Megachurch Pastor Robert Morris Resigns after Admitting to 'Sexual Behavior' With 12-Year-Old Girl

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Megachurch Pastor Robert Morris Resigns after Admitting to ‘Sexual Behavior’ With 12-Year-Old Girl

Megachurch Pastor Robert Morris Resigns after Admitting to ‘Sexual Behavior’ With 12-Year-Old Girl

Jun 19, 2024

A Texas mega church pastor has resigned after a woman said she was sexually abused by him on multiple occasions in the 1980s, beginning when she was just 12 years old.

The Board of Elders at Gateway Church, located in the Dallas suburb of Southlake, accepted the resignation of Robert Morris, the church’s senior pastor and founder.

When news of the childhood sexual abuse scandal broke last week, Morris released the following statement to the Christian Post:

“When I was in my early twenties, I was involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with a young lady in a home where I was staying. It was kissing and petting and not intercourse, but it was wrong. This behavior happened on several occasions over the next few years.”

Morris went on to say that he had confessed the “moral failure” in March of 1987 to the Elders of Shady Grove Church and the “young lady’s father.”

“I asked their forgiveness, and they graciously forgave me,” Morris said, adding that he returned to ministry two years later. “It was kissing and petting and not intercourse, but it was wrong.

But Morris’ accuser, Cindy Clemishire, told the Wartburg Watch that the abuse began in December 1982 – when she was 12 years old – and continued for four-and-a-half years.

Clemishire, now 54, asserted that she was absolutely not a “young lady” when Morris began sexually abusing her.

“I’m, of course, just appalled,” Clemishire told the Christian Post.

Morris officially resigned Tuesday. As various media outlets reported, the behavior Morris admitted to would constitute criminal sexual abuse (although no charges have been brought).

Gateway Church initially stood by Morris. In a message to church employees, Gateway officials said Morris had “properly disclosed” sexual abuse to church elders. They later accepted his resignation after a wave of criticism surrounding the child sex abuse claims.

Gateway Church officials released a statement claiming that they previously understood the relationship between Morris and Clemishire as an extramarital affair with a “young lady.” The statement further indicated that the church was unaware it involved the abuse of a 12-year-old girl.

We regret that we did not have the information that we now have,” the statement read,

Morris reportedly has a television program that airs in over 190 countries and a radio program that airs in more than 6,800 cities. He was on President Trump’s spiritual advisory board during the 2016 campaign and during the presidency.

More Victims of Pastor Robert Morris Sought

Cindy Clemishire told USA TODAY that she had been sharing her story for decades with leadership in “very large and high-profile” churches and organizations. Despite raising her voice, no one took Morris out of ministry or the pulpit, the newspaper confirmed. She added that her decision to come forward publicly was an effort to encourage others who may be victims to tell their stories.

Any and all victims, come forward … I just don’t believe that I’m the only person,” she said.

She also told USA TODAY that she no longer feels intimidated.

The courage is there,” she said. “I just couldn’t stay silent anymore,” sha added, noting that she has “no shame.

“I’ve always just trusted that God’s timing would take it wherever it needed to go,” she said about Morris. “Why hide?”

Clemishire is reportedly evaluating “all legal options,” although the statute of limitations for crimes occurring in the 1980s makes criminal prosecution impossible.

Time to Process and Come Forward After Child Sexual Abuse

Time to Process and Come Forward After Child Sexual Abuse

As Dordulian Law Group’s founder and president, attorney Sam Dordulian, noted, the example of child sexual abuse between pastor Robert Morris and Cindy Clemishire highlights how it often takes survivors decades to come forward and report these crimes.

“This as proof, once again, for the naysayers who always ask, ‘Why wait decades to come forward?’ It happens to so many survivors and this is the reality of child sexual abuse in particular. Disbelieving sex crimes victims because they wait to come forward is ignorant,” Dordulian said.

File Your Child Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Today

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse by a pastor, priest, or clergy member have rights under California law. A civil lawsuit with Dordulian Law Group’s (D Law Group) experienced child sex crimes attorneys can help you secure justice in civil court and recover financial damages for various losses:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma or psychological harm
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Diminished future earning capacity
  • Lost wages due to the sex abuse
  • Punitive damages
  • Counseling or therapy expenses (past and future)
  • Medical care costs (past and future)

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Ready to file a claim and pursue justice through a financial damages award? Our expert attorneys are available online or by phone now.

To speak with one of our experienced and skilled Los Angeles child sexual abuse lawyers, contact us today via 866-GO-SEE-SAM. D Law Group is led by Sam Dordulian, a former sex crimes prosecutor in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office who has helped secure life sentences against countless sex offenders.

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