Gateway Megachurch Founder Resigns Amid Sexual Abuse Allegations from the 1980s


In a surprising turn of events, Robert Morris, founder and senior pastor of the megachurch Gateway, situated in the Dallas suburb of Southlake, Texas, has announced his resignation. This decision followed allegations made by a woman who claimed that Morris sexually abused her multiple times in the 1980s, beginning when she was mere 12.

The board of elders from Gateway Church lent their voice to the situation on Tuesday, confirming the acceptance of Morris’ resignation. They also disclosed the engagement of a legal firm to conduct an impartial review in their quest for a comprehensive understanding of the series of events that occurred between 1982 and 1987.

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The accusations against Morris came to the fore on The Wartburg Watch, a religious watchdog blog, last Friday. In a subsequent interview with The Dallas Morning News on Saturday, the woman, Cindy Clemishire, pulled back the curtain on her acquaintance with Morris.

She recounted first meeting him in 1981, when he was a peripatetic preacher who began delivering sermons at her family church in Oklahoma. Clemishire described the closeness that developed among her family, Morris, and his young family. She proceeded to narrate an event from 1982, when Morris, a guest in her home, allegedly ushered her into his room, coaxed her onto his bed, and commenced touching her inappropriately.

Clemishire, who is currently 54, maintained that the sexual abuse persisted over the ensuing four-and-a-half years. The Associated Press maintains a policy of not revealing the identity of individuals alleging sexual assault unless they willingly make their story public, as Clemishire has done.

In a reply to The Christian Post’s probe into the allegations, Morris, now 62 years old, confirmed his engagement in improper sexual behavior with a young woman where he was a guest during his early twenties. “It involved kissing and petting, but not intercourse. Even though it was wrong,” Morris confessed in a statement, “This behavior carried on sporadically through the next few years.”

According to the church board, they were previously unaware of the full details of the improper relationship between Morris and the victim, including her age and the duration of the abuse. They stated that their interpretation of the extramarital affair that Morris has frequently discussed over his ministry years was not that it was “abuse of a 12-year-old child.”

Gateway Church, founded by Morris in 2000, now boasts multiple locations in the area and claims over 100,000 attendees each weekend. As the founding pastor, Morris was actively involved in political circles, including being a part of former President Donald Trump’s evangelical advisory board and hosting Trump on the Dallas campus in 2020 for a debate on race relations and the economy.

As of Tuesday, Morris has made no response to the demands for an immediate comment, sent to his email address hosted by the church.