Latest Updates: Pastor Robert Morris Confesses to Abuse Allegations

Latest Updates: Pastor Robert Morris Confesses to Abuse Allegations

Also Read :The Must Read Discussion: Should a Fallen Pastor Be Restored or Ignored?

Robert Morris, founding pastor of Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, recently confessed to “inappropriate sexual behavior with a young lady” over 35 years ago when he was a young pastor after a woman accused him of sexually abusing her for several years since she was 12 years old. “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 said in a statement to The Christian Post after Gateway Church was asked about the allegations.

“In March of 1987, this situation was brought to light, and it was confessed and repented of. I submitted myself to the Elders of Shady Grove Church and the young lady’s father. They asked me to step out of ministry and receive counseling and freedom ministry, which I did. Since that time, I have walked in purity and accountability in this area,” Morris added.

“I asked their forgiveness, and they graciously forgave me,” Morris said.

Cindy Clemishire told The Wartburg Watch that Morris began sexually abusing Cinday Clemishire on Dec. 25, 1982, during a time when her family and his family became friends. The abuse continued for four-and-a-half years after that. Morris eventually stepped down from ministry in 1987 when Clemishire brought the allegations to light, first to a close friend and then to her family.

Two years later, Morris returned to ministry in March of 1989 with the blessing of the survivor’s father at the elders of his church. He added that he and his wife met with the survivor and her family in October 1989.

Clemishire, now 54, told CP on Sunday that she was “just appalled” concerning his description of her as a “young lady.”

“I was 12 years old. I was a little girl, a very innocent little girl. And he was brought into our home. He and his wife, Debbie, and their little boy, Josh, and trusted and preached at the church that my dad helped start and then began grooming all of us to do this, which took me decades to wrap my brain around as an adult,” she said.

“It went on for many years. He says there was no sexual intercourse, but he did touch every part of my body and inserted his fingers into me, which I understand now is considered a form of rape by instrumentation. I was an innocent 12-year-old little girl who knew nothing about sexual behavior.”

Clemishire also denied Morris’ claim that he received her father’s blessing to return to ministry.

“My father never ever gave his blessing on Robert returning to ministry! My father told him he’s lucky he didn’t kill him. I am mortified that he is telling the world my dad gave his blessing! Of course, we forgive because we are called to biblically forgive those who sin against us. But that does not mean he is supposed to go on without repercussions,” she said.

Although Clemishire attempted to file a lawsuit against Morris in 2005, Morris’ attorney suggested she was responsible for the abuse because she was “flirtatious.” She said she asked for $50,000 to cover the cost of her counseling in light of the abuse. On the other hand, they offered her $25,000 if she signed a non-disclosure agreement, which she turned down.

She told CP that Morris likely abused others and that he should step down from ministry.

“I don’t think he ever should have been allowed to be in the ministry. We would never allow someone to go teach in a school … work in a daycare, or be a doctor if anybody had done these things. And I have a very difficult time believing I’m the only one,” Clemishire said.

Meanwhile, elders at Gateway Church told CP that Morris has been transparent about his past sins and maintained that he has been biblically restored to ministry. 

“Pastor Robert has been open and forthright about a moral failure he had over 35 years ago when he was in his twenties and prior to him starting Gateway Church. He has shared publicly from the pulpit the proper biblical steps he took in his lengthy restoration process,” they said. 

“The two-year restoration process was closely administered by the Elders at Shady Grove Church and included him stepping out of the ministry during that period while receiving professional counseling and freedom ministry counseling,” they said. “Since the resolution of this 35-year-old matter, there have been no other moral failures. Pastor Robert has walked in purity, and he has placed accountability measures and people in his life. The matter has been properly disclosed to church leadership.”

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