Texas megachurch pastor resigns after admitting to molestation claims in Eighties | EUROtoday

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Dallas megachurch pastor Robert Morris has resigned after admitting having “inappropriate sexual behavior with a young lady” within the Eighties, after a girl accused him of molesting her when she was 12 years outdated.

Gateway Church’s board of elders mentioned in an announcement, launched on Tuesday, that they’d accepted the resignation from Morris, a senior pastor and a former member of Donald Trump’s religion advisory board.

The board mentioned it had employed a regulation agency to to conduct an impartial overview to verify they “have a complete understanding of the events” from 1982 to 1987.

The pastor’s accuser Cindy Cemishire, beforehand instructed WFAA that Morris started abusing her on Christmas Day in 1982 when she was 12 years outdated. The pair had met when he was a touring preacher and started preaching at her household’s church in Oklahoma.

She mentioned Morris and his spouse and younger son turned near her household and that he was staying at her home in 1982 when he requested her to come back to his room. He instructed her to put on his mattress after which started touching her inappropriately, mentioned Clemishire, now 52.

Gateway Church’s board of elders said in a statement, released onTuesday, that they’d accepted senior pastor Robert Morris’ resignation
Gateway Church’s board of elders mentioned in an announcement, launched onTuesday, that they’d accepted senior pastor Robert Morris’ resignation (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Clemishire mentioned the abuse continued till 1987, when she instructed her mother and father.

In a earlier assertion, Morris admitted the “innapropriate sexual behaviour” however insisted that he had not had intercourse with the younger lady.

“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,” he mentioned.

The board mentioned that earlier than Friday, they “did not have all of the facts of the inappropriate relationship between Morris and the victim, including her age at the time and the length of the abuse.”

They mentioned that their understanding of the “extramarital relationship” that Morris had mentioned many occasions all through his ministry was not that it was “abuse of a 12-year-old child.”

In his earlier assertion, Morris mentioned the household forgave him when the “situation” was “brought to light,” at which level he started receiving counseling.

“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 mentioned in his assertion, including he and his spouse met with the survivor and her household in 1989.

“I asked their forgiveness, and they graciously forgave me,” he mentioned.

Morris (left) was also a former member of former president Donald Trump’s faith advisory board
Morris (left) was additionally a former member of former president Donald Trump’s religion advisory board (AFP by way of Getty Images)

Clemishire instructed WFAA that although her household forgave him, they by no means supported Morris returning to the ministry.

“I think leaders can get caught up and think it’s our responsibility to protect God and it’s not. Our responsibility is to protect the people,” she added. “God is bigger than all of that.”

The church, based mostly within the Dallas suburb of Southlake, was based by Morris in 2000 and has a number of places within the space and says over 100,000 folks attend every weekend.

Morris, the founding pastor, has been politically lively. He was amongst these on former President Donald Trump’s evangelical advisory board. The Gateway Church hosted Trump on its Dallas campus in 2020 for a dialogue on race relations and the economic system.

Morris’ son, James Morris, is ready to take over his senior pastor duties in 2025, in keeping with the church’s web site. The elder Morris will stay a major speaker on weekends.

Morris’ confession comes after Dallas pastor Dr Tony Evans, 74, introduced he was leaving the Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, which he based in 1976.

Evans, who was the primary Black particular person to earn a doctorate of theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, introduced his resignation after he misplaced the mom of his 4 kids to bile duct most cancers in December 2019 and remarried a yr later.

He mentioned he had chosen to depart as a result of he had fallen wanting the “absolute supreme standard of truth” he aimed to stay “due to sin.”

He didn’t specify what the “sin” entailed, however added: “While I have committed no crime, I did not use righteous judgement in my actions.”