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.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

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.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

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. joe

    he spent $100k to get out of 2 tickets??

    June 8, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  2. hemusbull

    I like even the name of the "mega pastor" – it's DOLLAR, how symbolically! All about these so called churches ar is power & money! Nothing else! But it's strange how so many people are"followers" and supply them with ...money. Disgusting!

    June 8, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  3. This is Creflo Dollar Jr.


    June 8, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  4. southern guy

    There are Priests, Preachers, Pastors, etc., of every religion that are good, and some bad. I hate it for the good ones, but the bad ones need to be culled from the crop.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  5. wisdom4u2

    When I heard him teach that 'err'thing' is God's 'Will', I knew he wasn't being lead by the Holy Spirit. Besides, if 'everything' is God's 'Will', then Pastor Dollar should realize that it was 'God's Will' for his daughter to attend that dance....methinks. : )

    June 8, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • OTOH

      He is every bit as hidebound and convinced that his imaginary supernatural guide is the real one as you are that yours is.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      @OTOH ~~ U R A DUMMY!! : )

      June 8, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  6. Roland

    Con artist and a criminal; nothing more.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  7. sweetkimberly

    Can't wait to see what Bill Maher has tot say.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  8. turner

    putting no blame on anyone–what did the daugther do for him to react like that? and why?

    June 8, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • jrc

      2 sides to every story, but he should have restrained himself. Back in tha day, yes...today, no...

      June 8, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • laurab68

      Sometimes it takes nothing to set someone with a matchstick temper off. My father had it. Anytime you disagreed with what he said, we paid for it. We paid with telephone receivers across our checks, we paid with almost being drowned, and we paid with dog chain whippings, and sometimes we paid with simple smacks.
      I learned a long time ago when I was young and living in that man's house, that if you stay quiet, you stay safer than most.
      Now my father is 78 and is barely mobile. There is not much that scares me anymore. I don't back down to bullies as there is nothing worse that can happen to me compared to what we went through
      What people saw of my father was not what we lived through as children. Never judge unless you live in that house.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  9. sweetkimberly

    $18 million dollar sanctuary that resembles a domed spaceship????? I've never understood why these "mega churches" have to flaunt their money. They need to be helping the poor and sick.

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

      But God wants the megapastors to be rich, they deserve it for deceiving their congregation into giving until it hurts. I am sure this POS will turn this all around and cry "persecution by the devil." Can I get an amen?!?

      June 8, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Dan

      Do you really think these churches are doing "God's" work?

      June 8, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Mara

      1 – because it's part of their church doctrine that god blesses the faithful with wealth. That's what the "Prosperity Gospel" is all about. The better christian you are, the more monetary blessings god tosses your way.

      2 – advertising. They use the 'blessings' from Prosperity Jesus to raise impressive structures and furnish said structure with luxeries so they can both attract new attendee's who want some 'blessing' too, as well as illustrate to the rest of us that they are 'better christians' and thus more blessed.

      3 – so the rest of the world eventually realizes that the only reason there is poverty and want is because the poor aren't sufficiently rightious.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  10. Willie Hou

    Yes choking is permitted if you disrespect me. This society is full of hypocrites you make laws that tell me I have to take care of my child but I cannot discipline them. Then we get upset when we see all of the children in foster care that no one wants. If I have to feed and cloth you and you disrespect me I will choke the %$#@ out of you. I will go to jail but my child will never disrespect me

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

      No they will not disrespect you – they will have zero respect for you – and rigthly so.

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

      Yes. Thank you.

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

      not yes to no but yes to beating dat ass.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "I will go to jail but my child will never disrespect me" They will never talk about you. You'll be dead to them. "My dad? He's dropping the soap right about now. Fook him."

      June 8, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Talmonis

      I hope that one day, your child is larger than you, and beats you like the little !)%& you are. Stomps your pathetic fundie head in. That day will be glorious.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • KiminSC

      If you have children they will not respect you at all. You come off as a bully and abusive. If I was to guess you are just a case of the apple not falling far from the tree. And you carry on a family curse of abusing your children and masking it in so called correcting them. I truly hope that your children grow up and move as far from you as they can so they might has so type of chance at a normal life.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  11. Bible Clown©

    This Dollar needs his butt kicked by Fifty Cent. I'd pay money to see it, too.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  12. I hate religion!!

    This just proves that this pastor is just human being and like any human being we make mistakes and sin. See, I am christian and I do too make mistake and sin every day the difference is that, if you have relationship with Christ my desire is to do Christ's will and not mine, but often we tend to do my decision and desires and that often gets me into trouble but, the bible said "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set yo free from the law of sin and death"....See religion is boring, they have so much rules, they condemn you, etc... but when you have a relationship with God, you get to know him in a personal level, and you will want to act different and will want to do good and yes, when we sin again he will forgive us again.... I recommend everyone to try to get to know God in at a personal level and experience a relationship like no other. Your life can change!!

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

      Right on! I agree

      June 8, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Gertrude

      Pastor; you have an advocate and He is interceding on your behalf ,have no fear. Charges are dismiss.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • esmiranda

      Obviously this good man is getting persecuted by the devil. Can I get an amen! In reality you are all hypocrites who try to tell others how to live while you justify your own evil ways. I have no problem with Jesus, but Christianity and it's hypocritical proponents are an annoying, obnoxious bunch.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • I hate religion!!

      See the problem is that you all think think Christians are perfect and think that by being Christians are immune to sin and problems, we are not immune, we all have troubles, in fact we all have our own temptations and they will never go away, we all sin, honestly i hate Christians that are Hippocrates, that say something and act differently, and don't live what they preach...Now if you really follow Jesus, not the religion of Christianity, follow Jesus, have a relationship with God you will want to do what you preach always, but there will be hard times, and if you fall to temptations you will be the first to admit it. Heck, I always want to do God's will but if I fall i will be the first to admit i did wrong ask for forgiveness and keep holding to my God that he will give me strength to do better next time.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  13. Rich

    The LOVE of money is still the root of all evil and that goes for Pastors as well.

    Creflo Dollar is the abbreviated term for Create a Flow of Dollars, which he has done quite well on the backs of the gullible.

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

      Obviously he is not shy about his love of money, his desire of it, and his worship of it. He has proclaimed himself a god, and that my friend is the basis of "Satanism."

      June 8, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  14. Jeff

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

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

      Haha, I thought the same thing when I read that!

      June 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  15. This is Creflo Dollar Jr.

    I want to ask everyone's forgiveness on this matter. Lets take up a collection. Whoever is without sin cast the first rock and i will smoketh it. Lets take up a collection for the building fund.

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

      What ? you smoke krack ? Is that what your saying ? Like father like son , lol

      June 8, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  16. trex

    ..So, the REAL ISSUE is that the preacher's daughter was going to EMBARASS the preacher, and THAT IS WHY he reacted this way. How can HE "SAVE" THE CONGRAGANTS, WHEN HE CANT "SAVE" HIS DAUGHTER, and that would mean reduced financial support.
    THIS IS THE TRUE BOTTOM LINE........^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    June 8, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  17. Theistville Dog

    What ever happened to the "good ol' days"? OR is "Let you who is without sin cast the first bone?" Children should heed their parents lest they be out the door and on their own is about all parents can do and even that cannot happen until they are 18. How then can parents of teenaged children guide them if not with the teenager being punished? Sure Creflo Dollar was worried when his daughter did not make it home before curfew! Sure Creflo was angered when his daughter finally came home! Sure Creflo may well have spoken in anger to his daughter's dissobeying the curfew! Sure his daughter vented back at her dad in order to keep from feeling at fault and guilty! No one truly wins when rules are broken! Not the child nor the parent!

    June 8, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "Sure Creflo may well have spoken in anger to his daughter's dissobeying the curfew! "

      He CHOKED her. Where's that in the Bible?

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

      ........................................NOT BONE, ya dope...............................STONE....................

      June 8, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      ""Let you who is without sin cast the first bone?"" Wait, that's from Dog's bible, not God's. Oh, you're a Theistville Dog, I get it. Arf. Roll it over.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Theistville Dog

      At lest you Bible Clown© saw my pun! trex must not have much humor! A straight C student trex must be!

      June 8, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • td.JWT

      That rank samongst the stupidest things I have ever read or heard td.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  18. tony

    god is supposedly love, organized religion is absolutely the opposite.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  19. Dot

    Pastor Dollar a" moment" in the flesh can still be used to reached the lost. So for the real truth about this situation go to the Bible and read Romans 10:9. Not perfect, flawless or without sin, but s _ _ _ _!

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

      good one. right on

      June 8, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  20. wayne

    Since he is a Cristian and a pastor shouldn't this scripture apply. Ex 21: 15 & 17

    June 8, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54
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.