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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. Ron

    CNN loves this kind of story because now they can allow the atheist bandwagon to once again relentlessly bash anything Christian. It is sad. It proves that NO ONE is perfect. He needs help and he needs to step down long enough to get it. He doesn't need to lead others during this crisis but he needs to work on his home.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Colin Morgan

      CNN loves "unique hits", not Atheists. Stories like this, bring hits. Hits bring advertisers.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      If religious followers would stop telling everyone (that doesn't believe like them) that they are wrong and burning for eternity .. while beating, stealing & raping ... we wouldn't need to remind your who's actually wrong on this issue.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Jomm

      I agree but who cares what athesit think. Let someone have them by the legs to dump them over a building or put a bomb in their @#$. See who they call on for help (and it wont be Becky or Biff).

      June 8, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • joejeffrey

      Oh grow up and get off your poor-Christians bandwagon. CNN doesn't love or hate the story - it's news and gets readers. That's what CNN loves. And why will it get readers? Because Creflo Dollar is grotesque parody of a Christian, and a brutal hypocrite besides. His teaching are the exact opposite of what Jesus taught, and he uses them to create an empire of Mammon. While beating up his kid.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • closet atheist

      @ Ron

      Sorry, but as long as your moral leaders keep acting immorally, we will continue to laugh at it. If they were more humble, it wouldn't be as funny.

      I'm rooting for Fred Phelps to get caught choking on some manmeat for money next...!!

      @ Jomm

      Very christian of you. Hope you pass that great moral compass along to your kids so we can look forward to another generation of intolerant, knucklehead bigots like yourself.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  2. rftallent

    Ha, my mother once told me that if I had ever called 911 on her for whipping me, she'd have whipped me again for calling. Spare the rod, spoil the child.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Alexalex

      your mom sounds like a mean-ass wh-or e.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Jomm

      well, your mother sound like a weak wh-or e.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • rftallent

      Actually Alex, she was a very loving mother who knew that children are not as worldly and bullet-proof as they think. I never did drank or did drugs, I graduated college, and had no children out-of wedlock.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  3. I_whoop_my_kids

    This pastor is on TV all the time.... i really love to listen at him, and children knows how to ruin lives of their parents for little things because the system has it set up that way. She better be thankful that she was not raise in my time. she would have gotten half a tree broken across her back. Not only would would the parent whipped and punish you the neighbors was allowed to whipped your behind also. So the Kids got it blessed and the parents have the stress thanks to the system. Parents goes to jail and the Kids continue to ruin their live and the lives of others when they began to do a job i want to say as Satan....They Kill, Steal and destroy because the system help ruin our children today. After that they want to put them in jail, but that could have been avoided if they let the parent raise them correctly

    June 8, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • MaryM

      And one day when your Kids are grown, they will WHOOP you.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • gmad

      someone should beat you

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

      @MaryM LOL this is what I'm talking about. The fact that you think its ok for a child to attack there parents for correction is the problem.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Pander Bear

      Seek help.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Jomm

      No, i whoop my kids will know better. YOur kids will whip you before i whoop my kids will.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • semipenultimate

      1. When you lay your hands on your child in anger, that is child abuse.
      2. I was physically disciplined as a child, yes, but my father knew to wait a half an hour and cool down.
      3. You ignore the fact that the account was corroborated by the other daughter to the satisfaction of the police, who are trained to ferret out deceit and false reports.
      4. You cite a strawman example of a false report, which is not actually the situation that is being dealt with here.

      Please rebut my points one by one. Ad hominem attacks and other logical falacies will be cited as such and not responded to.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • MaryM

      Whoop, the fact that you think it is ok to beat and choke your Child, tells volumes of what type a person you really are.
      Child protective services are watching you dBag

      June 8, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  4. rational thinking

    "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."

    also

    "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."

    Take away the fact he is a pastor, take away the color of his skin as well and just reread that again.

    parents do have the right to discipline their children but this was just excessive. I don't know how some can justify choking your own child left alone punching them.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • bishdnc

      prosperity gospel? any more need to said?

      June 8, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Linda

      I agree. Clearly he has some issues and needs help. People get killed in domestic violence altercations.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  5. bonwood72

    Maybe he is guilty, maybe he isn't. I wouldn't waste my time listening to him either way. There are much better ministers who don't make six figure incomes I would much rather listen to.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  6. Colin Morgan

    Creflo doesnt afraid of anything.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  7. Jomm

    these kids are out of controll and I do not blame Rev Cleflo. Do what you have to do to raise you kid right. If she goes to prison, she will get worst by inmates and society will NOT be kind.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • gmad

      and you're dumb

      June 8, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • WHAT?

      Really, more an idiot.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Michael

      That's the kind of stupid thinking one would expect from sheeple who follow all these so-called "Christian" nutjobs.......pathetic.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • JREV

      With a father like that, no wonder they are out of control. There's rarely a good excuse for punching a 15-year old girl, especially if she's your own daughter. Basically, she better have drawn a weapon and attacked him to provoke such an attack (but she apparently was only "armed" with a typical teenage smart mouth most likely). If you can't reason with a 15-year old without resorting to such violence, you are not a good parent. Sorry. I hope you don't have kids.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Redneck Joe

      Yup, I agree. These kids with them hip hop rap. Are too crazy to control.

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

      Gmad and What,both of you sound like idoits. And Michael, you thinking is the reason why so many kids are out of controll and sheepie people who follow your beliefs. STupid.

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

      Redneck JOe, so are the heavy metal, grunge music, and pop music kids as well.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • gmad

      so she is out of control because she wanted to go hang with friends. Jomm is a nazi

      June 8, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  8. Afi

    Bible talks about spiritual warefare getting intense during the last days. The devil's job is to disgrass Christians so that Christ's death becomes meaningless and of course, destroying the church. Please, please, let's pray for our pastors and their families. Spiritual attacks can happen to any Christian; no matter how long you've been saved. Any Christian whoes life is a blessing will face attacks. God bless.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • miles

      Thats the whole truth I cant wait till Jesus comes the look on peoples face will be priceless but to late get to know him now

      June 8, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Michael

      That's an interesting position........it means that if someone challenges your delusions you don't need to think about what they're pointing out to you because you're supposed to be "attacked" because you're "blessed"........au contrare, Christ is probably hugely disappointed in such a weak soul such as yours.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • gmad

      do us all a favor and hold your breath till your super savior returns

      June 8, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.”
      —1 John 2:18
      Christians have been waiting on tenterhooks for the Second Coming since the Bible itself was written.
      Many have prophesied the exact time of date of His return and ALL have been wrong.
      George Rapp said it would be September 15th, 1829.
      William Miller predicted October 22, 1844. Jesus’ failure to arrive is known as “The Great Disappointment”. Many of his disillusioned followers went on the found the 7th Day Adventist Church, who are still patiently awaiting His return.
      Charles Russell, 1st President of the Watchtower Society told his fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses that Jesus would be back in 1874.
      Rudolf Steiner maintained that from 1930 onwards, Jesus would grant certain people psychic powers to enable them to witness his presence in the “etheric plane”.
      Herbert Armstrong, Pastor General of the Worldwide Church of God said 1975.
      Bill Maupin managed to convince his followers to sell all of their worldly goods in preparation for Jesus’ return on June 28th, 1981.
      Benjamin Crème stated that on June 21st, 1982 Christ would make a worldwide television announcement.
      Mark Blitz, Pastor of El Shaddai Ministries says it would be September 30th, 2008
      Jerry Falwell said it’d happen between 1999 and 2009.
      Harold Camping told everyone that the Rapture would happen May 21, 2011 after failing in his first predicted date of 1994.

      Conversely, many believe He’s all ready come in the form of Sun Myung Moon, Emanuel Swedenborg, Baha u llah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, David Koresh, Hailie Selassie, John Thom, Arnold Potter, William Davies, George roux, Ernest Norman, Krishna Venta, Ahn Sahng-Hong, Jim Jones, Mashall Applewhite, Hulon Mitchell, Wayne Bent, Ariffin Mohammed, Mitsuo Matayoshi, Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, Inri Cristo, Thomas Provenzano, David Icke, Shoko Asahara, Hogan Fukinaga, Marina Tsvigun or Sergei Troop.
      It would appear that the much lauded Jewish carpenter has been thoroughly dead for 2000 years and will remain so.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  9. omoo'luabi

    Both of them crossed it. What good is in the child of Belial? A child who should be doing nightvigil decided to go party, not in my house. But then, our Mega Mega should challenge Randy Orton @ RAW not his daughter.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • gmad

      screw night vigils and screw you. i feel bad for your kids. what kid wants to waste their time singing. let your kids live. and sorry, just because she didn't want to do this stupid vigil DOES NOT mean he can beat her ass. get a life

      June 8, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  10. Kevin in Texas

    Exodus 21:15, 17, "And he who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. . . . And he who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death."
    Here is some more junk from the people who thought the world was flat and the sky was made of water.
    Slaves are to come from the nations around you: From them you may buy slaves. (Leviticus 25:44-45
    Do not eat shellfish (Leviticus 11:12)
    Do not eat pork (Leviticus 11:7)
    Do not mix linen and wool (Leviticus 19:18 and Gen 4:3-05
    Do not cut the hair from the sides of your head and beard (Leviticus 19:27)

    June 8, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Rhonda

      This is OLD TESTAMENT from millennia ago! Christians live by the NEW Testament in this day and age. The only rules we live by are the Ten Commandments. That is why Is lam is still stoning people today, because they are still living in the dark ages, and never saw the Light of Jesus Christ.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Mojonaamdi

      Are you saying that Christians don't follow teh teachings of the Bible?

      June 8, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Alexalex

      Is that why all these. Churches use old testament quotes to "prove" y being ga -y is a sin?

      June 8, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Kevin in Texas

      Funny you say you "live by the New testament and not the Old" and that you live by the "Ten Commandments" in the same paragraph! The Ten Commandments is the Old Testament!.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Michael

      Ummmm, Rhonda........the Ten Commandments originated in the Old Testament book of Exodus.......not the New Testament. They were alluded to and referred to in the New Testament, but the verbiage that you no doubt think of when you think of the Ten Commandments is Old Testament. Typical so-called Christian delusional thinking.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  11. I am the god of science bow down to me atheists

    For a bunch to claim to hate religion so much,atheists sure do cling to every "religious" articles

    Hmm.Such cowards to hide behind the internet while leaving the action out in real life.

    They lie so much.

    Now bow down to me oh great fools,I have logic and reason

    June 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  12. bobby

    15 year olds! ARG! They drive you nuts at times

    June 8, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  13. miles

    Now watch all the anti-christ folks raise their ugly heads sadducees, pharisees and hypocrites your no different then when Jesus walked on this earth full of yourselves, prideful arrogant deny the truth and lean unto your own destructive understanding wise in your own foolish ways burt when you bow before Jesus and oh you will you will remember every word I just wrote but it will be to late to apologize.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • The Dude

      what a loser. There is no god! never has and never will!

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

      yes, miles. I'm going to hell on the day of judgement because I don't like domestic violence and i think men who punch little girls are pan sies.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Veritas

      I don't consider myself to by "anti-Jesus." I'm a Christian and am active in my Church, but nothing you said makes ANY sense whatsoever.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Gil Nodges

      I'm not anti-anything.....just don't believe in myths, so not too worried about what you think.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Jomm

      So true MIles.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Jeremy

      I am an atheist, but this has nothing to do with religion. The man beat his daughter. He deserves to be in jail. His religion plays no part in it whatsoever.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Grammar Conscious

      Miles: Have you ever considered using proper punctuation and grammar when spewing your nonsense? It would help you sound just a tad bit less ignorant.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • miles

      the dude im really going to pray for you because I really care about you and all of you who believe and deny the one who gives you air to breathe and who can take it away from you at any given moment in a instant and you in a flash standing before him having to answer the question why did you deny him.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Grammar Conscious

      Apparently not.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Pickle

      Jesus loved punctuation!

      June 8, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  14. Herman

    Bill Maher won't say anything because he is black. Hypocrisy does not stop because of color, as Maher would want you to believe.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • just sayin

      Appears you are projecting your issue with blacks to Maher. You probably need help

      June 8, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  15. Byron

    I'm not trying to justify what he did, but if you ever had a teenager, especially one who is defiant, you should be able to understand the emotion involved. I pray, more than anything, that he and his family can forgive one another and move past this.

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

      ...come on Byron...I've got 3 kids...two teenagers...a shoe has never been considered.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • just sayin

      If they can get past the abuse then there is the brainwashing God/Jesus delusion the child will have to get past at some point.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Byron

      Again, Jeff, I'm not talking about the action. I'm talking about the emotions. I have raised three children through their teens and I would never put my hands on them, but I've been angry enoough to. I'm just saying nobody can upset you more than the ones you love.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Redneck Joe

      A shoe!? What is this amatuer hour! You use belt, it stings more and makes sure the kid don't forget who the parent now.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Jomm

      I agree Byron. And Jeff, you can not compare you kids to another. ALL Kids are different. Some kids you can only talk to and some kids you can NOT talk. I can truly say if time out would have been used on some of my siblings,they would have laughed in my mother's face.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Jeff

      I get your point Byron...and you're right, our families can drive us crazy. Still though, a shoe?

      June 8, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Katja

      This news article is not going to change my opinon of this man.. He may be a pastor but he is also only a human being like all of us. Nobody is perfect, not even Pastors. As for his daughter, she must be a defiant teenage girl. Who knows what she put him through!

      June 8, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  16. bexon

    She should have her bags packed to leave with the deputies when they came to the house.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  17. dickerson

    She blessed I aint her dad. I woukd have let the little ____- take her shi... and hit the road. She went to the party and prob got nailed by a dike. Im either goinng to have children that listen, or no children. So if this means beating dat ass. then that ass shall be worneth out.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Jeff

      ...here's a vote for you to not have children...

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

      Please get neutered.

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

      yes do all of society a favor and jump off a cliff

      June 8, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • sadie456

      Your comment makes you sound like a violent control freak. A little humility and self-examination would not go amiss.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Really?

      You are a DICKERSON!

      June 8, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  18. Alexalex

    I wonder how many of the young female (or male?) members of his mega church mega-smoke his po-l-e.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • ramiro

      Your an IDIOT!!

      June 8, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  19. pat

    Tax all churches to death.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Jeff

      I'm fine with churches being taxed...but then stop spending my tax dollars on Planned Parenthood, deal?

      June 8, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Not Fat

      I agree 100%. Time to tax "churches." I'm sick of their cost to society.

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

      ithink Jeff's right. We should send the hypothetical taxes from the church on P P

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

      Cost to society lol if anything churchs help in society in helping people in need who have u helped lately?

      June 8, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • The Dude

      I so agree. If we taxed these liars the national debt would go away. They do not deserve to be tax exempt. Murders, and rapists. Churches suck!

      June 8, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Kevin in Texas

      I think con-men should go to jail. But tax is a good start

      June 8, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  20. Evangelical

    This man is innocent until proven guilty. We don't know all the facts nor do we know if the daughter is lying. Deputies noticed a scratch on her neck ... not bruising. I don't agree with megachurch Christianity, but I will not condemn a man until all the facts are in. Shame on you who are using this to attack Christianity.

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

      ...come on Evangelical...you know CNN was going to find a way to get a Christian article in the news today. It's an automatic for these to get 30+ pages of comments.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Re' Solomon

      Agreed.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • just sayin

      We can't feed you guys to the lions anymore. Got to do what we can do for entertainment at the sheep's expense.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      "I don't agree with megachurch Christianity.." Why? Just because most 'mega churches' teach the 'Love of God' instead of 'Hell and Damnation' doesn't make them 'bad'. Most people know when they are sinning, they don't need someone kicking them when they're down. They are looking for the assurance that God loves them (not the sin), and that's what draws the people....that's what drew the people to Jesus as well, listening to how our Heavenly Father loves us. Duhhh

      June 8, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • joejeffrey

      Evangelical, try reading the article and the posts before you whine about people attacking Christianity. No one here has done that. Dollar's a jerk, his teachings are lies, and he beats his daughter because she wants to go to a party. That has nothing to do with Christianity. Nor does Creflo Dollar.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:57 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.