Robert Morris Resigns from Gateway Church Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations

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Robert Morris, the founder and senior pastor of Gateway Church in North Texas, has resigned following allegations of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl in the 1980s. The church’s Board of Elders has accepted his resignation and initiated a comprehensive review. Read more about the details and implications of this shocking development.

Robert Morris Resigns from Gateway Church Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations
Robert Morris Resigns from Gateway Church Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Texas Pastor Resigns After Allegations of Misconduct with 12-Year-Old

In a significant and disturbing turn of events, Robert Morris, the founder and senior pastor at Gateway Church in North Texas, has resigned following allegations of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl in the 1980s. The allegations have shocked the congregation and the wider community, prompting a thorough review by the church’s Board of Elders.

Allegations and Resignation

The allegations against Robert Morris surfaced publicly when Cindy Clemishire, who had known Morris through her parents, accused him of molesting her repeatedly between 1982 and 1987. At that time, Morris was a traveling evangelist in his early twenties. On June 14, Clemishire detailed her accusations, stating that Morris had sexually assaulted her over several years.

Following these revelations, the Board of Elders at Gateway Church released a statement accepting Morris’ resignation. They also announced plans for a comprehensive review to fully understand the extent of the alleged abuse. The elders expressed their deep sorrow and sympathy for the victim and her family, acknowledging the severe impact of the revelations on the community.

Background and Context

Robert Morris founded Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, in 2000. Since then, the evangelical megachurch has expanded to nine campuses across North Texas, becoming one of the largest churches in the United States. Morris has been a prominent figure in the evangelical community, known for his sermons and leadership.

The allegations against Morris were initially reported by The Wartburg Watch, a church watchdog blog based in North Carolina. The story was later picked up by The Christian Post, bringing national attention to the case. In response to the allegations, Morris admitted to “inappropriate sexual behavior” but downplayed the severity of his actions, describing them as kissing and petting rather than intercourse.

Reaction from the Victim and Community

Cindy Clemishire, the accuser, expressed mixed feelings about Morris’ resignation. While she was relieved that he was no longer in a pastoral role, she criticized the Board of Elders for allowing him to resign rather than terminating his position. Clemishire accused the church leadership of knowingly perpetuating a false narrative to protect Morris.

In a statement, Clemishire voiced her disappointment: “Though I am grateful that he is no longer a pastor at Gateway, I am disappointed that the Board of Elders allowed him to resign. He should have been terminated.” She also expressed concern that there might be other victims who have yet to come forward.

The church’s response included an apology to Clemishire and the community, acknowledging the pain and hurt caused by the revelations. The Board of Elders emphasized their commitment to transparency and accountability, hiring a law firm to conduct an independent review of the case.

The Impact on Gateway Church

The allegations and subsequent resignation of Robert Morris have had a profound impact on Gateway Church. As one of the largest evangelical churches in the country, the scandal has attracted significant media attention and scrutiny. The church’s leadership is now tasked with managing the fallout and ensuring that similar incidents do not occur in the future.

The Board of Elders’ statement highlighted their intention to support the victim and the congregation through this difficult time. They acknowledged the complex emotions and trauma experienced by those affected and stressed the importance of healing and restoration.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

The case of Robert Morris raises important legal and ethical questions about the responsibility of religious leaders and institutions in cases of sexual misconduct. The allegations date back several decades, complicating potential legal actions. However, the ethical implications are clear: religious leaders must be held to high standards of conduct, and institutions must ensure the safety and well-being of their members.

By hiring an independent law firm to review the case, Gateway Church aims to demonstrate its commitment to accountability. This review will likely examine the church’s policies and practices regarding sexual misconduct and abuse, potentially leading to reforms to prevent future incidents.

Broader Implications for the Evangelical Community

The scandal at Gateway Church is part of a broader pattern of similar allegations within the evangelical community and other religious organizations. Cases of sexual misconduct by religious leaders have prompted calls for greater transparency, accountability, and preventative measures within these institutions.

For the evangelical community, the case of Robert Morris underscores the need for robust safeguards to protect vulnerable individuals. It also highlights the importance of addressing allegations promptly and thoroughly, ensuring that victims receive justice and support.

Moving Forward

As Gateway Church navigates the aftermath of Robert Morris’ resignation, the focus will be on healing and rebuilding trust within the community. The independent review will play a crucial role in this process, providing insights and recommendations to improve the church’s handling of such cases.

For Cindy Clemishire and other potential victims, the hope is that coming forward will lead to justice and closure. Clemishire’s bravery in sharing her story has already had a significant impact, prompting a major leadership change at one of the nation’s largest churches.


The resignation of Robert Morris from Gateway Church following allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor has sent shockwaves through the evangelical community. The case highlights the urgent need for accountability and transparency within religious institutions. As the church undergoes a thorough review, the focus remains on supporting the victim and preventing future incidents of abuse. The broader evangelical community must learn from this case, implementing safeguards and policies to protect the vulnerable and uphold the highest standards of ethical conduct.

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