Texas megachurch pastor Robert Morris resigns after ‘inappropriate sexual behavior’ with 12-year-old

SOUTH LAKE – Robert Morris, founder and senior pastor of Gateway Church in North Texas, resigned from his position Tuesday after Allegations of sexual assault of 12-year-old girl in 1980s was recently revealed.

On Tuesday, the board of elders at Gateway Church, a multi-site megachurch based in Southlake, released a statement saying they accepted Morris’ resignation and planned to conduct a “thorough review of the report on past abuse for ensure we have a complete understanding. events.”

Morris allegedly had a sexual relationship with a minor between 1982 and 1987, while he was a traveling evangelist in his early 20s. On June 14, Cindy Clemishirewhose parents had befriended Morris, publicly accused the pastor of assaulting her on several occasions during this period.

In the statement, the elders claim they did not have all the facts surrounding the alleged sexual assault, including Clemishire’s age at the time and the duration of the abuse.

“The elders had previously understood that Morris’s extramarital affair, which he had spoken about repeatedly throughout his ministry, was with ‘a young woman’ and not [the] Abuse of a 12-year-old child,” the statement said. “We are heartbroken and dismayed by what has come to light in recent days, and we express our deepest sympathy to the victim and her family. For the sake of the victim, we are grateful that this situation has come to light. We know that many have been affected by this situation, we understand that you are suffering and we are truly sorry. We pray that with time, healing for all affected may occur.

Clemishire said she had mixed thoughts and feelings about Morris’ resignation and believed she was not the only victim.

“While I am grateful that he is no longer pastor at Gateway, I am disappointed that the Board of Elders allowed him to resign,” Clemishire wrote in a statement Tuesday. “He should have been fired.”

Clemishire chastised church elders for knowing and admitting to his sexual abuse allegations but intentionally adopting “the false narrative that Robert Morris wanted them to believe.”

Morris founded the church’s first location in Southlake in 2000. The evangelical church, one of the largest in the United States, has expanded to nine campuses in North Texas.

The allegations against Morris were first published Friday by The Wartburg Watch, a church watchdog blog based in North Carolina. The Christian Post then picked up the story on Saturday.

In a statement to The Christian Post, Morris admitted to “inappropriate sexual behavior.”

“In my early 20s, I was involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with a young woman in a house where I was staying,” he said. “It involved kissing, caressing, not sexual intercourse, but it was wrong. This behavior occurred repeatedly over the next few years.”

In a sermon Morris gave 10 years ago, he spoke of his sexual immorality as a teenager.

“I learned to lie and manipulate because I was also rejected, I didn’t want to be rejected,” Morris said in 2014. “So I looked for girls who would be most likely and I learned to spot them.”

Church elders said a law firm had been hired to conduct the review.

Leave a Comment