Hillsong Church Founder Brian Houston, Charged with Concealing Dad's Sex Offenses, Steps Down from Board

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Brian Houston
Brian Houston

Marcus Ingram/Getty Images Brian Houston

Hillsong Church founder Brian Houston has stepped down from his position on the board ahead of his upcoming court case in Australia.

The Global Senior Pastor, 67, confirmed the news in an email message to Hillsong congregants on Friday, obtained by PEOPLE.

"I also wanted to let you know that I've made a decision to step aside from my role on the Hillsong Church boards that oversee the governance of our operations. I did this so that these boards can function to their fullest capacity during this season. This doesn't change my role as Global Senior Pastor. I thought it was important to let our church family know in the interests of transparency, and I wanted you to hear it from me directly," Houston wrote.

RELATED: Hillsong Church Founder Brian Houston Charged with Concealing Father's Child Sex Offenses in 1970s

Hillsong Church provided no further comment to PEOPLE.

Houston has been accused of covering up abuse allegations against his father, late preacher Frank Houston.

PEOPLE previously confirmed Australian authorities began investigating the Hillsong founder in 2019 after receiving "reports a 67-year-old man had knowingly concealed information relating to child sexual offenses," according to an August police statement.

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"Police will allege in court [Houston] knew information relating to the sexual abuse of a young male in the 1970s and failed to bring that information to the attention of police," the statement continued. He is expected in a Sydney court on Oct. 5.

In a previous statement to the Associated Press, Houston said the "charges have come as a shock to me." "I vehemently profess my innocence and will defend these charges, and I welcome the opportunity to set the record straight," he added.

RELATED: 'Downfall' of Hillsong Church Will Be Explored in New Discovery+ Doc Series

Australian officials contended in 2015 that Hillsong leaders became aware of the allegations in 1999, but did not share that information with police.

Frank Houston later confessed to the abuse allegations prior to his death in 2004 at 82.