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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. The Dude

    And this is suppose to shock us? these idiot preachers are the biggest rapists, murderers in the world. If there was such a thing as hell, that is where he should be going. A church of gold made to resemble a space ship? shocker! NOT

    June 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Dot

      Stupid statement. There is a hell, you will see. Remember that!

      June 8, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Smurf This

      Stupid statement. There is a hell, you will see. Remember that!

      Talk about stupid statements.
      No proof of hell, has anybody come back to warn you ?
      Remember that.
      How do you remember something if you are dead ?

      100% of all the people on this planet are made from matter and energy.
      That is the only fact.
      Everything else is an opinion.

      June 8, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
  2. Hj

    I am a member of this man's church please keep your mouth off this man he is a wonderful leader and teacher who loves everyone including his children we are not in the postion to judge anyone we where not there and we do not know what happen don't belive everything you hear about him or his family he is not what the media trys to make him out to be

    June 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • The Dude

      He is a jerk and I cant wait to hear about his "fun" in prison. He has it coming too!

      June 8, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • JakeAZ

      i will keep my mouth off of him.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Jack Warlow

      Choking your daughter and beating her with fists and a shoe is not love, that is loathing in one of its truest forms.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • derp

      "he is a wonderful leader and teacher who loves everyone including his children"

      I show my daughter that I love her by giving her advice, helping her with problems, supporting her in times of need.

      She is an amazing young woman.

      Maybe I should try showing her how much I love her by beating the sh it out of her with a shoe.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Derigible

      I am a member of this man's church please keep your mouth off this man he is a wonderful leader ..

      Who preaches against Jesus' teachings.
      A rich man will not get into heaven.

      Keep your mouth off this man ??????
      You need to watch what you write.

      June 8, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The fact that you think the word is "Derigible" is proof you're a complete azzwipe and your say-so is equal to dreck.

      June 8, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • NeutralityAct

      He drives a Maybach, lives in a huge mansion, fleeces this flock of money...he's a shyster, a joke, and I have zero respect or regard for this jerk.

      June 9, 2012 at 8:55 am |
  3. QS

    $18 million says that this "pastor" will go crawling back to his pulpit, shed a few faux tears and ask forgiveness from his congregation for having sinned, claiming that "god" has shown him the error of his ways....and of course he'll get that forgiveness because people who follow blindly all too often tend to turn a blind eye to the obvious.

    June 8, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • The Dude

      You are so right and the sheeples will allow him back because they have no spines!

      June 8, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Theistville Dog

      So then, the child/daughter gets away with violating her father's curfew rules/laws? Where then is justice to be without there being consequences? As the heated sidcussion gets to the boiling point, the father or mother is usually the ones who boil over while the child defiantly till the end will not worrry for the laws are in a child's favor! Whata crock of crap!

      June 8, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • MAYA

      People! no one is perfect, no one is without sin! Creflo Dollar is human just like me and you. So, guess what folk. GOD has forgiving him and his daughter already. And yes he will be in his pulpit teaching the word of GOD. Say, what you want. Man don't have a heaven or hell to put us in.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Derigible

      As the heated sidcussion gets to the boiling point.....

      My point about the education level of religious supporters.
      Or is it something else ?

      June 8, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  4. b

    praise the lord, amen to that

    June 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  5. MAJ

    Pastors spend so much time with ministry that their "First Ministry" goes with-out them. The church pulls soooo much on their leadership that the children are often fending for themselves. Why do you think the leaders of churches have the most problems with their own home? The leaders think that their children should get it. It's up to us as leaders to balance ministry and home. Your home is your "First Ministry"! The government says not to discipline your children but yet the children are the ones that needs the discipline! As soon as they get in court they ask where are your parents?? That was a dumb question! You took my parents from me when they disciplined me according to how they were raised! Let the parents raise their children! Leaders: Build your homes and the ministry will be built!

    June 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  6. USMarine1982

    Creflo Dollar isn't typical of every honest and hard-working Christian out there. It's just sad to see him in the news for these types of things, instead of doing something truly impressive like feeding the poor, the needy, etc. It doesn't help, either, that the media is hungry for negative news like this.

    June 8, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • JakeAZ

      you can be honest and hardworking without being christian.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • DElle

      Let's see, the news advertising good works/deeds of a popular & wealthy celebrity....like that will ever happen!!

      June 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  7. Bic

    Why don't haters of Christianity just create a Christian bashing day and get it off your chest? If he were Muslim it would be all good.

    June 8, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • sleepytime

      Why would it be all good if he were a Muslim?

      June 8, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • JakeAZ

      what you call "haters" are just speaking the truth, but you're too blinded by your years of christian brainwashing to see it.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • derp

      If he were muslim he would have killed her.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Derigible

      There are 365 days of the year.
      Pick one.
      Funny how you tried to deflect back to muslims.
      Nothing is ever your fault.
      Sounds like the Republicans.

      June 8, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  8. Emerald Laughter

    Prosperity Gospel, well there you have it, another crooked "Christian" who thinks the Bible is a get rich quick scheme. With a name like Dollar what did you expect? I reccommend the parishioners of this Mega Bank, I mean "Church" seek out the true message of Christ, which is to love.

    June 8, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Jay

      Sorry youre wrong about Christ's message. His message was to repent so that one would inherit God's kingdom. The first commandment is to love God. The scriptures tell us plainly, "For this is what the love of God means. That we obey his commandments and yet his commandments are not burdensome."

      June 8, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Derigible

      ***Jay

      Sorry youre wrong about Christ's message.
      -------------------

      No he is not wrong about Jesus' message.
      You are wrong.

      Jesus was about love and acceptence.
      Jesus was about fairness and taking care of one and another,
      the poor the sick.
      You said Jesus was about repentence.
      You seem to have removed the important parts.
      How sad for you.

      June 8, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  9. Mark

    There are plenty of stupid people in Atlanta to replace whatever members of his flock leave.

    June 8, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  10. johnsonj3

    I am old school if you live in my house you go by my rules so if you don't want to listen and follow my rules then as the saying goes- Let door hit you where the God Lord split you. Now let her 15 years old behind go to a foster home and live, until she turns18. She will becrying to come home and listen to her parents.

    June 8, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Alexalex

      no one said what the daughter did was okay, just that she shouldn't be punched in the face. Ever heard of a grey area?

      June 8, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • sam

      Don't breed.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Johnny

      Do you beat your children with a shoe?

      June 8, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Alexalex

      Forget about the shoe, what about the manual strangulation

      June 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • MK

      And you'll be the first one to complain that your tax money is being used to take care of kids whose parents won't.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Alexalex

      @sam I'm sure he already did and I bet his daughters did too...right after they dropped out of highschool

      June 8, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • steve

      You need serious mental help.. thanks God you are not my parent...

      June 8, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Sandy

      She should be out of that house. The pastor is best guess 190 LBS, his daughter of 15 maybe 110lb. She's probably 5' tall he's probably close to 5' 10', the point is the guy has some weight over his daughter, but the coward feels it necessary to choke her, throw her the ground and hit her with a SHOE. Really??? Violence is not the answer. Trust me, she will get out as soon as she can and hopefully it is not in a body bag. God Bless her.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  11. T.Brown

    LET HIM WHO IS WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE.

    June 8, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • erik

      OUCH! Dropped mine on my own foot!

      June 8, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "LET HIM WHO IS WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE"

      Everyone knows the story about Jesus and the woman about to be stoned by the mob. This account is only found in John 7:53-8:12. The mob asked Jesus whether they should stone the woman (the punishment required by the Old Testament) or show her mercy. Jesus doesn’t fall for this trap. Jesus allegedly states, let the one who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her. The crowd dissipates out of shame. That story was not originally in the Gospel of John or in any of the Gospels. It was added by later scribes. The story is not found in the oldest and best manuscripts of the Gospel of John. Nor does its writing style comport with the rest of John. Most serious textual critics state that this story should not be considered part of the Bible.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • derp

      Let he who has not choked the sh it out of his child cast the first stone.

      Where do I get my rock?

      June 8, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  12. MK

    This is not discipline but a power trip. The Rev couldn't stand that his own child didn't obey him like his sheeple in church as they nod and fork over their money every Sunday.

    June 8, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • johnsonj3

      It about this 15 year old wanting to do what she wants to do. If something happen to her then you would be saying he should have been there.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Bic

      amen to that

      June 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • MK

      So it's better that her own father harm her in his own house than some outside force. Hmm.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  13. JakeAZ

    again – religion does not = morality,

    June 8, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Evangelical

      What you say is true, religion =/= morality. However, there is no morality without god.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • derp

      "However, there is no morality without god'

      How do you explain the fact that there are far fewer atheists in jail than either christians, muslims or jews?

      June 8, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • readthebook

      morality is only without god because only then you are not motivated by heaven or in fear of hell

      June 8, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  14. realityville

    Top Ten Signs You're a Christian
    10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
    9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
    8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
    7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
    6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
    5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
    4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs – though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
    3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.
    2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
    1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.

    June 8, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • In God We Trust

      COPY & PASTE TROLL!!!!

      June 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • popee

      dude you really got time on your hands. This aint no news at all. Just a man trying to discipline his child.. that;s it

      June 8, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • The Dude

      This is so true! Thanks for this, I will shamelessly steal it!

      June 8, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • I_whoop_my_kids

      and all atheist are sodomites.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • ozoz1

      realityville – that just may be the best top 10 list I've ever read, and they're all true.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • SparkBunny

      Did the tribesmen even have tents? Let's not forget that the majority of the new testament was written nearly 100 years after jesus died, and not by his actual disciples. Or about the various conferences of the pope and church leaders to throw some of the bible out and keep other parts that were more aligned with the propaganda they wished to use to control their followers. Every christian should actually take a history of religions class at some point. I mean, learning the truth and still believing in a zombie martyr is what truly makes you a believer.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • readthebook

      atheists always know more about religion and scriptures, they just choose not to follow them

      June 8, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Derigible

      ** In God We Trust

      COPY & PASTE TROLL!!!!
      --------------

      Seen it before, but he is right.

      June 8, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
  15. Marvin J.

    what happened in that home does not change who God is .... Focus on God and his mercy which we NEED daily ...

    June 8, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • JakeAZ

      YOU need it. i'm doing just fine without it.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • The Dude

      you really believe there is a god? you are lost! where was this god when all those Africans were slaughtered in Uganda? where was your god when the tsunami hit Indonesia? where was your god when all those earthquakes hit? Science, not religion, is the true WORD! As soon as everyone gets it the better off this world will be. There are more people killed in the name of religion than all the wars put together, and all of those wars were over religion by the way. Stupid is what stupid does.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Hammer Of The Gods

      A plane takes off with 100 souls on board.
      The plane crashes.
      There is one survivor.
      Christians scream "thank god for the one who survived".
      But they never curse god for the 99 who died.

      When asked about this response, they always say,
      God works in mysterious ways.

      You are some very sick people.

      June 8, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  16. No God

    His name alone should make anyone skeptical....praise the almighty dolla!

    June 8, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  17. mstew

    dumb-ass holy-roller he needs to be in jail, get slapped around for a while – unfortunately people follow these clowns.

    June 8, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Bic

      what devil do you follow

      June 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  18. Colin Morgan

    Can he play Warcraft in jail?

    June 8, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  19. LJC

    Wow, these remarks about fairy tales and mansions and all the other ridiculous remarks lend to a mindset of nothing more than an idiot. Obviously, you do not know what in the "hell" you are talking about. Go sit in the corner, where you belong, and rock back and forth. News flash! Everyone is a sinner, including you. Yes, Dollar has said so from the pulpit too. Again, you don't get it.

    June 8, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  20. DavidInVancouverWA

    Creflo Dollar is a player who has gotten a bit too big for his britches (and his betches). Know wha I'm sayin? Religion is a sham. Kudos to him for playin all those 30,000 people to give him cash money, tho. Pleaz ... y'all shouda known not to give your money to a preacher name Dollar.

    June 8, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Bertha

      Yall need to stop hatin on Pastor Dollar. Hes a good man and God loves him. His baby girl is a hussy and needs to be turned around. Pastor did the right thing.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      Unfortunately for the people who listen to and believe him, Dollar is one of the worst examples of those who preach the "Prosperity Gospel." As a further bit of misfortune for his followers, he is the only one who appears to "prosper" from their faith.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • DavidInVancouverWA

      Bertha, baby. This week, don't worry about putting two franklin bills on the plate. You've done real good, so put a buck ninety-nine down and buy yourself a piece of gum with what's left. God sure loves you, Sister Bertha.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Chris R

      Bertha,

      Does God love Pastor Dollar's child as well? You know, the child that Pastor Dollar beat and strangled. Or has God given Pastor Dollar the right to beat his children. Seems to me that Jesus talked about protecting the meek and the weak. Seems to me that this child needs some protecting. I'm not saying a child shouldn't be corrected when they are wrong – but you don't correct them by strangling them. You don't correct them by furiously beating them. Does that sound like what Jesus would do?

      June 8, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Hammer Of The Gods

      I am going to preach the "every man for himself" gospel.
      Think maybe i can get rich this way?
      Bet i can.
      The problem is, that i have a consience.
      Oh well.
      At least i can sleep at night.

      June 8, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
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About this blog

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.