Woman accuses Gateway Church pastor Robert Morris of molestation when she was 12

A Texas megachurch pastor has admitted he was “involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with a young lady” after a woman accused him of molesting her when she was 12 years old. The woman is now in her 50s.

The woman said the alleged abuse by Robert Morris started on Christmas 1982 and continued until 1987, ending after she told a friend what had been happening and then told her own parents after the friend convinced her, WFAA reported.

Morris was a traveling preacher and had been speaking at her family’s church. She said he was “like family,” adding that he had been staying at her home, The Dallas Morning News reported.

He was with his wife and child, KDFW reported.

Typically media outlets do not identify alleged victims of sexual assault, but Cindy Clemishire’s name was used on The Wartburg Watch, a watchdog blog that tracks alleged sexual abuse in the church, which published her story on Friday.

It was also published by The Christian Post.

Morris was a pastor of Shady Grove Church when the alleged abuse happened. Shady Grove Church was affiliated with Gateway Church in 2013 and was made the Grand Prairie.

He released a statement on Sunday, not saying how old the girl was.

“It was kissing and petting and not intercourse, but it was wrong,” Morris said according to WFAA. “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.”

WFAA reported that Morris left the church for two years and received counseling before returning, with Cleminshire’s father’s blessing, in 1989. She said her family forgave Morris but didn’t approve of his return to preaching.

Morris was not charged, according to the Dallas newspaper. It is not known if the alleged incidents were reported to law enforcement, KDFW reported.

Another pastor had told the woman to share what allegedly happened to her on The Wartburg Watch.

Cleminshire said, “The story is gut-wrenching when I read it on paper and I’ve been sharing it for years.”

Gateway Church elders released a statement in response to the allegations, writing, “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.” They said he has shared the “proper Biblical steps he took in his lengthy restoration process.”

Morris did not preach on Sunday, the Morning News reported.

The church says it has more than 100,000 people meeting each Sunday as “one church in many locations.”

KDFW reached out to Gateway Church, which declined to comment.

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