Robert Morris resigns, Gateway elders say they didn’t have all the facts

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Gateway Church Pastor Robert Morris speaks on March 21, 2020.(Photo: Gateway Church)

(CP) The Board of Elders of Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, announced Tuesday that the megachurch’s founder, Robert Morris, has resigned, and they have retained a law firm to investigate a claim made by a woman who alleges Morris sexually abused her over multiple years in the 1980s beginning when she was 12.

“Today, June 18, the Board of Elders of Gateway Church accepted the resignation of Robert Morris, the senior pastor. In addition, the Board has retained the law firm of Haynes & Boone, LLP, to conduct an independent, thorough, and professional review of the report of past abuse to ensure we have a complete understanding of the events from 1982-1987,” the board said in a statement to The Christian Post.

Morris’ resignation comes after the woman, 54-year-old grandmother Cindy Clemishire, claimed that the megachurch pastor began sexually abusing her on Dec. 25, 1982, and continued with the abuse for four-and-a-half years after that.

Without naming Clemishire, Morris admitted to CP in an earlier statement that he had engaged in “inappropriate sexual behaviour with a young lady” while he was a pastor in his early 20s.

“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 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.

Elders at Gateway Church also told CP that Morris was transparent with them about his past and they believed he had been biblically restored to ministry. In their latest statement, however, the elders said Morris did not reveal that he had abused a 12 year old.

“Regretfully, prior to Friday, June 14, the elders did not have all the facts of the inappropriate relationship between Morris and the victim, including her age at the time and the length of the abuse. The elders’ prior understanding was that Morris’s extramarital relationship, which he had discussed many times throughout his ministry, was with ‘a young lady’ and not abuse of a 12-year-old child,” the elders explained.

“Even though it occurred many years before Gateway was established, as leaders of the church, we regret that we did not have the information that we now have. We are heartbroken and appalled by what has come to light over the past few days, and we express our deep sympathy to the victim and her family,” the elders said.

“For the sake of the victim, we are thankful this situation has been exposed. We know many have been affected by this, we understand that you are hurting, and we are very sorry. It is our prayer that, in time, healing for all those affected can occur.”

© The Christian Post

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