Did Pastor Robert Morris Abuse 12-Year-Old Cindy Clemishire?

Robert Morris, the senior pastor of Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, is facing allegations of sexual abuse from Cindy Clemishire. Clemishire, now 54, claims Morris abused her for years, starting when she was just 12. In a startling turn, Morris’ former attorney, J. Shelby Sharpe, suggested that Clemishire was partly to blame for the abuse.

Sharpe, who also served as an attorney for former Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson, wrote to Clemishire’s lawyer in 2007, implying that Clemishire’s actions were inappropriate. He claimed that she climbed into Morris’ bed, which led to the abuse. “It was your client who initiated inappropriate behavior by coming into my client’s bedroom and getting in bed with him,” Sharpe wrote.

The letter came to light in a 2007 correspondence, which NBC News recently cited. At the time, Clemishire sought $50,000 from Morris to cover her counseling costs.

Gentner Drummond, then-Clemishire’s attorney and now Oklahoma’s attorney general, confirmed the authenticity of the correspondence but refrained from further comment.

Sharpe, who no longer represents Morris, has since claimed he does not recall the settlement offer and denied knowing Clemishire was a child during the initial abuse. “I don’t ever remember seeing that,” he stated when reminded of the letter.

This case highlights the ongoing struggle for justice faced by many abuse survivors and raises questions about accountability within religious institutions.

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