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Megachurch Pastor Robert Morris’ Lawyer Blames 12-Year-Old for Initiating ‘Inappropriate’ Sexual Behavior

The lawyer for disgraced Texas megachurch pastor Robert Morris has blamed his accuser for initiating their years of “inappropriate sexual contact” when she was just 12, newly released documents show.

Morris, the founder of Gateway Church in Southlake, resigned in June after admitting to “inappropriate sexual conduct” with Cindy Clemishire, whom he referred to as a “young lady,” even though she said she was still a teenager at the time.

Morris’ church leaders initially sided with him, and his lawyer placed blame on Clemishire when he threatened to sue Morris in 2007, according to correspondence from the time obtained by NBC News.

“It was your client,” attorney J. Shelby Sharpe wrote, referring to 12-year-old Clemishire, “who initiated inappropriate behavior by entering my client’s bedroom and getting into bed with him, which my client should not have allowed.”

Clemishire told NBC last week that she had sought $50,000 in compensation from Morris to cover counseling costs. Morris’s lawyer responded to her request by offering to pay her $25,000 if she signed a confidentiality agreement, which she refused.

Robert Morris, founder of Gateway Church in Southlake and former spiritual advisor to Donald Trump, resigned after being accused of molesting Cindy Clemishire when she was just 12 years old. The Gate Church

In an interview with NBC on Monday, Sharpe said he did not recall either the $25,000 settlement offer or the NDA request. He also said he no longer represented Morris, who was once a spiritual adviser to former President Donald Trump.

Sharpe also denied knowing that Clemishire was a child when Morris began engaging in sexual conduct with her, even though initial correspondence sent to him by her lawyer clearly stated that she was “twelve years old” when the abuse began.

“I don’t remember ever seeing anything like that,” Sharpe told NBC.

“I can tell you that the letters you saw speak for themselves,” Sharpe told the channel. “I won’t expand on them because they speak for themselves.”

Clemishire came forward with her allegations last month, telling Wartburg Watch that she was groomed for molestation by the pastor, which occurred from age 12 until she was 16 in the 1980s.

The elders say the sudden turn of events came after they learned the full allegations from accuser Cindy Clemishire. WFAA

Morris responded in a statement, admitting to “sexual misconduct” and saying he had long ago confessed and repented. While Gateway Church leaders initially stood by him, they later withdrew their support for Morris, saying they did not know the sexual relationship involved a child, and he resigned shortly thereafter.

“Unfortunately, prior to Friday, June 14, the elders did not know the full facts regarding the inappropriate relationship between Morris and the victim, including her age at the time and the duration of the abuse,” the Gateway church board said in a statement.

“The elders had previously determined that Morris’ extramarital relationship, which he repeatedly mentioned during his ministry, was with a “young lady” and not abuse of a 12-year-old child.

“Even though this happened many years before Gateway was founded, as church leaders we wish we had the information we have now.”

The board, which oversees one of the largest megachurches in the U.S. with 100,000 members, said the allegations left them “heartbroken and appalled” and apologized to Clemishire and her family.