Hillsong “loses footing” in America – evangelical powerhouse has shed more than half its U.S. churches in just a few weeks amid growing reports of scandals and abuse
Lieff Cabraser is investigating reports of abuse in Hillsong evangelical churches throughout the U.S. in the wake of growing reports of abuse and scandals including the loss of 9 of 16 American church campuses and the resignation of the global megachurch’s founder.
This “swift and stunning decline for one of the world’s largest and most influential evangelical churches” comes amid charges that found Brian Houston behaved inappropriately toward women in the church in addition to fighting criminal charges alleging he concealed past sexual abuse by clergy, including by his late father, who was also a pastor. The church has blamed medication and alcohol for Mr. Houston’s actions; Mr. Houston has not publicly commented on his resignation.
In late March 2022, Discovery+ released a three-part documentary, “Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed.” The documentary is said to depict the megachurch as a “toxic institution obsessed with image, control and growth at all costs.” Hillsong’s website notes 150,000 people attend services weekly in 30 countries.
Sadly, abuse and scandal appear to be rife among evangelical churches. While some churches have apologized for the abuse, few victims have seen any restitution or justice. What’s more, many churches work to protect themselves against the interests of their parishioners, and those victims who do seek justice or even just protection find themselves faced with aggressive legal maneuvering from the churches, many of which use written membership agreements to enforce silence and prohibit any public investigation.
Lieff Cabraser represents survivors across the U.S. who have been victimized by sexual violence and sexual abuse. We treat every client with care, respect, and compassion as we bring our comprehensive legal skills forward on each and every case. We have a dedicated team of lawyers, nurse consultants, and paralegals experienced in working with and listening to survivors who work individually with every client in every case to see that justice is won.
We approach each case with a client-focused team, working at the pace and with the support each client deserves. In California, we have challenged abuse alleged at private schools, at the country’s most prestigious universities, and via online platforms that have facilitated the sexual exploitation of minors. We understand the incredible courage it takes to challenge institutions and leaders, and we applaud our clients for taking steps that make the world safer for other survivors and that help to stop others from being harmed.
Our current and previous sexual abuse cases include our work on behalf of female students who were abused by the university gynecologist at USC ($215 million settlement and sweeping university reforms) as well as cases against the NCAA, the University of Michigan, the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, the Branson School, J.B. v. G6 Hospitality LLC, Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, California, and Doe v. Twitter (representing anti-trafficking non-profit amici). We are also involved in numerous non-public school, church, and institutional student and teen abuse cases, including investigations regarding conversion therapy providers and troubled teen institutions.
If a school, church, sports team, hospital, or another institution failed to protect you from abuse, we may be able to help you hold that institution accountable, and possibly seek compensation and practice changes to prevent that failure from happening again to you or others. We urge you to contact a survivor’s rights lawyer at Lieff Cabraser today about your potential case and recovery.
If you were the victim of abuse unrelated to a larger institution, representation by our firm may not be the best option for your situation. We encourage you to consider representation by other attorneys, as well as support from resources like RAINN.org, WomensLaw.org, MaleSurvivor.org, 1in6.org (another resource for male survivors), iSurvive.org, and AfterSilence.org.
Lieff Cabraser attorney Annika K. Martin leads our firm’s work on behalf of children and adults who have suffered sexual abuse of all kinds by clergy, teachers, or other figures of authority at religious and laic institutions. You can contact Annika by telephone at 800 541-7358, or you can use the confidential form on this page. There is no charge or obligation for your outreach, and all information will be held in the strictest confidence.