Things just keep getting messier for pastor Carl Lentz following his bombshell cheating scandal. In a leaked audio recording of a meeting of church executives — which occurred around November 19 — Hillsong founder Brian Houston accused Lentz, 42, of fooling around with numerous ladies.
“It was more than one affair, they were significant. And at least some bad moral behavior had gone back historically, but not necessarily those affairs,” Houston said in the recording, which was obtained by the Daily Mail.
“If it was just about a moral failure perhaps it would have been possible to … work our way through it and have a period of restoration … But the nature of where my relationship was with Carl already … and then to add the significant nature of the moral issues meant that I believed and our global board believed the only option was to terminate Carl,” he continued.
After a staffer found salacious texts on Lentz’s computer, his affair was revealed. “I can honestly say before God the first time I heard any moral complaint against Carl was when Hillsong East Coast chief operating officer Tolu Badders contacted me,” Houston said.
“Tolu had a conversation with one of the staff members, and that staff member had found a very compromising chain of text messages on Carl’s laptop or computer,” he added. “And so that person went straight to Tolu. And Tolu, to her credit, the first thing she did was call me.”
Houston divulged that there were issues with Lentz before the bombshell cheating scandal. “He was a difficult man to have any kind of direct conversation with because it was always defensive, it would always be put back on the other person, as though they were the ones with the problem,” Houston said.
“They were not easy meetings and I already at the point at the end of summer that I felt like Carl and Laura’s time in New York was coming to an end … not just general narcissistic behavior, manipulating, mistreating people … I think sometimes other hurtful things, the breaches of trust connected to lying, constantly lying … basically, broken trust,” he added.
George Aghajanian, general manager and a director of Hillsong Church Australia, said they were “working on a severance package, which we’re negotiating with them on,” despite Lentz’s scandalous tryst.
“They haven’t accepted that at this point in time,” Aghajanian said. “We are trying to take care for them as far as they are letting us care for them. And certainly our heart is to look after the children, to look after Lentz’s wife, Laura, and even Carl, who needs a lot of help.
“And the purpose of that is really to get them the help they need, and to help them through this difficult process, to work on their marriage,” he added. “We’re doing a lot of stuff behind the scenes, it’s not anything we’re going to promote publicly.”
"I was unfaithful in my marriage, the most important relationship in my life and held accountable for that. This failure is on me, and me alone and I take full responsibility for my actions. I now begin a journey of rebuilding trust with my wife, Laura and my children and taking real time to work on and heal my own life and seek out the help that I need,” he wrote.
Soon after, his alleged lover, Ranin Karim, admitted that they were "obsessed" with each other throughout their five-month affair. Lentz — who was previously pals with Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin — revealed he was married to Karim but didn't divulge much about his job.
Lentz joined Hillsong at the New York location in 2010 but has "no plans to open his own church," an insider told Page Six. "Carl knows he put Hillsong in a bad spot, but he's appreciative of all they did for him. He's reaffirming his relationship with God."
Lentz is currently "taking time to work on his marriage" and going to "intense counseling with his wife."
"He is committed to rebuilding trust and fixing his marriage,” a source told the outlet.