Brian Houston, the founder of the celebrity-favorite megachurch Hillsong, has resigned over misconduct allegations, the church's board announced in a statement Wednesday.
Houston had been under an internal investigation for two complaints against him, the board of the Australian church said Friday. The first complaint was about an incident 10 years ago, which "involved inappropriate text messages from Pastor Brian to a member of staff, which subsequently resulted in the staff member resigning," the board said.
"At the time, Pastor Brian was under the influence of sleeping tablets, upon which he had developed a dependence," the statement said. Houston apologized to the person, and the board worked with Houston to get him "professional help to eliminate his dependency on this medication."
The board did not reveal the substance of these texts, but another Hillsong pastor previously said they were along the lines of, "'If I was with you, I'd like to kiss and cuddle you,' words of that nature," Australia's ABC News reported.
The second complaint, from 2019, involved an incident in which Houston became "disoriented" at a church conference "following the consumption of anti-anxiety medication beyond the prescribed dose, mixed with alcohol," the board said.
"This resulted in him knocking on the door of a hotel room that was not his, entering this room and spending time with the female occupant," the statement said.
In late January, Houston announced he would take a step back from his duties after he was hit with criminal charges for concealing information related to child sexual abuse, allegedly committed by his late father, Pastor Frank Houston in the1970s. In response to the accusations against his father, Houston said they came as a "shock" and vowed to "vigorously defend" his innocence.
"I intend to fight the charge and welcome the opportunity to set the record straight," he said in his statement at the time.
Hillsong was founded by Houston and his wife in Sydney in 1983, and now has churches in 30 countries and a weekly attendance of about150,000 members, according to its website. Many celebrities have attended the megachurch's services, including Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, and Kylie Jenner.