Lawyer for megachurch pastor blamed 12-year-old for initiating ‘inappropriate’ sexual conduct
Date Shared: July 9th, 2024
Date Released: July 9th, 2024
Source: nbcnews.com

Excerpt


Letters sent in 2007 by a lawyer for Robert Morris shed light on how the pastor explained his past sexual behavior with a child — and who else might have known about it.

In 1982, pastor Robert Morris was a 21-year-old husband and father who traveled the country telling young people about Jesus.

Cindy Clemishire was a 12-year-old girl who dressed in flowery pink pajamas and still liked to play with Barbie dolls.

On Christmas that year, Morris — who would go on to found Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, and become a leading figure in the American evangelical movement — began what he would later describe as “inappropriate sexual behavior” with Clemishire while he was staying at her parents’ home in Oklahoma. Clemishire said Morris told her to come see him in his room before bed, and she was the type of girl who listened to instructions from trusted adults.

But 25 years later, when Clemishire hired an attorney and threatened to sue Morris, accusing him of repeatedly molesting her as a child, a lawyer representing Morris responded by blaming Clemishire for what happened to her, according to 2007 correspondence obtained by NBC News.

“It was your client,” wrote lawyer J. Shelby Sharpe, referring to Clemishire at age 12, “who initiated inappropriate behavior by coming into my client’s bedroom and getting in bed with him, which my client should not have allowed to happen.”

Related Profiles (3)


Cindy Clemishire

Woman says Gateway Church pastor Robert Morris first molested her when she was 12-years-old In a statement, Morris admitted to "inappropriate sexual behavior with a young lady" 35 years ago. A woman accuses Gateway Church pastor Robert Morris of first molesting her on Christmas in 1982, when she was 12-years-old.  Cindy Clemishire, the accuser, tells WFAA the abuse continued until 1987 when...

Gateway Church

Gateway Church is a non-denominational, evangelical Christianmulti-site megachurch based in Southlake, Texas, near Fort Worth.  In 2024, its founding pastor, Robert Morris, resigned after allegations of past sexual abuse of a minor.

James Shelby Sharpe

In 1982, pastor Robert Morris was a 21-year-old husband and father who traveled the country telling young people about Jesus. Cindy Clemishire was a 12-year-old girl who dressed in flowery pink pajamas and still liked to play with Barbie dolls. On Christmas that year, Morris — who would go on to found Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, and become a leading figure...