Texas megachuch pastor admits ‘inappropriate sexual behavior with a young lady’ after being accused of abusing 12-year-old girl

us news, abuse, child abuse, church, donald trump, sexual abuse, texas, texas megachuch pastor admits ‘inappropriate sexual behavior with a young lady’ after being accused of abusing 12-year-old girl

Gateway Church

A Texas megachurch pastor has admitted previously having “inappropriate sexual behavior with a young lady” after being accused of repeatedly molesting a family friend starting when she was just 12.

Robert Morris, the founder of Gateway Church in Southlake and a one-time spiritual adviser for Donald Trump, confessed after Cindy Clemishire told the Wartburg Watch that she was allegedly groomed for abuse that continued for four years until she was 16.

“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,” he told the Christian Post, a dismissive description that “appalled” his accuser.

us news, abuse, child abuse, church, donald trump, sexual abuse, texas, texas megachuch pastor admits ‘inappropriate sexual behavior with a young lady’ after being accused of abusing 12-year-old girl
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Morris, 62, says he repented after the situation came to light in the late 80s. Robert Morris / Facebook

“It was kissing and petting and not intercourse, but it was wrong,” said the pastor, whose church attracts an estimated 100,000 worshippers each week.

“This behavior happened on several occasions over the next few years.”

He said the abuse “came to light” in 1987 and “it was confessed and repented of.”

Morris claims he “submitted” to church elders and Clemishire’s dad — who was head of the church he belonged to at the time — who all “asked me to step out of ministry and receive counseling and freedom ministry, which I did.

us news, abuse, child abuse, church, donald trump, sexual abuse, texas, texas megachuch pastor admits ‘inappropriate sexual behavior with a young lady’ after being accused of abusing 12-year-old girl
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Cindy Clemishire, says she was abused by Morris from when she was 12 to 16. WFAA

“Since that time, I have walked in purity and accountability in this area,” he claimed.

Clemishire said she was “appalled” by 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,” the now 54-year-old grandmother told the Christian Post of abuse that took her “decades to wrap my brain around as an adult.”

“I was an innocent 12-year-old little girl who knew nothing about sexual behavior,” she said.

Clemishire was also outraged at the suggestion her dad had given Morris his blessing to return to ministry.

“My father never ever gave his blessing on Robert returning to ministry!” she said.

“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!”

Clemishire said Morris repeatedly abused her in both Texas and Oklahoma, telling his wife at the time that he was merely providing her “counseling” during the abuse.

She recalled eventually confiding to a friend about what was happening, with the friend encouraging her to tell her family. She says when her father found out he told the lead pastor if Morris didn’t “get out of ministry” he would get the police involved. Morris stepped away for two years.

“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 added.

us news, abuse, child abuse, church, donald trump, sexual abuse, texas, texas megachuch pastor admits ‘inappropriate sexual behavior with a young lady’ after being accused of abusing 12-year-old girl
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Morris is one of the leaders at Gateway Church, a megachurch in Southlake, Texas. WFAA

She tried to file a lawsuit against Morris in 2005, but Morris’ attorney suggested she caused the abuse because she was “flirtatious.”

They eventually offered her $25,000 if she signed a non-disclosure agreement, but she declined.

Elders at Gateway Church told Christian Post stood by Morris, saying he has been biblically restored to ministry after confessing.

“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 church added that since the two-year restoration process, Morris has committed “no other moral failures.”

“Pastor Robert has walked in purity, and he has placed accountability measures and people in his life,” they added. “The matter has been properly disclosed to church leadership.”

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