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June 10th, 2012
02:07 PM ET

Megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar on his daughter: 'She was not punched'

By Steve Almasy, CNN

Atlanta (CNN) - Telling thousands of parishioners that he should never have been arrested, Pastor Creflo Dollar said at his Sunday morning service he neither choked nor punched his 15-year-old daughter, as she claimed in a report to police.

Dollar, senior pastor of World Changers Church International in suburban Atlanta, told congregants in the sprawling megachurch and listening at one of more than a dozen satellite churches that when the facts of the case come out, they will be "appalled."

"The truth is, she was not choked. She was not punched," Dollar said.

On Friday, deputies responding to a 911 call photographed a scratch on the daughter's neck and arrested Dollar on charges of simple battery, family violence and child cruelty. Dollar said the mark on his daughter's neck is more than 10 years old, the result of eczema, a skin condition.

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"I want the church family to know that all is well in the Dollar household," he said, in his first public comments since spending more than 12 hours in jail. He immediately addressed the issue upon taking the pulpit Sunday, speaking for nearly eight minutes about the challenge of raising children and denying he had hurt to his daughter.

After Dollar told the crowd about the skin abrasion, one man yelled, "Case dismissed!"

Dollar's daughter said she argued with her father over attending a party, investigator Brent Rowan of the Fayette County Sheriff's Office told CNN on Friday.

Rowan said the daughter told the deputies that her father charged her, put his hands around her throat and began to choke her, according to a police report. She said he then slammed her to the ground, punched her and beat her with his shoe.

Deputies also spoke with another daughter, 19, who corroborated her sister's account of what happened.

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Dollar blamed the devil for causing the controversy, saying that to discredit his message of "prosperity gospel," the enemy must discredit the messenger.

Prosperity ministers preach that God rewards the faithful with wealth and spiritual gifts. Pastors such as T.D. Jakes, Dollar and Joel Osteen have become the Prosperity Gospel's most well known preachers, building megachurches and business empires with a message equating piety with prosperity.

Dollar's church claims about 30,000 members and has an $18 million, 8,500-seat sanctuary about 15 miles from downtown Atlanta.

Friday's incident was emotionally charged and escalated from an argument, Dollar said Sunday. But he never intended bodily harm to anyone, he assured the audience.

"I love her with all my heart," he said, shaking his head with conviction.

Creflo Dollar's Prosperity Gospel finds followers and critics

He cited a Bible verse from Psalms that talks about malicious witness against the good man, and evil men delighting when he stumbled.

He later, during his sermon, also joked about the arrest, saying that being a religious man sent to jail "upped my resume."

"Paul ... Jesus ... and Creflo," he said to a huge cheer.

The pastor, known for his pinstriped suits, laughed at being clothed in a yellow jumpsuit and sandals while being handcuffed and being held in a cell.

For most of the service, Dollar spoke of the people being "the righteousness of God by faith," the third in a series of sermons he prepared weeks ago, he said.

"No weapon that forms against you shall prosper," he reminded the audience, citing scripture.

At the end of the more than hourlong appearance, he said that he was persevering thanks to God's love.

"And we couldn't do it without the love of you brothers and sisters."

After the service, congregants declined to comment on Dollar's appearance.

Since he started his ministry in an elementary school cafeteria in 1986, Dollar has earned praise and criticism.

Supporters say he has preached a message that's financially empowered his parishioners and challenged the idea that Christians should be ashamed to be rich.

Critics call him "Cash-Flow Dollar," and say his message perverts the Gospel.

CNN's John Murgatroyd and John Blake contributed to this report.

- Producer/Writer

Filed under: Christianity • Church

soundoff (2,056 Responses)
  1. GP

    Folks....watch out ....Jon O knows all......blowhard

    June 10, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Jon O

      What's it like being a hypocrite?

      You get to spout off all your ignorant nonsense but no one else does?

      June 10, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Jon O

      But you're right, asking these ignorant "Christians" who are using the Bible to validate violence against children why they don't live up to the rest of what the Bible commands is wrong of me.

      Everyone knows you get to pick the parts of the Bible that are convenient to you only and discard the rest.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • GP

      Jon O....READ my posts (if that is possible)....never quoted the bible...only provided my opinion...which in your warped mind has no validity if it does not agree with yours – as, jjughead, you have proven in your responses to others....go back to your Archie Bunker chair, bend forward.....and cry at what you have not been given.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • me

      Jon O, (although, thank to Freedom of Speech), have allowed his liberal left-wing mind to control his brain.

      June 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  2. Lady

    It's tough having to face your congregation after something like this but then again how many people accused of a crime get a pulpit within 48 hrs from which to preach their innocence? Thoughts?

    June 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      God I have sinned against you! (more visine, more visine!)

      June 10, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Brainwashed

      The people at his church are brainwashed, they gave him a Standing Ovation!! Blind leading the Blind kindof scary really that so many freaks out n about!!

      June 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Writer Girl

      Maybe the truly innocent?? I know a man whos daughter got angry with him and accused him and he spent 10 years in jail and later said to a friend it wasnt true. How many innocent people are in jail? The football player that was just released recently? How many know CNN and Fox are manipulaters of Facts?? Left and Right?? How many know there are small town cops that are run amok with power and prejudices?

      June 10, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  3. uponthisrock

    "Christianity is not a reilgion. "Christian"..means Christ follower and until someone knows enough about following(believing) in Christ and they try to explain it they are like a Plumber trying to do brain surgery or vice versa. Strange that Jesus would
    tell His followers "In this World ye shall have many tribulations, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the World."

    June 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • sally

      Uhhh...It's totally a religion, Einstein. Do you understand the definition of the word "religion"?

      June 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  4. Cnn, always half the story!

    From Yahoo News!!
    The report said the deputy also interviewed Dollar's 19-year-old daughter, who said her father grabbed her sister's shoulders and slapped her in the face and choked her for about five seconds. She said her sister tried to break free, but did not fight back. When her father threw the 15-year-old on the floor, the older girl ran to get her mother. Dollar's wife, Taffi, told the deputy she did not see the fight.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • GP

      Taffi does not want to lose her power and lavish lifestyle

      June 10, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Fritz Hohenheim

      Ahh, you know, the devil made her say that 🙂

      June 11, 2012 at 1:57 am |
    • Janet

      I find it difficult to believe that a violent fight was going on in her home & she didn't hear it, then again her home is so large. Perhaps she was at the other end of the mansion instead of the parents handling this one together. Teens can lie. Some pastors have been proven to be abusers. I really don't think that both children would lie though.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  5. Come on CNN please report all facts not just what you want!

    From Yahoo News!!
    The report said the deputy also interviewed Dollar's 19-year-old daughter, who said her father grabbed her sister's shoulders and slapped her in the face and choked her for about five seconds. She said her sister tried to break free, but did not fight back. When her father threw the 15-year-old on the floor, the older girl ran to get her mother. Dollar's wife, Taffi, told the deputy she did not see the fight.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  6. StarLyte

    I don't believe he's telling the truth. His explanation is weak and he's using an old blame tactic–blame the police for being stupid and unintelligent for not knowing an old wound vs a fresh wound and blame the media for blowing this thing up to more than what it is. Both of his daughter said he punched and choked her.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  7. anti

    And this: the idea that teenage girls "whimsically" file police reports about gentle, good-natured and just plain old wonderful christian parents after 1am in the morning is completely ridiculous. If that were common, then every weekend teenage girls all over America would be filing hundreds of thousands of false police reports over nothing at all. This must be a rampant epidemic! And they always wait till sometime after 1am to do it, because thats what teenage girls do to "get even".

    June 10, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • sally

      He was probably drunk to boot.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Jessica W

      my teenage daughter told her therapist that i busted her in the head with a brick. she said this right in front of me, and when she saw the look on my face, she started laughing. sometimes when kids can't have their way, they are not above lying on their parents to get even. i guess kids don't ever end up killing their own parents either. it's all the parents fault right?

      June 10, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  8. keith

    well I am sorry but my bible gives me the right to wip my childern and don't care what the law says.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • God is Law

      Amen Brother

      June 10, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Jon O

      Your Bible also order you to murder any woman who isn't a virgin when she gets married.

      Please tell me how many you've killed since you're so loyal to your bible?

      June 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Jon O

      And unless you're a Jew you default to the New Testament, so how about some examples of Jesus' teachings...

      So it should be fun watching you try to balance out the totally opposite personalities of Christ and the Old Testament God.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Give me amen

      Clearly you were either thrown out of school or were beaten so hard by your God fearing parents that you stopped learning. You ARE the problem with society. You're also the some fool that blames everyone else for your shortcomings. Dolt

      June 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • anti

      Keith, have you ever done any open non-biased research into how your "bible" was created? It was not created by a god, it was created by a group of men at the Council of Nicea around 314ce. I'm sure you are going to call me a liar now, a devil, etc. That is an established historical fact. It is also an established and historical fact that the many books of the bible, especially the New Testament, have been redacted (thats a fancy word for "edited" btw) many times. It has been demonstrated over and over again that the bible is not a work of any god. It is the work of men, who injected the common practices of their world and culture from the time they lived in.

      Can you comprehend this? I don't want you to believe me, I want you to do some serious soul-searching and research the history. I want you to prove the entire academic establishment wrong with what you find! I want you figure this out on your own, because you and all of the others reading this who believe they are christians have deceived yourselves.

      Here is a typical fact you will find:

      Did you know that the town of Nazareth didn't even exist until the 13th century? It's true! During the crusades the church went searching for this town to put a shrine there, and they were dismayed that there never was a Nazareth! So what did they do? They created a town they called Nazareth. True story.

      That's the kind of bs and false history that your religion has scrambled your mind and your life with. It's that same scrambled logic that gives goons and abusive people like the pastor being discussed here, the idea that they are somehow justified in doing harm to others. It's wrong. You need to realize that.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Janet

      The bible I study & the Christ I follow teach that Christians are supposed to be engaged in teaching the gospel, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son...so the world could be saved...not to condemn the world. Also that we should be engaged in the much needed humanitarian work like feeding the hungry, housing the poor, whether they want to hear the gospel or not. Also that Christians should be using their knowledge to heal the sick & resurrect the dead. How come so many so-called Christians hop on the whipping your children & butchering the unbelievers podium.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  9. Name*Janice Sebea

    I stand by the Pastor. Children around this age get real sassy and disobedient. He is a man of God but he also has to raise his daughter in the way he see fit. Im sure if it happen again he wouldn't change a thing. Maybe she would.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Jon O

      Please do provide specific New Testament passages where Jesus says to use violence.

      I'll be waiting.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Jon O

      How are those passages coming?

      June 10, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Janice, I think you meant to say you kneel in front of the pastor so he can use the top of your head for the collection tray.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • anti

      Of course you will stand by this pastor, because he's openly lying and you feel so much guilt about the things you have done wrong in your own life that you empathize with this man. If you have children, I'm absolutely positive that you beat them as well, and justify it as "discipline" because you are too lazy to either learn how to be a better parent or to get some counseling for your abuse issues.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Not A Creflo Fan

      To Jon O – In response to your request ....New Testament provides an account of Jesus twining rope and whipping the money changers in the temple. I'm not astute enough to be able to quote book, chapter, and verse, but if you're really interested, you could google it.

      I believe that Jesus preached and taught love and forgiveness, but he clearly demonstrated that there is a time when violence is necessary. Now, do I think abuse is acceptable....ABSOLUTELY NOT....however, I do believe that there are times when physical intervention is necessary.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Jon O

      If you assert that Jesus=God, then Jesus wrote the OT passages too.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Sorry, Jon O... reading your other posts, I see that we agree about the non-agreement of the OT and the NT and the contortions which Christians perform trying to make it so.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • me

      I don't know what Bible you are reading.

      June 10, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Janet

      Shouldn't children be raised not to be this way? Isn't it possible to raise them to respect their parents at this age? Too many people get angry & violent when they can't have their way whether it's a boss, a spouse, a child, a parent, a friend, etc. I thouht the main point of the bible is love. I believe that children are copying the parents behavior. The parents probably talk to each other a certain way when they don't get what they want & the children pick up this behavior.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  10. Writer Girl

    Wow!! The Bullies are on a rampage here today!! Attack anyone who does not agree with you!! Lets see you pride yourself on being so diverse by talking so single minded!! There is no such thing as individuality here is there?

    June 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Jake L

      Yes, we should totally nod and smile while grown adults beat up children.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Kevin W. Clark

      what exactly does "individuality" have to do with believing or not believing that this POS beat the tar out of a little girl? You are either on one side or the other, you believe it happened or you don't. Either side could be said to be "following the herd", since there are only really two sides and no room for creativity, or whatever you are blathering about. Are you heavily medicated or something?

      June 11, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  11. Oh how lovely

    That's really funny Matt. . . . . . You little space ninja you.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  12. Mr. Reason

    He just didnt want her to go to a filthy party. Is there anything wrong with that???

    June 10, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Jon O

      Wait, so now you know the details of the party?

      Please do explain where you get your information...

      But don't worry, GP is a champion of integrity – he'll take your side. He's great with generalizations and assumptions.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Abdullah

      Oh, you fine American!! Speak sense!! I choke and beat my kids with whatever is closest when they disobey!! It is the only right thing to do!! We not so different!! Praise Allah!!

      June 10, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Kevin W. Clark

      yeah, my son wanted to go to his friend's 11th birthday party...I hit that little brat in the melon with a brick. No kid of mine is going to some filthy birthday party with his little friends. /sarcasm off

      June 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Janet

      So a parent-child relationship is ruined & a ministry destroyed because of a party. Humm! If the party was that good perhaps he should've let her go. Maybe this was a Christian party with a bunch of teens who were going to play bible trivia, drink herbal tea & remain at least 3 feet away from each other at all times. Maybe she wanted to go there to get her mojo on. Whatever, it surely wasn't worth doing that much damage to the relationship. Or has he been an abusive father all along with a zombie, programmed wife?

      June 15, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  13. GP

    Jon O -– loser...nothing to say but to dump on others.......is it possible for you to make even one sensible statement – doubt it....poor Jon O...must be lonely to have so little intelligence.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • GP

      Jon O...before you reply....hahahahaha

      June 10, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Jon O

      Awww, someone is sad because he came to a story about a black man and played the race card, like every other generic right-wing bigot, and got called out for it.

      Move along, silly little man.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Question

      Does GP stand for gay penetration?

      June 10, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • GP

      Jon O – did not play any race card....simply asked why these guys have an apparent double standard......nice of you to hide behind the internet with your paltry comments,,,,must be dealing with some other inefficiency....meet you anywhere buck

      June 10, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Jon O

      What is the double standard then? Be specific.

      Did they weigh in on the Florida Bath Salts Cannibal, he was black too...

      Why didn't you ask where the Catholic Church is on the topic? As fellow Christians they should be weighing in, right? Using your logic?

      Keep on trying to dig out of your hole, silly little man.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Kevin W. Clark

      Frankly, GP loses just for the complete lack of skill in trolling employed here. Also, points to Jon for being classier and savvier than to take the bait.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  14. salman

    is this guy a pastor or a pimp.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Kevin W. Clark

      is there a difference? Not in my eyes...

      June 11, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  15. Lady

    Question for anyone; What do you think would be the reaction, from the Pastor and from his followers, if pictures are released backing up his daughter's claims? Also, why has no one asked about the 19 year old daughter who agreed with her sister's claims?

    June 10, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • me

      There will not be any reaction. He has the parental duty and responsibility to discipline his kids, provided it is child abuse. You must understand that black parents hold that responsibility close to heart.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Jon O

      " You must understand that black parents hold that responsibility close to heart."

      You know what, I'm a liberal...

      But you "black people" might want to change the way they do things seeing as how the dropout rate for their kids, the arrest rate for black youth, etc, is higher than any other racial group in America.

      You only get to defend your actions when you can point to reality and say "see, it works."

      Come back when that's the case.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • MalB

      Lady what if he had let her go to this party and then pictures showed up on the net with her in some compromising position what would you all be saying about the father, he been a christian and a pastor at that??

      June 10, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  16. me

    I am not a supporter of "Cash-Flow Dollar". However, I do not believe for a minute he choked her. That is cops BS. Why does every DV results in and charged as "choking"? Could it be because there was never a physical contact? I do believe that mark on her neck (if any) is a pre-existing mark that has been there for years. These cops are not trained to identify pre-existing marks that are caused by such skin infection as eczema, bumps scratches pimples etc. My ex-wife had the same problem. This is inexperienced cops BS.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • YoungWoman

      The sister collaborated the story. There is no way the two sisters could have just thought of the same story. The one sister/daughter who was attacked ran from the house and called the police.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Break

      With no pictures or evidence besides a written article on the Internet, genius over here says, "I do believe that mark on her neck (if any) is a pre-existing mark that has been there for years"

      D@MN BRILLIANT SIR

      June 10, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • FYI

      YoungWoman,

      collaborate = Work jointly on an activity, esp. to produce or create something.

      corroborate = Confirm or give support to (a statement, theory, or finding).

      June 10, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • StarLyte

      LOL!! How would know WITHOUT seeing the pictures for yourself? I'm quite sure even a rookie cop can tell the difference between an old wound and a fresh wound.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Jessica W

      no one is asking the real question and that is, if that was a fresh wound, wouldn"t the police be able to tell? if the scratch came from his hand/fingernails....wouldn't their be skin under there? we all have seen people who have spent yrs in prison for things that were innocent of all because someone "corroborated" "backed up" the accusing parties story. i don't know what happened, i wasn't there. but it would be too easy to find out with evidence that you can see.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  17. Oh how lovely

    If she's had the mark for almost ten years i'm sure there would be pictures of it correct? There'd have to at least be a few pictures in the likes of ten years. Besides many young kids are afraid to lie to the police. Some will of course. But it's never ok to strangle or beat your kids with a belt. They'll just rebel and you'll end up with a bigger problem. Who knows I wasn't there but the police felt they had enough to arrest the guy on.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Jon O

      Look, an armchair expert who knows nothing about the case save what he's read here but feels justified making all these holier-than-thou pronouncements and judgments.

      What a winner. 0% information, 100% opinion.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • goodgran

      As a mother of 5 and grandmother of 8 I am certain she got what she she deserved. There is to much sparing the rod these days. Creflow stand your groun.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • goodgran

      As a mother of 5 and grandmother of 8 I am certain she got what she she deserved. There is to much sparing the rod these days. Creflow stand your ground.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Jon O

      You people are hilarious.

      You're right, no child has ever been raised to be good without being abused.

      Has never happened, ever. Just because you're a failure as a parent and have to resort to fear and violence to control your children doesn't mean that's the only thing that works.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  18. Jon O

    She's lucky to be alive. Only his failure as a Christian to murder her because she disrespected him, like the Bible specifically commands, saved her life.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  19. I really doubt

    I find it hard to believe knowing her fathers stature and reputation in the church that she would have called the police if it wasn't necessary. She could be a rich spoiled brat but sounds to me as if she was scared, If true he should admit it and get help.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • goodgran

      I agree. However if my husband were to grab me or my daughter by the throat and slam us to the ground, the paramedics would
      be taking us to to the E.R

      June 10, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  20. blake

    Don't know what happened between this man and his daughter. I will assume he is innocent until he admits his guilt or a court finds him otherwise. But there is no doubt the man is a charlatan and fraud, with no accountability, fleecing the naive and vulnerable to fund a lavish lifestyle. He is also a false teacher, proclaiming a false gospel.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.