Elders at Gateway Church in the Dallas area claim that until recently, they didn’t know the woman with whom Robert Morris had a “moral failing” in the 1980s was only 12 years old. However, emails released today by the attorney for the alleged victim, Cindy Clemishire, call that claim into question.

Tom Lane Gateway

Former Gateway Elder Tom Lane (Source: Facebook)


Cindy Clemishire (Courtesy Photo)

Clemishire claims Morris molested her over a four-year period in the 1980s, beginning when she was 12 years old. On Tuesday, four days after Clemishire’s claims became public, Morris resigned from Gateway Church, a multi-site megachurch in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“Men that have over 100 counts of child molestation go to prison,” wrote Clemishire in a September 20, 2005, email to Robert Morris. “Men who pastor churches that have over 100 counts of child molestation go to prison and pay punitive damages. You have not had to do either. I do not believe that is fair or right.”

Though the 2005 email accusing Morris of child molestation was sent only to Morris, an earlier email from Clemishire to Morris’ same email account was answered by Tom Lane, former Gateway executive senior pastor and elder.

In an April 13, 2005, email, Lane explains to Clemishire: “Your email came to me because it was sent to the general email address for Robert and not his personal email.”

The Roys Report (TRR) reached out to Lane’s lawyer, David Joe, for comment, and Richard Harmer, who said he’s a representative of Tom Lane, responded.

Harmer initially said in 2005, Lane had access to Morris’ email account but did not see the email from Clemishire accusing Morris of child molestation.

TRR later spoke directly with Lane, who said all the emails sent to Morris’ general email went to Morris’ assistant, Judy Woodliff, who is no longer alive. Lane said Woodliff would sometimes forward emails to him to answer. Lane said he did not receive the 2005 email from Clemishire, claiming Morris had molested her as a child.

In a statement posted on Instagram today, Lane further said that in 2005, he believed “Pastor Robert had a consensual extramarital affair, not the sexual abuse of a 12-year-old child.”

Lane told TRR he thought Clemishire was 16 to 18 years old when she was sexually involved with Morris. Morris was married and between 21 and 25 years old when the alleged abuse occurred, though Lane said he had thought Morris was only 19 when the misconduct occurred.

When we asked whether Lane knew what the age of consent was at the time in Oklahoma and Texas, where the alleged abuse occurred, Lane replied, “I had no idea.”

The age of consent in Texas 1982, when the alleged abuse began, was 17. The age of consent in Oklahoma was 16.

The 2005 emails between Clemishire, Morris, and Lane were sent to TRR this afternoon by Attorney Basyle Tchividjian, who represents Clemishire.

They show that Clemishire reached out to Morris sometime before April 11, 2005, and Lane responded.

“First, I wanted to let you know that Robert has been completely open with the Elders of Gateway Church about his past and specifically about his indiscretion with you,” Lane wrote.

“. . . At the time of the indiscretion, Robert submitted to a two year process that included stepping out of vocational ministry. This healing process included meeting with you and your parents to ask forgiveness. He undertook other steps as he was directed by the Elders of Shady Grove Church (now Gateway Church—Grand Prairie Campus).”

Lane concludes his email by stating that “Robert and (his wife) Debbie have done what they can to help you heal. Our church believes in healing, forgiveness, and restoration of all individuals. . . . Please let me know if Gateway Church and its Elders can help you find healing in any way.”

On September 9, 2005, Clemishire wrote to Morris’ same general email address: “I am giving you one last chance to call me. You really have no idea how devastating it will be if you don’t. I don’t want Tom or anyone els (sic) to contact me. This is your issue not his.”

On September 20, 2005, Morris asks what Clemishire wants and adds: “(Y)ou said that I have no idea how devastating it will be if I don’t contact you. What does that mean?”

Clemishire responds the same day:

Men that have over 100 counts of child molestation go to prison. Men who pastor churches that have over 100 counts of child molestation go to prison and pay punitive damages. You have not had to do either. I do not believe that is fair or right. You have had almost no consequences for your actions. I have suffered almost my entire life from the emotional damage you inflicted on me. If you want to know what I want, call me. Otherwise, I will proceed with what has been advised.

Twenty-three years after you began destroying my life, I am still dealing with the pain and damage you caused. I want some type of restitution. Pray about it and call me.


Email Thread Between Cindy Clemishire, Tom Lane & Robert Morris:

picture caption: Emails released today show Gateway Church elders knew of molestation charges against Pastor Robert Morris in 2005. (Source: Facebook)

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