Brian Houston, the former leader of the global Pentecostal mega church Hillsong, has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol in the US.
Houston was charged in Orange County, California, in February last year, after recording a blood alcohol reading of 0.08, according to court records obtained by the Daily Telegraph.
Houston posted a statement on his personal Instagram account on Wednesday, acknowledging the incident and calling his decision to drive under the influence “foolish”.
“I made the foolish decision to drive just 2 or 3 hundred metres (yards) to park the car and I am grateful to God that no damage or injury occurred,” he wrote.
“At the time it seemed like all hell had broken loose within Hillsong Church and I was under immense pressure and emotional strain. Clearly that is not an excuse, and I take full responsibility for my actions.
“Thirteen months have past (sic) since that incident occurred and I am now in a much stronger place within my spirit and soul.”
A statement from Hillsong said the church had recently been made aware of Houston’s charges.
“The global board and leadership of Hillsong Church did not become aware that Pastor Brian Houston had been charged in the USA for driving under the influence until after he had resigned as pastor of Hillsong,” a statement from the church said.
“As he was no longer on staff, this was a personal matter for Pastor Brian to deal with.
“As always we continue to keep the Houston family in our prayers.”
Houston stepped down as Hillsong leader last year. Since then the church has faced allegations of financial misconduct from the Australian independent MP Andrew Wilkie.
Wilkie used parliamentary privilege to accuse Houston of “treating private jets like Ubers”, claiming he spent $179,000 in church money over a three month period on air travel.
Houston is also fighting accusations he concealed his late father’s child sexual abuse and has pleaded not guilty to a charge of concealing the crime until his father’s death in 2004.
The case remains before the courts, with hearings to resume in June.
A legal representative for Houston has been contacted for comment.
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