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Reporting the Truth.
Restoring the Church.

Robert Morris’ Son and 3 Other Elders Take Temporary Leave of Absence

By Sheila Stogsdill
james morris robert
Gateway Church Associate Senior Pastor James Morris pictured with his father, Robert Morris, inset photo. (Video screengrab)

Four Gateway Church elders, including Robert Morris’s son, have temporarily stepped down from their positions with the Dallas megachurch.

Gateway Church founder Robert Morris resigned from the church’s top position on June 18, following Cindy Clemishire’s bombshell allegations she was sexually abused by Morris in 1982 when she was 12 years old. 

Kevin Grove, Steve Dulin, Gayland Lawshe, and Pastor James Morris volunteered to take a temporary leave of absence, according to a June 28 statement on Gateway Church’s website.

The move follows the recommendation by Haynes & Boone, the law firm investigating the Morris allegations, that any elder with a potential conflict of interest step down temporarily. The recommendation applies to any elder related to Morris and elders who were on the Board from 2005 to 2007.

This is the time period when Clemishire says she reached out to Robert Morris and at least one Gateway elder about the alleged abuse, which Clemishire says began when she was only 12 years old.

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gateway church southlake
Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas. (Photo: social media)

As previously reported by The Roys Report (TRR), a 2005 telephone transcript obtained by media shows Robert Morris asked Clemishire how much money it would take to buy her silence. According to Clemishire, Gateway offered her $25,000 around this time to compensate her for years of counseling, but she refused.

Elders Grove, Dulin, and Lawshe were on the board from 2005—2007, but claim “they had no knowledge of the true facts of this situation,” the statement says.

James Morris, Gateway associate senior pastor, was not an elder from 2005— 2007 but is Robert Morris’s son and was set to assume the church’s top leadership position in 2025.

James Morris agreed to step down “to demonstrate his commitment to a truly independent and unbiased inquiry,” the statement says.

After Robert Morris’ resignation two weeks ago, Gateway’s elders released a statement, saying the elders believed Morris’ extramarital relationship, which he had discussed many times, was with “a young lady” and not a 12-year-old child.

News of Morris’ sexual misconduct reportedly first surfaced in 1987, when Morris was serving at Shady Grove Church, now Gateway Church-Grand Prairie Campus, and as an evangelist for James Robison’s ministry. Morris resigned from ministry at that time, but how long he remained out of ministry is disputed.

Morris claims he took a two-year hiatus from ministry from 1987—1989. However, a newspaper clipping shows that during the time of Morris’ alleged hiatus, he was holding revival services in Mississippi. 

Sheila Stogsdill is a freelance print journalist and digital reporter, primarily covering crime issues for KSN/KODE.

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38 Responses

  1. At present, is the Rev. Morris still associated with Gateway Church or any of their affiliated organizations in any manner at all?

    1. Benjamin, as evidenced by the illegal & immoral debacle that occurred when the abuse was UNCOVERED, we can see that all involved (pastors, elders, parents) colluded to evade the law, aid and abet the commission of VERY SERIOUS CRIMINAL acts, & enable sheer, black evil of the worst kind in order to “protect the ministry.” People need to stop elevating pastors and remember that the veil was TORN when Jesus died on the cross. Believers have direct access to God the Father, & our Advocate Jesus ever lives to intercede for us. Pastors are not Priests! We have DIRECT ACCESS.

      The ENTIRE paradigm in evangelical circles that devalues 50% of the human race and elevates the other 50% is nothing but filthy rags and rank sin. It has perpetrated heinous abuses of the worst kind for centuries. There are millions of males in pews and pulpits who would never darken the doors of a church if that church did not empower them to have control over the wives and children and an “elevated position.”It has nothing to do with the person of Jesus…his life, his example and his message. Jesus cautioned his own disciples,”Don’t be as the Gentiles, who lord it one over the other.” That admonition perfectly describes the entire Gentile church & explains the affinity they have demonstrated for slavery and the abuse of women since Jesus ascended. As long as there are “pastors” who preach and teach the devaluation of women, as Morris always has, these environments will be havens for the perverse, hiding under the cloak of “righteousness.” ANY expectation that these environments will experience actual repentance or a cleansing and turning that repentance ACTUALLY requires is….fantasy.

        1. No? Maybe not with his words. But his actions devalued women and children for the last 40 years.if it’s in secret does it not count as devaluation ? It may have never made a bullet point in his sermon … but Ive always believed that we preach the loudest to others in the way we live out scriptures in our everyday lives. Mr. Morris has been preaching quietly devaluation and abuse of women for decades.

        2. The church devalues women when it does not treat sexual abuse as serious sin and as a crime. Nothing has to be spoken from the pulpit. The behavior screams loudly that we aren’t valued.

        3. Unfortunately modelling Christ like behaviour is no longer regarded by some as a significant aspects to Christian education and discipling.
          Platform preaching and teaching at best is one dimensional.

        4. I too, have never heard Robert Morris teach or preach the devaluation of women. Why falsely escalate this with a lie?

          1. I mean, he only preached it … with his life. you know, when he molested a child for 4 years. you can only do that if you don’t value women. or children.

    2. Benjamin Wilson, this is difficult to answer because a number of Robert Morris’ family members remain on the Gateway Church Staff:

      Son: James Morris Senior Associate Pastor – on temporary leave due to investigation being completed by Haynes & Boone into sexual abuse allegations

      Daughter-in-Law: Bridgette Morris – Executive Pastor & Pastor of Gateway Women

      Son: Josh Morris – Executive Teaching Pastor

      Ethan Fisher: son-in-law married to daughter Elaine Morris was just recently removed as Senior Pastor at Gateway’s Houston Campus.

      Elaine Fisher – Location Leadership Pastor: Houston Campus – no written record I could find of her removal

      1. What happened to cause Ethan to be removed at Gateway Houston? I had not heard or seen that on any source.

    3. For what this is worth, Benjamin Wilson,

      Thurs July 4, 2024 – Just learning late this evening that there is a Pastor Robert Morris Ministries … which on July 3rd reportedly put up an announcement on their website, That All Future Robert Morris Radio & Television Broadcasts are Cancelled.

  2. You gotta feel bad for RM’s son, especially as he prepares to take a big leadership position at Gateway. I would far prefer that my father was a horse thief than a predator. While I have little inclination to worship in this type of mega church, I cannot see the church moving forward after this heinous scandal created entirely by the church’s founder.

  3. I think if Robert Morris wants to move forward in the Lord, 1. He needs to repent to God for his sin. 2. He needs to repent to Cindy Clemishire about his sin. 3. He needs to repent to his church communities about his sin including his family. 4. He needs to be honest in his repentance. No more young lady, a child he molested. No more for a time. State the time. 5. Repent of his lies about his restoration time. 6. Restitution time. Pay for the financial dues, counselling etc. 7. Own up to any other abuse 7. Look at King David’s repentance and punishment. Start the process of excommunication if he will not take any of the steps prescribed above. There are no signs of any repentance in the responses he has given so far. It is so obvious.

    1. Thank you Pastor John Kaptein for pointing out in a more black & white way that Robert Morris has yet to repent.

    2. 7. Look at King David’s repentance and punishment.

      Why? Mr. Morris isn’t an ancient Middle Eastern warlord. King David has absolutely nothing to do with him.

      Mr. Morris could try following Jesus. “Sell all you have and give to the poor, and come, follow me.”

      1. I remember Morris “admitting” on DayStar (worldwide) television to handing out 50 or 100 dollar bills to persons that he felt were “in need.” He said someone in his family suspected he was doing this and he felt the need to “admit to” his generosity (on television!) So much for “giving your alms before men.” That admission confirmed my already suspicion of him.
        As for him selling his belongings and giving to the poor, that would be an insurmountable task!

        1. ** He said someone in his family suspected he was doing this and he felt the need to “admit to” his generosity (on television!) **

          This seems to indicate a basic misunderstanding of the Gospel. Given his reported net worth of over $100 million, it would be difficult even to begin letting go, especially if a lot of the value is church property. Still, it would be worth a try, compared to looking at King David as an example.

  4. The Church should always remember that we should not trust in man but only in the Lord. We should never follow another man but only the Lord.
    “Thus says the Lord, cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
    Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord.
    The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick. Who can understand it?“
    Jeremiah 17:5,7,9

  5. The entire Morris family needs to depart the family business PERMANENTLY. A professional management firm should be hired to operate the church for six months. Immediately all campuses should be divested from the mothership and become independent churches. Then start a
    Pastor search and elect all new elders from the congregation. The pastor doesn’t run the church , the elders do. Pay the victim reasonable restitution. Change the constitution to bar former elders or Morris family members from leadership roles. Publicly and formally denounce Robert Morris as a sexual predator and pedophile that is legally trespassed from all campuses for the safety of children . As a Christian community defund and leave any church or organization that defends him or has him speak consult etc. Boycott any publishers that do not pull his books .

  6. They only stepped away from the “board”. They still have all the same responsibilities and duties. Still have the same oversight of the ministries and staff they had before. This is just for looks.

    1. Thanks for the comment, James. Not many people realize this. It’s simply window dressing. They still get their paychecks and show up to work, they are simply not taking part in the board/elder meetings.

  7. Ministry needs to be above reproach in every way. Ministers should not only never do any such things, there should never be a doubt raised as to the possibility. If you make it your life’s mission to never be alone with a female, you won’t even be subject to a false accusation. That’s what we want! Please show me the list of women who’ve accused Billy Graham of sexual sin. You can’t! It doesn’t exist. His ministry set itself apart by choice. Because of the choices they made, no hush money was paid, no crime was committed and no shame painted us all. Can’t we follow this pattern? Why not?

    1. “No shame painted us all,” except for shame automatically cast on everyone through being seen as potential abusers or seducers with that mindset.

    2. Two articles down from this one is the story of an abusive youth pastor who “left Fort Worth church in 2015 after refusing to abide by a church policy prohibiting unsupervised contact with youth.”

      A person who is willing to disobey the Ten Commandments, the New Testament law of love, and the explicit commands of Christ regarding moral purity is not going to be held back by the extra-biblical “Billy Graham Rule”. That person has a heart to defy rules in pursuit of their own desires, no matter how many rules are applied.

      If the Graham ministry was indeed free of sexual sin, it was because he and his ministers chose daily to maintain their commitment to the clear commands of Christ, not because of yet another rule.

      Moreover, the statement that “If you make it your life’s mission to never be alone with a female, you won’t even be subject to a false accusation” implies that the problem is false accusations by women, when the problem–as shown repeatedly in the articles at this site–is clearly abuse by men.

    3. Billy had a different, far less obvious, set of sins. In his case he made a fortune and became a multi-millionaire by selling books with his name on the cover. However, that name is misleading and a lie. Clear evidence shows he actually wrote none of them. Instead he hired ghost writers who did all of the actual work and got none of the credit. This is not the way the Kingdom of God operates, but the Devil’s kingdom. He gave no credit to anyone else even though it was people on his staff, paid hourly or by salary, who typed them up, edited them, made suggestions, and likely the only thing Billy did was scan through early versions and suggest changes. Billy kept all of the excess mammon from the sales. There is no evidence I am aware of that he shared a percentage with the ghost writers, editors, or secretaries who actually did 99.9% of the work on the books. I have little respect for this man because of this. His greed was better hidden than those of the prosperity heresy.

    4. if you make it your life’s mission to never be alone with a woman, you have reduced half of the literal Body of Christ to being only a temptation or a threat. Men without self control make the Body of Christ a quadraplaegic, instead of recognizing their co-laborers in Christ as full human beings capable of ministry and gifting and service.

      It’s gross. It was gross when Billy Graham did it, and it’s gross that christian men today are arrogant enough to think that their “calling” is more important than their sisters in Christ.

      grow some self control and character. If you don’t have it, you have no business being in leadership and no amount of rules would keep you from abusing people.

  8. Satan is using this to destroy so much incredible ministry. He waited until the most people would be hurt. I believe Robert Morris has sincerely repented, been forgiven by God and God has used him mightily since. All forget how young he was too, yes it was wrong on the highest level. Pray for him, his family, the church, etc. and pray the messages of truth and wisdom are never lost. Let he who is without sin throw the first stone.

    1. Let me get this straight: what you are claiming is that Morris “got saved,” became a professional minister, then proceeded to MOLEST A 12 YEAR OLD CHILD for over 4 years, lied about her age, went through some ultimately vague “restoration” and now he is good. Unlike my brother, he did not go to police, confess, and do his 5 years hard time. What kind of Jesus Christ do you claim to serve? Sure looks like the Devil’s words you are speaking here. You trample down the words of Paul in Timothy and Titus regarding leadership qualifications. You trample down Jesus’ own words about a millstone hung around Morris’ neck so he can get the east coast mafia cement shoe treatment. Shame on you! What an outrage every time I read a comment like your piece of white-washed septic tank view! How dare you throw out justice while you worship at the altar of this heretic CHILD MOLESTER! What are you anyway? A sex offender yourself?

      1. Amen, Ralph!
        If we had more people speaking truth in the same way Paul does to Elymas in Acts 13 and Peter does to Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8 (and to Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5) then we wouldn’t be in this shameful mess.

        Unfortunately there aren’t enough people indwelt by the Holy Spirit of Truth (i.e Christians by definition: John 14:16-17, Romans 8:9) who have apostle-like boldness and the pure love of God to do so.

    2. Krys McLean:
      GO AND SIN NO MORE.
      That’s what Jesus also said in the passage you make reference to.

      I suggest people read, pray over and honestly try to understand Matthew 1:21 and how it relates to John 8:34-36, Romans 6 and 1st John chapter 3 because too many are misrepresenting Christ by misrepresenting why he came.
      It was NOT to give determinedly wicked people a “get out of Hell free” card!
      His very NAME means rescuer, deliverer, loosener.
      From what?
      From Satan, sin and spiritual death! In THIS life. Acts 26:18.

    3. “Would someone please think of the ministry!” Shouts the brain washed Christian from the pews as the church burns down around them.

  9. Krys,

    Sorry, Robert Morris wasn’t a member of the laity, nor a teenager messing around with another similarly-aged teen. He was a married 20something minister praying upon a pre-teen turned teen. He was even entrusted with operating revivals under the auspices of Rev. James Robison.

    Morris certainly has no place in a church’s pulpit per the New Testament’s Pauline epistles, whether he’s personally repented or not.

  10. This comment isn’t about Robert Morris; if he had repented he wouldn’t look to buy Cindy’s silence, he would invite her to speak at his church. My comment has to do with the fallen who are ministers and continuing in ministry. Seems like over half the stories on the Roys Report have to do with sexual sins of ministers, much of it abuse and often with underage girls and boys. Where is the line of when a minister who commits sexual sin can find forgiveness in the church and continue to minister? Before he’s a minister? If it’s with another consenting adult? When he repents and is transparent? When it’s with a minor or a non-consenting adult, or when he repents only after he’s exposed, is that permanently disqualifying? I’m not familiar with his ministry, but was there nothing of God in Morris’ ministry in the years since as the church grew? And how consistent are our standards for forgiveness for sins other than sexual? They’re questions I struggle with, I was molested as my first sexual experience, and still believe that the grace of God is able to conform the worst of us to Christ and to minister Him to others.

    1. Look to the clear qualifications for Elders (leaders of all types) that you can find in Titus and 1 Timothy. When people disqualify themselves (most important point here) they are disqualified. Period. Forever. These are primarily about the acts one does AFTER they claim to have converted. Included in these two lists are something called “must have a good reputation with OUTSIDERS.” A leader who abuses, like the man who discipled me who later seduced the wife of his ex-roommate and fellow police staff sergeant in the same city while they were divorcing, is permanently disqualified. He repented and remained a Christian, but there is nothing in scripture that supports the idea of a man who intentionally wrecked his own reputation from returning to ministry. Look to the Bible please for your answers for the rest of us have a confusing set of answers that do not agree with each other and many times, the Bible.

      1. Man, that story about the guy who discipled you, that’s crazy, sounds like something from a true crime show. Thanks for raising the considerations you did, but I wonder if the qualifications for elders applies across the board. Elders are appointed by men, Bible says apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are given by Christ to equip the saints for ministry to build up the body. I’m with you in that the sin one embraces affects their ministry even with repentance, while a believer who repents still finds salvation. How that fits with the current wave of ministers sinning sexually I’m not sure. So many prominent pastors have fallen sexually with children, in the history of the church is there anything comparable? Some ways it seems like a product of the times we live in. It sure damages the witness of Christ and the testimony of the church in the eyes of the world. Not it sure it answers the question tho. In any case, thanks for replying.

  11. When I fasten my seatbelt, it’s not an act of distrusting myself or other drivers. It’s just common sense. There are many, many ministers who regret placing themselves in a compromising situation. Their lives and ministries are ruined. You want Scripture? Avoid every appearance of evil. An overseer must be above reproach.
    Name me one minister who has crossed the finish line, having maintained a life of integrity, who wishes he had gone more often into situations ripe for trouble. Then ask him to count how many of his friends’ lives and ministries were shipwrecked during his lifetime.

    1. Morris didn’t find himself in a compromising situation because he had poor boundaries. He planned it. He asked a 12 year old girl to come see him in his room later.

      I would argue that any pastor that abuses people in their congregation won’t be stopped by arbitrary rules, like the Billy Graham Rule- they’ll just find ways to look like they’re complying, which working out the evil intentions of their heart.

      it’s not circumstance that create these issues- it’s much more fundamental. it’s premeditated, and manipulated. A man of good character who wants to do good, will do good, just as a man intending to do evil will invite a 12 year old to his room.

      all these superficial rules do is degrade the way men see women- and turns them into merely threats or temptations, instead fully human co-laborers with Christ.

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