Controversy Continues at Gateway Church, Lawsuits Alleging Child Sexual Assault, Harassment Settled

SOUTHLAKE (WBAP/KLIF News ) – The controversy continues at Southlake’s Gateway Church weeks after its founding pastor Robert Morris resigned over the revelation of accusations of child sex abuse in the 1980s.

Court records show the megachurch settled two lawsuits in April and June of this year.

One suit filed in Tarrant County in 2020 alleged that a different case of sexual abuse involving a minor was covered up by several pastors.

The child’s mother filed the lawsuit which also claims pastors did not contact law enforcement, tried to discredit the allegations and encouraged an atmosphere of ostracization after she came forward with the accusations.

The church disputes claims that it tried to cover up the accusations or fail to report it to authorities, saying the incident did not happen on a Gateway campus or event but occurred between two teens during a sleepover at a family home.

The church states another teen told his mother, a Gateway staffer, about the incident and she reported to the “proper authorities within 48 hours.”

The other lawsuit filed in a Fort Worth federal court in 2023 claimed the church discriminated against an employee who alleged she was sexually harassed by her boss who told her “God have her cancer to teach her a lesson.”

The suit states the former employee started working at the church as an administrated assistant after finishing her cancer treatments.

She said she reported her boss’ alleged unwanted romantic advances to church leaders. Her lawsuit claims she was told not to be alone with the pastor and was pushed to apply for a more senior position.

She claims that when she was interviewing for a higher role, she was told that although qualified, the church wanted to hire a man because “our congregation responds better to men,” according to the lawsuit.

The woman said she did not get the job, was forced to continue to work with the pastor she reported and that the alleged harassment continued.

The pastor was eventually fired in 2021 and given two years salary as severance pay. The lawsuit states that the plaintiff was told the situation was her fault and she was offered six months severance payment if she would resign that day.

The plaintiff claims she was fired during a Zoom call a few months later.

Court records show church officials said the settlements were not admissions of wrongdoing.

The revelations are the latest development in the church’s scandalous saga since Morris’ accuser came forward.

In an interview with The Wartburg Watch in June, 54-year-old Cindy Clemshire of Oklahoma said Gateway Church Pastor Robert Morris started molesting her when she was twelve from 1982 to 1987.

In a statement issued after the story was published, Morris admitted to that he was “involved in an inappropriate sexual behavior with a young lady.” The statement did not reference the young girl’s age.

Morris stepped down as senior pastor shortly after Clemshire’s allegations went public.

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