to hear from him any longer and just wanted to get it over and done with. The meeting was at Redfern Station in Sydney. I attended that meeting but when I saw Pastor Frank pull up in his green Jaguar, I walked away. Seeing him bothered me and I did not want to be anywhere near him. Even being in the same State as him bothered me and I just didn’t want to connect with him.

19. Following the near-meeting at Redfern station, Pastor Frank continued to attempt to make contact with me and my mother. When he called me, he would say words to the following effect –

“Look, we need to meet. I want to organise some money for you, some compensation, and get this off.”

[During the Royal Commission hearing, after piecing together evidence that could be tied down to a time, AHA agreed the Redfern meeting was most probably to have been before the Barbara Taylor letter to him 16/9/1999.]

20. On or about late 2000, whilst Pastor Frank was still active in the church, I agreed to meet with him. The meeting was held at a McDonalds restaurant at Thornleigh, just up Pennant Hills Road. When I arrived at McDonalds, I saw Pastor Frank’s green Jaguar in the car park. Inside the restaurant I saw Pastor Frank sitting down next to a man whom I did not recognise [“the unnamed man”]. The unnamed man was eating a burger. Pastor Frank said words to the following effect:

“I want your forgiveness for this. I don’t want to die and have to face God with this on my head.”

The unnamed man then put a food-stained napkin down in front of me and words were said to the following effect
Unnamed man: “You put your signature there and I’ll give you the
$10,000.”

Pastor Frank:     “Just do it and say you forgive me, and that’ll be it.”

At this stage, I was nearly going into a panic. I just wanted to get away from the whole situation. I signed the napkin. The unnamed man said words to the following effect – “All right, I’ll be in touch. I’ll send you a cheque.”

Pastor Frank then said words to the following effect: “If there’s any problems contact me or Brian but you’ll get your money.”

I left the restaurant after that.

21. About two months after my meeting with Pastor Frank at McDonalds, I telephoned Brian Houston as I had not yet received any money from Pastor Frank. We had a conversation to the following effect:

Me: “What’s happening with the payment I was promised? I agreed to forgive your  father.”
Brian: “Yes, ok, I’ll get the money to you. There’s no problem … You know, it’s your  fault all of this happened. You tempted my father.”
Me: “Why, did he molest you also?”

Brian got very angry after that. He slammed the phone down after saying words to the effect of:  “You’ll be getting money.”

22. I’m certain that Brian Houston knew about the meeting that I had with Pastor Frank at McDonalds. I did not tell him about the meeting during our phone conversation however, he appeared to be aware of it and I therefore assumed that Pastor Frank had discussed it with him. Pastor Frank had also told me I could call Brian Houston if there was a problem so that made me believe that Pastor Frank would speak to Brian about the agreement made at McDonalds.

23. About half a month later a cheque in the sum of $10,000 arrived in the post. There was no correspondence of any sort with the cheque. I can not recall who the drawer of the cheque was.

 

Trans86/Page 9112 AHA corrects his estimate about the timing of the Redfern meeting and the Thornleigh meeting

Q.  Still with your points of reference, if you go to paragraph 17, at least in that statement you say:

The only contact I had was from Pastor Frank himself who started calling me and my mother on a regular basis. The  phone calls started coming about a week or   two after I received the letter of 16 September 1999 from Pastor Taylor.

A.  Yes, that was incorrect. It was earlier than that, before that date – the letter had arrived.
Q.  So is it correct that you were in contact with  Frank Houston in the months before receiving the letter of  16 September 1999?
A.  Yes.
Q.  Was it during that time that you were in contact with  him in the months before 16 September 1999 that you had, firstly, this meeting at Redfern railway station?
A.  Yes.
Q. And the meeting at McDonald’s at Thornleigh?
A. No, that came later.

Correspondence between Ps Barbara Taylor and Brian Houston

In June, 2000, Ps Barbara Taylor wrote to Brian, upset that the AHA matter wasn’t being dealt with:

20000626-taylor-to-brianhou

Letter from Ps Barbara Taylor to Brian Houston 29/11/1999 – AHA accepted the that the church organisation was looking into his case, he was pleased he had been believed and AHA was wanted to know if Brian was told AHA was thinking legal proceedings.(yes)

19991129-acc-0006-001taylortobhoustonreahasoftenedskglegal

[Handwriting notes are by Ps. Barbara Taylor.]


Hillsong City Church not reporting Frank’s discipline

2015 Report of Case Study No. 18 – From the RC report – “Hillsong City Church” did not report Frank Houston to the New South Wales Commission for Children and Young People, as requested below. pg. 42

167. On 7 August 2000, the [New South Wales Commission for Children and Young People] CCYP sent a letter to the Business Manager at Hillsong City Church acknowledging Hillsong City Church’s registration for a Working with Children Check. The letter stated that ‘[I]t is important to remember that any completed relevant disciplinary proceedings must be reported to the [CCYP]’.172  The requirement applied to all disciplinary proceedings including those completed in the five years  before the commencement of the Commission for Children and Young People Act 1998 (NSW) in 2000.

168. Mr Aghajanian accepted that Hillsong Church did not report the suspension of Frank Houston  and the withdrawal of his credential to the Commission for Children and Young People. He said  ‘the matter was overlooked due to a lack of understanding at the time in the context of  complying with the comprehensive legislative child protection regime that came into force in and around the year 2000. ‘340


Transcripts noting Keith Ainge giving evidence about the lack of reports to the AOG executive, no independent investigation, Brian is the only source of information to the AOGA executive meeting,  that procedure wasn’t followed, that the AOGA was relying on what Brian Houston said about the complainant not wanting it to go to the  police, no payment to AHA was mentioned to the AOGA.

Transcript88/ Page 9263-4: Keith Ainge talking about Brian Houston being the conduit of information between the AOGA executive and the victim and perpetrator.

Q. Let’s wind back. So you’re saying if there is no complaint in writing, then, effectively, the whole process under the Administration Manual is put to one side?
KA-A. I’m not suggesting that. I’m saying that at the  meeting that we attended, with limited access to any advice, the decision that was arrived at was that with no  complaint in writing, it was difficult to proceed, particularly since we couldn’t appoint anyone to contact the complainant because he refused to be identified.
Q. That was on the basis of what Brian Houston had told  you; isn’t that right?
A. It was on the basis of what Brian Houston told us, yes.

Q. Let’s just wind back, then. You’re aware, certainly  today, of a letter of 16 September 1999, that was written  by Barbara Taylor to Pastor McMartin, aren’t you?
A. I’m aware of it now. I was not aware of it at the time of this meeting.
Q. Was it put to the meeting or did somebody inform the meeting that such a letter containing an allegation of child sexual abuse against Frank Houston by a named  complainant had been provided to the state executive officer?
A. To the best of my knowledge, no.
Q. So after 16 September we know that no state officer was appointed to commence the complaint procedure under these guidelines; is that right?
A. That’s correct.
Q. Were you aware of whether an independent person had  been appointed to liaise directly with [AHA]?
A. I was not aware of that.
Q. In fact, you weren’t aware of [AHA]’s name at all,  were you?
A. No.
Q. Did you ask whether an independent person had been  appointed to liaise with the complainant at the meeting on 22 December 1999?
A. I don’t recall whether that question was asked.
Q. By you or by anybody else?
A. By me or by anyone else.
Q. You say that the conduit for information about the allegation – so I’m just going to focus on the allegation at the moment – was Brian Houston; is that correct?
A. Yes, that’s correct.
Q. And I think Wayne Alcorn was aware of an allegation;  is that right?
A. Yes, that’s correct.
Q. But effectively it was Brian Houston who communicated the allegation to the meeting?
A. To my knowledge, Wayne Alcorn had no knowledge of the  substance of the allegation.
Q. Was any indication given to you that a full interview  with the complainant had taken place prior to the meeting  on 22 December 1999?
A. My understanding from that meeting was that the complainant didn’t wish to be interviewed and didn’t wish  to have any contact with us.
Q. And that came from Brian Houston?
A. It came from Brian Houston, yes.
Q. Was any step taken to provide contact through an independent person, namely, somebody who wasn’t related to the perpetrator, to establish that fact?
A. No.
Q. Was any indication given to you that a full interview with the complainant had taken place prior to the meeting on 22 December 1999?
A. My understanding from that meeting was that the complainant didn’t wish to be interviewed and didn’t wish to have any contact with us.
Q. And that came from Brian Houston?
A. It came from Brian Houston, yes.
Q. Was any step taken to provide contact through an independent person, namely, somebody who wasn’t related to  the perpetrator, to establish that fact?
A. No.

Transcript88/ Page 9268: Keith Ainge talking about no report provided to the AOGA about Frank answering the allegations. Procedure ignored.

Q. There is a process whereby, I think you agreed,  a report is prepared by the state executive, with  recommendations to go up to the national executive under the administration policy. Do you agree with that?
A. Yes.
Q. And you would also agree that at the meeting on 22 December, no written report was provided by Brian Houston or by anybody else at that stage?
KA-A. No.
Q. And no recommendations were made by the state  executive to be considered by the national executive, were they?
A. At that stage, it hadn’t been considered by the state  executive, to my understanding.

Transcript88/ Page 9275: Keith Ainge talking about relying on Brian Houston for information about in regards going to the police..

Q. And that you were relying on what Brian Houston said to you about the complainant not wanting it to go to the  police; is that correct? 
KA-A. Correct.
Q. And you had not had the matter assessed by an  independent person?
A. That’s correct.
Q. And you had not had an independent person appointed to deal with the complainant?
A. That’s correct.
Q. On that basis, you determined that there was no need to refer the complaint to the police?
A. That’s correct.

Transcript88/ Page 9277: Keith Ainge, AOGA executive being interviewed
– Frank paying AHA was not mentioned at the AOGA executive meeting.

Q. Was there any discussion, first of all, at the meeting on 22 December 1999 about the payment of money by Frank or  Brian Houston to the complainant?
A.  At the meeting in 1999, there was no discussion in relation to that.
Q.  And you would have noted that if there was?
A.  Yes.


From Inside Story: True Believers – Brian spoke to Inside on Channel 9 on 11/2/2016. Brian Houston sees AHA “brittle”

Brian mentioned that when he [AHA] came forward he was 36 or 37 years old. And he was very adamant he did not want to involve the police or church authorities.

BH: And so, he [AHA] was brittle and I think that um, because of that I didn’t see the police as an option.

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