Robert Morris Gateway Church

Rick Warren Condemns Robert Morris Over Child Sexual Abuse Allegations

Prominent Christian author and former Saddleback Chuch pastor Rick Warren has publicly denounced Robert Morris, former pastor of Gateway Church, following allegations that Morris sexually abused a 12-year-old girl in the 1980s. The scandal has led to Morris’s resignation and sparked a wider controversy within the Christian community.

In a scathing post on social media platform X, Rick Warren expressed his outrage over the allegations against Morris. “I’m angry & disgusted to hear of Robert Morris’ sexual abuse of a child & heartbroken for Cindy Clemishire,” Warren stated. He emphasized the severity of the accusations, adding, “To sexually use a 12 yr old child, then continue it for yrs, is not merely an ‘inappropriate relationship.’ It’s a crime.”

The fallout from the scandal has been swift and far-reaching. Daystar Television Network announced the removal of all of Morris’ programming from its network. In a statement, Daystar said, “We are deeply grieved and saddened by the recent and very serious allegations against Pastor Robert Morris involving the sexual abuse of a 12-year-old minor.”

Morris, 62, initially described the incident as “inappropriate sexual behavior with a young lady” in a statement to The Christian Post. He claimed the behavior involved “kissing and petting and not intercourse” and occurred over several years during his 20s. Morris stated that he had confessed, repented, and sought counseling when the situation came to light in 1987.

However, the victim, Cindy Clemishire, now 54, has disputed parts of Morris’s account. Through her attorney, Boz Tchividjian, Clemishire stated that she had informed Gateway Church about the abuse as early as 2005. “Former Gateway elder, Tom Lane, received and responded to my email, acknowledging that the sexual abuse began on December 25, 1982, when I was 12 years old,” Clemishire said.

Gateway Church has faced criticism for its handling of the situation. Initially, church elders described Morris’s actions as a “moral failure” that occurred before he founded the church. However, after Morris’s resignation, the church issued a second statement claiming they were unaware of the full scope of the allegations. “The elders’ prior understanding was that Morris’s extramarital relationship, which he had discussed many times throughout his ministry, was with ‘a young lady’ and not [the] abuse of a 12-year-old child,” the statement read.

The controversy has raised questions about accountability and transparency in religious institutions. Rick Warren emphasized the need for legal consequences, stating, “Sexual child abuse is an evil punishable by law. One can’t just confess when caught & move on with no consequences.”

As the scandal continues to unfold, Gateway Church elders have launched an investigation into the claims against their former leader. The case highlights ongoing concerns about how religious organizations handle allegations of sexual abuse and the importance of protecting vulnerable individuals within faith communities. The wider implications of this scandal may lead to increased scrutiny and calls for reform in how churches address and prevent such incidents in the future.

Read more at CBN News.


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