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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. LIVE BY THE SHOE

    YOU DIE BY THE SHOE........And you know he has many more SKELETONS in his closet......wwooooooo doggeyyyyyy

    June 8, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  2. peterweicker

    If you're looking for narcissistic sociopaths and Wall Street's not handy, check out the local churches. It might take a few, but it won't take many.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Rambo

      I just take the closest lawyer, they're everywhere!

      June 8, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      like rain dances change the weather .

      June 8, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  4. Patrick Lewis

    And nothing will happen to the dude or his church. If anything he'll spin it into a persecution and turn it into a cash cow. These guys are shameless and have exactly zero to do with God.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  5. Colin Morgan

    Never trust a big butt and a smile.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • dickerson

      ya daddy did.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  6. creflo choke a church

    how dare her put her throat to his two hands!!!!!!! git that money crefloooooo.......

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

      He is the living proof that someone should never, never give up. God bless him for beating Satan out of his daughter. She will always remember that he was there for her. God bless.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "He is the living proof that someone should never, never give up. God bless him for beating Satan out of his daughter. She will always remember that he was there for her. God bless"

      god bless her for exposing to the world how satan is in this guy pushing him to violence.
      ...same logic.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  7. tiffany

    I am both saddened and disturbed by the posts from both "sides" or perspectives of this story. Not one comment expressed any sense of sympathy for the parties involved. Is every story about human tragedy now being distilled into "sides." Is this simply an opportunity to prove a point. These two people are human beings- father and daughter. The facts are that the legal system is prosecuting a father for alleged physical assault of his daughter. Neither of us know the details- none of us were there, but when did we as humans cease to mourn the plight of others and seize the opportunity to prove our point and further our own agendas. Stop denigrating one another and feel something!

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

      It's hard to be sympathetic to someone who chokes their daughter. Yes, I am willing to chose a side here. I am on the side that is anti-child abuse.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Jeff

      tiffany...the sad truth is these boards are just full of people that want to throw their thoughts about the 'evils' of the other 'side' out there every chance they get. It comes from both sides! Every now and again there is actually a decent dialogue that takes place, but more often than not it's pretty unbearable in here...

      ...I can't stay away though...the pursuit of a decent conversation always gets the better of me!

      June 8, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Jan

      I have no sympathy for a child abuser.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • tiffany

      @Peter. I agree. Children should be loved, not abused. I am sympathetic of human failings because I am human. I have done, said, and thought things I am ashamed of and am so glad that no one knows about. I think just because someone tries to do what is right and fails it doesn't make them a monster; it makes them human. Unless he is a habitual abuser, if he lost it and did the unthinkable, he is in agony. More than any mean-spirited words or judgmental criticism on a message board could ever inflict.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  8. Mike D

    Good...I hope they send this skeezy shyster up the river.

    June 8, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  9. Drake

    Wow, after reading some of these posts, I see how this man made his fortune.
    I think I will open a church...seems like a profitable business to be in...at the sake of the gullible.

    June 8, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Rambo

      Plus, you get to have multiple mates for whom the quickest way to God is through you.
      I'm considering it myself, given people seem to have a need to be controlled.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "The profession of shaman has many advantages. It offers high status with a safe livelihood free of work in the dreary, sweaty sense. In most societies it offers legal privileges and immunities not granted to other men. But it is hard to see how a man who has been given a mandate from on High to spread tidings of joy to all mankind can be seriously interested in taking up a collection to pay his salary; it causes one to suspect that the shaman is on the moral level of any other con man. But it is a lovely work if you can stomach it."
      – Robert Heinlein

      June 8, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  10. Tom

    Prosperity Christianity is an interesting concept. If your rich it is a sign of God's favor and all you have to do to be in God's favor is to become rich.

    Oh...you can ignore everything Jesus said about helping the poor because he didn't mean the people who are not in his favor and by default all of the poor are out of his favor.

    June 8, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      I can see that you don't quite get it...and it's 'you're'. At any rate, you can't give someone something that you don't have....so, yeah, you've got to have something to 'give', and I'm sure the Lord doesn't want His people begging and borrowing... I wouldn't want a 'Father' that made me 'beg' and 'borrow'. Just saying....

      June 8, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Amen

      June 8, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "At any rate, you can't give someone something that you don't have....so, yeah, you've got to have something to 'give', and I'm sure the Lord doesn't want His people begging and borrowing..."

      i would suggest god wouldnt want you to say i will only give once i am rich. In fact I would suggest that to say I can afford to give something because I am rich is worse charity than those that have little and still give.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      @ cedar rapids ~~ I can see that you don’t get it either. Nowhere in my comment did you see the word ‘RICH’. And it’s not just about money… it’s about your ‘time’, your ‘kindness’….etc.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  11. wisdom4u2

    Would Jesus do this to a 15 year old young lady? I don't think so. In Jesus' time females were already married and having children due to ‘raging hormones‘ (IMO). Yet modern Christian society says to the young people 'Here's your birth control, now go take your SAT test, so you can get into college and be able to make a really good living... Meanwhile, I'll beat the crap out of you of it looks like you're straying.’ Let the young Christian folk enjoy their youth…it’s very fleeing. Just saying….

    June 8, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      *if*

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

      women didn't use to reach puberty until late teens....it is only in modern history that young girls hit puberty

      June 8, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      Not true. Mary, Jesus' mother, had him around 13. And history has shown that women in the Middle East, during that time, married before they even started menstruating. As a matter of fact, it's still going on.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  12. madandev

    Don't worry, she will learn her lesson in life the hard way!

    June 8, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  13. Leucadia Bob

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhEfydxhAcM&w=640&h=360]

    June 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  14. josetoyou

    This kind of crap by local government is why young people are running wild today! If I were raising children today, I would be in jail, because I was raised with corporal punishment and I practiced it with my children...non of whom got in trouble with the law or used drugs...

    June 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Lucifer

      You choked your children?

      June 8, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Bob

      So you admit you choked and beat your daughter?

      How nice.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Alexalex

      yung folks have running wild since Cain and Abel. Emphasis on cain

      June 8, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Mary

      So did my mother, and I never got in trouble either. But I also cut her out of my life forever because of the physical and worse, mental abuse. The bad feelings last a lifetime.

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

      He CHOKED her. He's going to jail. This is real, not godfantasy.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • izandroro

      and they are all screwed up

      June 8, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • awasis

      If you have to beat your children you are doping something wrong.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • pat

      If the kid doesn't cry when you hit him should you hit him harder?

      June 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • TexAnne

      My father used to use a belt on me. No, I never got into "real" trouble - although I still pushed the envelope more than once just to know I could. However, once I was an adult & especially after I had my own kids, I realized his abuse was just not acceptable. You don't have to hit a child to have them behave. I never used a belt or physical punishment on my kids. Yes, they got punished, but it was something they understood - like time outs, loss of privileges, and later as teens grounding & loss of privleges, etc. We TALKED– they understood what they did wrong and why they were being punished. They understood that what rules Mom set, Mom meant. One thing I learned early on (thank heaven) was to never threaten a punishment I wasn't willing to stick to. (Don't tell them, "you'll be grounded for a month" unless YOU are willing to totally stick with that. Set a punishment that YOU know you can stick to!!) I am proud to say my kids always made great grades; did not smoke, do drugs, or use alcohol; were involved in school & community activities; and have always made me proud. I'm not so naive to think they probably didn't push the envelope themselves at times, but they never got into any trouble that required me to come to their rescue. Parenting isn't easy, and you've got to take responsibility as a parent & not try to be their buddy. (You can be their buddy later on in life when they're grown & self sufficient– it's more fun then anyway.)

      June 8, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  15. Rambo

    The real problem is Religion, and how we abandon all judgment, rational and freedom to it.

    June 8, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      xactly. put religion to bed. think for yourself. you won't regret it.

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

      I've said it before on these blogs Rambo...religion isn't the problem...man is. Man will continue to use religion (and other means at his disposal) in his quest for power.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • pat

      I still don't know the difference between religion and insanity.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Stalin was an atheist that killed millions

      after thousands of years of mankind existence atheists cannot comprehend its man?

      They put the blame on something else like a child

      June 8, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  16. Carole Clarke

    Who was it that said that it would be easier for a camel to pass thru the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heavan? Somewhere in the Bible...

    June 8, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Lucifer

      C'mon now Carole, you know christians only use the parts of the bible that suits their needs.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • JUSTSAYIN

      Dear that would be Jesus Matt 19-24...this is the fundmental problem right here... If people seek their own truth then they wouldn't be so quick to think that a pastor's life is without fault...just like everyone else's! go figure that people will run to a comment section to dog out someone else when their lives are just as busy...

      June 8, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      The trouble with that Carole is there are those that try to claim the eye of a needle was the name of a small city gate (though there is absolutely no evidence of that being the case at all) and this is as hard but not impossible for a camel to go through.
      In other words they try to twist the statement to mean something else.
      (in reality I believe the latest thinking is the word Camel was a mistranslation and the word for camel can also be read as rope, which you have to admit makes a lot more sense in the statement.)

      June 8, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • pat

      That's my favorite bible passage. Before I let them tell me about abortion or gays, I always make sure they gave everything they have to the poor, and then I don't let up.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  17. phyllis jones

    Hang in there, and stand on the word of God. The devil is attacking you through your kids. I have been there and God brought me out.He will see you thought this. I am praying for you and with you. P.S. I cancel that attack in the name of JESUS
    To: DR. Dollar

    June 8, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • ellid

      You're really saying that HIM attacking his child is actually SATAN attacking him? Really? REALLY?

      June 8, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Joe

      Is it time for you to take your meds?

      June 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Jordan

      Mr. Dollar is responsible for this, not Satan. You give Satan more credit that he deserves. We all are sinners and do "bad" well enough on our own. Perhaps Mr. Dollar doesnt preach the gospel enough on Sundays otherwise his flock would know that. Blame shifting was got Adam in trouble in the first place.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Rambo

      No, I think he/she's saying that because the devil attacked him through his daughter, he was just defending himself. He is a victim, and he did his daughter a favor by beating the devil out of her. God bless.

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

      Phyllis Phyllis Phyllis, really? Blaming the devil becuase you kids don't act right? Let's take some responsibility. If your kids don't act right, I'd be my soul (if I had one) that there is a 99.9999% chance it's the fault of the parents.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • pat

      If there is a Satan, let him strike me dead.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • XK

      Wow, all the crazies love a dollar.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • trex

      .and thsoe without sin, cast the first stone.................

      June 8, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      looks more like satan was attacking his daughter though him.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  18. youtube 1800 choke a hoe

    ghetto preacher. This man should go back to his Choke-a- church and beg for more money. And the suckers must give it to him or will choke a hoe..........anyone caught not putting dollars in the basket will be choked and or beaten with a shoe or both.

    June 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  19. mandarax

    You know, it's becoming clearer every day that these folks who make a living exploiting other people's gullibility are just not good people. Go figure....

    June 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • JUSTSAYIN

      It is people's own foolishness if they are lead astray...stop blaming other people for the decisions you make. I'm not defending him or his actions, i'm telling people to STOP thinking that someone else's life is perfect and pristine. WE ALL have issues so dont be so quick to point and ridicule someone else's situation...

      June 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  20. Jeff

    What I don't understand is why his religion matters. This is an abuse story. A father got physical with his daughter and deserves whatever punishment the law deems appropriate. I don't know why the fact he is a pastor is relevant. Is CNN going to report on Ted, the WalMart Assistant Manager that beat his child next? If not, this story isn't newsworthy in my mind.

    Don't get me wrong, this man committed a crime and should be punished accordingly; however, to identify his line of work seems unnecessary.

    June 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      The exposure is good for the man!

      June 8, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • mandarax

      Well, for one thing he is a leader in a community that self-righteously judges the morality of others.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • George

      He has chosen to live life as a public figure and therefore what he does becomes more public by default. He doesn't get to chose to step in and out of the public light at his discretion. It doesn't work that way.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Jim

      He would probably be in the news if he were an actor, a prominent businessman, or a politician. Welcome to the spotlight.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • MK

      This is what happens when you act as if you are holier than thou, you're expected to tow the line.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • sleepytime

      I think it's pretty common practice to mention the occupation of public figures in news stories about them.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Jeff

      I get what you guys are saying here, but I've never heard of this guy until today. He's not in my public view...certainly not national newsworthy in my mind. An article in a local paper where he is prominent makes sense, but this just isn't a national story to me.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Joe

      Slow news day.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • sleepytime

      Jeff: You may not have heard of him but I had. He's fairly well known.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Jeff

      @sleepytime...yeah, I re-read the article and I do remember hearing about him. I couldn't have told you his name, but the Holyfield thing rings a bell.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Jeff

      ...lol...rings a bell...unintended comedy!

      Posted this as a new post too...oops!

      I'm killing it today!

      June 8, 2012 at 3:13 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.