Woman claims Gateway Church founder Robert Morris began sexually abusing her when she was 12

A woman has come forward, accusing the pastor of a well-known North Texas megachurch of sexual abuse.

The woman says Robert Morris, the founder and senior pastor at Gateway Church in Southlake, sexually abused her as a child for four years starting in 1982.

The woman, now 54, claims the abuse started when she was just 12 years old.

She shared her story with the online Christian publication The Christian Post, and confirmed to FOX 4 that the information she provided is correct.

"Most survivors come forward between the ages of 50 and 70," said Melanie Sakoda, a Survivors Support Coordinator with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

Sakoda says many survivors come forward to prevent what happened to them from happening to somebody else.

"I think the fact that Robert Morris is still in ministry is an incentive to come forward because what happened to her when she was young needs to be known," she said.

The woman says the abuse started when Morris was preaching at a local church in Oklahoma and was a guest at her home along with his wife and young child.

By the time she was 17 and told her parents what was happening, Morris was the pastor at Shady Grove Church, which is now the Gateway Church campus in Grand Prairie.

Pastor Robert Morris

Sakoda says the abuse should have been reported to law enforcement, and it's unclear if it ever was.

"First report to law enforcement because the best investigations of these types of crimes are done by secular authorities not by the church itself," she said.

According to The Christian Post article, the Gateway Church says after these allegations were brought to light 35 years ago, Pastor Morris stepped away from ministry for two years to receive counseling.

The statement has a quote from Pastor Morris that says in part, "while I was in my early 20s, I was involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with a young lady where I was staying. It was kissing and petting and not intercourse, but it was wrong."

According to the woman's account from the same article, it was more than kissing and petting.

"He called her a young lady, he didn’t acknowledge that she was 12, he said it was I recall ‘immoral feeling,’ this isn’t an immoral feeling," said Sakoda.

The woman declined to do an interview with FOX 4, but her attorney sent a statement on her behalf.

"For decades churches have ignored her disclosures while embracing, promoting, and endorsing this reported sexual offender as a man of God. She is encouraged that this darkness is finally finding light and is hopeful that other sexual abuse victims who may be suffering in silence will finally realize that they are not alone and be empowered to step forward," reads the statement.

"Don’t suffer alone and in silence, there are people who will believe you and support you, you just need to find the right people," said Sakoda.

Gateway Church opened its doors in 2000 and has grown into one of the largest church communities in the country, with nine campuses in Texas, one in Wyoming and another in Missouri. 

Every Sunday, a total of 100,000 worshipers attend services in the churches.

FOX 4 reached out to Gateway Church for an interview, and was told the church is not doing interviews or providing any additional statements at this time.

No criminal charges have been filed.