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June 8th, 2012
12:22 PM ET

Police arrest Georgia megachurch pastor after disturbance at home

By John Murgatroyd and John Blake, CNN

Atlanta (CNN)– Megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar was arrested in suburban Atlanta for an alleged assault on his 15-year-old daughter, police said Friday.

Deputies in Georgia's Fayette County responded to a call about a domestic disturbance about 1 a.m. Friday. Dollar's daughter said she argued with her father over attending a party, said Investigator Brent Rowan of the Fayette County Sheriff's Office.

The daughter says the argument got physical.

She 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.

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Dollar's daughter was able to get away and dial 911, Rowan said.

Deputies noticed a scratch on the daughter's neck and arrested Dollar on charges of simple battery, family violence and child cruelty.

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

Dollar was booked into the Fayette County jail early Friday. A judge set his bail at $5,000 during a morning hearing, and he was released.

Dollar said in a statement released to the media from his attorney, "As a father I love my children and I always have their best interest at heart at all times, and I would never use my hand to ever cause bodily harm to my children. The facts in this case will be handled privately to further protect my children. My family thanks you for your prayers and continued support."

Dollar is a senior pastor of World Changers Church International in suburban Atlanta, which claims about 30,000 members and has an $18 million sanctuary that resembles a golden-domed spaceship atop a hill.

He built an international religious empire, with broadcasts of his sermons beamed worldwide and speaking engagements in Europe.

A barrel-chested man who favors impeccably tailored pinstripe suits in the pulpit, Dollar preaches the Prosperity Gospel, a message that says God will bless faithful Christians with wealth and debt-free living.

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

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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," a pulpit prima donna who once refused to allow parishioners to touch him. They say his message perverts the Gospel.

Dollar has had brushes with the law before, according to a lengthy 2000 profile in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

He was once cited for contempt of court for refusing to give a deposition during the divorce proceedings of boxer Evander Holyfield, who attended his church, according to the AJC.

The AJC profile also said that 100 police officers were admonished for receiving $1,000 apiece from Dollar. Dollar sent the money to honor the officers' community service, but the act was criticized because it came a month after two traffic tickets Dollar received were downgraded to warnings, the profile said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Crime

soundoff (3,399 Responses)
  1. Jo-Jo the Duck

    FSM..... Embrace his noodly appendage.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Lynn

      The ONLY religion with BALLS!

      June 8, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Tara

      R'amen!!!!!

      June 8, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  2. Andi

    I clicked on this story hoping that Eddie Long had finally been arrested.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • A-Rod

      Eddie Long has other ways of disciplining a child than to choke them.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • derp

      "Eddie Long has other ways of disciplining a child than to choke them"

      Eddie Long tried to "choke" them from the inside.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  3. dux

    Wishing Christopher Hitchens was still here to provide his wit on this hypocrite...

    June 8, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • David Somers

      God is not Great and Religion Poisons Everything! Love CH!

      June 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • junior

      wishing or praying to the god Hitchens. A cathedral that stored manure

      June 8, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • dux

      Will raise a glass to Hitch this evening – sorely missed

      June 8, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • kake79

      Just because Creflo Dollar is a bad person (seemingly greedy, arrogant, and now mean) doesn't mean Christianity is bad. Just like because Richard Nixon was a bad person (paranoid, sneaky, mean) doesn't mean the U.S. Presidency is bad.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • sleepytime

      kake79: That's true, Christianity is bad for other reasons as well.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Scott Tibbs is a dummy

      @kake79
      ......and the presidency is not bad.....just the Republicans!!

      June 9, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  4. Dl

    I can't imagine what upset his so? Most of the teens I know are exteremly respectful & obey their parents!

    June 8, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • bam

      yet the only way to create a good christian is to violently force it on them as kids so they learn how to spread the good word

      June 8, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Nat

      Hmm, not sure what teenagers are "extremely" respectful. Most are defiant but does NOT give any father or man for that matter to lay their hands on a female!

      June 8, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Mister Jones

      @Nat – Why not? Parents should be allowed to discipline their kids. And it's OK for the mother, but if a father disciplines his kid, then it's now a gender inequality issue? She is his child BEFORE she is a girl, or a young woman. And I fully believe that kids should be beaten. I was raised in the 70's. If Dad said you can't go to the party, you can't go to the party. Don't get beat and STILL not get to go the party. That's just dumb.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Tom Peters

      @ Mister Jones – That's called fear, not respect.

      June 9, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  5. Nick

    I'll bet there's some biblical justification for beating insubordinate children out there somewhere...

    June 8, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Jesus

      I believe it's located within the IGOTMINE book of dollar. The passage below the one requiring preachers to use church funds to buy themselves not one but two private jets, rolls royces and multiple million dollar homes.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • derp

      Dueteronomy 21

      Stone them!!

      June 8, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • bam

      the same goes for thine wife....
      hence why women can not hold any positions of anything useful in the christian church and the pope needs to send male bishops to re-learn the US Nuns

      June 8, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  6. Joi Gibson

    However mad he was, never, ever, ever, use physical violence against family members (or against anyone for that matter, unless you are imminent danger yourself).

    June 8, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Goose

      Right... because the only reason for physical violence is to defend yourself... How about others who can't defend themselves? How about someone bullying a mentally handicapped young person? Sometimes people need a good slap/punch to the face to realize that what they are doing is not appropriate and will not be tolerated.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • nogames

      I know this is not politically correct but if my parents told me not go to a party at 15 and I went any or tried to go anyway. I would have got the beat down and if I tried to strike back – I would be packing my bags. I think these kids are out of control today and I don't see it getting any better. BTW I came out find and I have a great relationship with my parents and I am grateful of how they raised me!

      June 8, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  7. ironwolf56

    Preacher's kids are the craziest.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  8. Goose

    Seems to me that if you got "slammed to the ground, punched and beat with his shoe", you would have more than a scratch. What I think happened was that the 15 year old was told something she didn't like, threw a fit and the father had to use physical measures to control her... or punish her... Either way unless she was seriously harmed or he was threatening her life... this seems excessive. Police should let parents do their thing unless there is clear evidence of abuse... Not just a scratch.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      if he had done it to an adult he would have been charged with assault so why do you not want to give children the same protections as adults?

      June 8, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  9. Chad

    I really have enjoyed many of Creflo's sermons, I trust he'll be apologizing for what he did and will able to work this out with his daughter.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • CP in FL

      Chad – It is nice to meet one of the sheep that has followed this wolf. I am sure you donated to the pastor so he could buy his mansion and private jet. What a joke.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  10. Nick

    Just another punk minister raking in millions from his clueless sheep.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Liz

      Up vote

      June 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • sacrebleu2

      2nd up vote

      June 8, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • David Somers

      exactly

      June 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  11. Paul

    Truly a godly man.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • derp

      Nothing shows the unending love of christ like choking the sh it out of a child.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Scott Tibbs is a dummy

      ......yeah. It was good enough for Abraham!

      June 9, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  12. Connor oconnor

    First, I am sure this is not the first time this guy has done this to a family member. Second, I feel certain he would defend his actions with some randomness bible verse. Third, if that church was taxed, e would have no national debt.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  13. southernwonder

    this shows the holy father of jesus in sky is tired of spinning around the earth for 2000 years. he wants to take a break and land on earth to rest. however, it can't come to earth until israelis invade and capture all the arab countries. the republicans need to really can't afford to lose the whitehouse in 2012 so they can do it for israel.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Nate

      A vote for the GOP is a vote for Armageddon?

      June 8, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  14. PulTab

    Now who am I going to send my last dollar to, while I eat cat food.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Scott Tibbs is a dummy

      Don't worry, PulTab, there are plenty more where he came from. Same scam, different location.

      June 9, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  15. jx

    she probably deserved it.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • A-Rod

      yup. agree whole heartedly.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  16. ironwolf56

    Was it a Creflo kerfluffle?

    June 8, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • David Somers

      a mega idiot who needs to be beat along with every other stupid christian which would mean all christians.....

      June 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • y2daddy

      Love your tolerance there, David Somers.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Scott Tibbs is a dummy

      Sounds like the 'Inquisition'.....how's that for tolerance?

      June 9, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  17. Bill

    What a great name for a preacher– Pastor Dollar. What's the name of the other preacher? Pastor Basket?

    June 8, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • tb63

      Pastor Gas.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • innkahoots

      Thanks Bill, that made my day. Ha Ha Ha......

      June 8, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • Scott Tibbs is a dummy

      ....and the church. World (money) Changer Church International.

      June 9, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  18. Now Why

    Oops

    June 8, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  19. Jgirl

    I love Creflo. I will keep him & his family in my prayers

    June 8, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Jesus

      and he loves your money.

      My house shall be called the house of prayer; but he have made it a den of thieves.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • David Somers

      this is one of the stupid christians I was talking about earlier

      June 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • derp

      I love jesus so much that am going to choke the crap out of my daughter

      June 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  20. Theistville Dog

    To get to heaven one needs to go thru hell. No if's and's or butt's, only holes,, so choose wisely and aim well for one might never tell where one's ink does well. Driven home the pen almighty, never known which wrong might be righty. Sink rightly before you explore the cavernous ways for tommorrow you can never borrow for what was, always stays.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Matt

      Rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • LarryB

      I want some of whatever it is that you've been smoking.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Nick

      Poetry from prison?

      June 8, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • StayGold

      Thanks Pony Boy

      June 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Drinky Crow

      So, you're a crazy person?

      June 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • max

      you forgot to mention that you'll be heading to montana soon, just you and the pygmy pony over by the dental floss bush.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • derp

      Yippee I O Kye Yay!

      June 8, 2012 at 1:22 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.