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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. JV

    I find it fascinating that people on here are blaming the child. Even IF she "back talked" she didn't deserve to be beaten (and yes I do have children). Ever think of actually believing her and her sister? Adults don't listen anymore and think they know everything. Remember all adults too were children. Hypocrits...

    June 8, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • I_whoop_my_kids

      Did you know the daughter hit her father? What would you do if your child hit you?

      June 8, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • MaryM

      Whoop, did you even READ the article? The Older sister verified the Daughters statement that she was choked and beaten.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Jomm

      exactly whoop my kids. These folks can say what they want. They do not know this kid and working with these youths nowadays, many parents need to go back to the old time way. The PROOF of what is working is how these kids act nowadays. NO respect. NO respect of adults, NO respect of the LAW, NO respect of teachers,. etc. I can go on.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Jomm

      MaryM did the sister tell WHY? Kids have a way of leaving off info UNTIL they are confronted.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • ME II

      "Did you know the daughter hit her father? What would you do if your child hit you?"

      I've heard of rationalization, but this is amazing...
      She's a 15 year old girl and he's a full grown man, what could she have possibly done to cause this kind of reaction? pulled a gun, or a knife?

      June 8, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Jomm, there is no possible valid reason for one person to beat and attempt to kill their child. None. Ever.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Joe from Mo

      Primewonk, well, excepting religion that is. Christianity has lots of episodes of parents trying to kill kids, and each other, younameit...

      June 8, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  2. TexAnne

    This guy's megachurch reminds me of the cult church in Southlake Texas. Gateway Church. (And growing to other cities tool, unfortunately) It occupies a gigantic piece of prime land and has just about everything on the "campus" to manipulate your brain (and your children's brains) from dawn til dusk 365 days a year. And it's all under the "tax free" guise of a church. When your campus is the size of a small town & has huge decorative rock walls around the entrance that cost more than most people ever make in a lifetime, something is amiss. When you have every kind of sports program, drama & arts programs, a full television studio, a movie theatre, a cafe, a bookstore the size of Barnes & Noble, trips all over the world, and a "kids center" that rivals a small Disneyland (and is called God's Amazement Park), something is amiss. How people can get themselves sucked into this stuff is beyond me. Don't they see what a narcisstic money grabbing hoax this is? And the leaders of these megachurches... yeah, they usually live in some multi million dollar estate and have a half dozen luxury cars in the garage & a private jet at their disposal. Yet the "flock" doesn't seem to see anything wrong with that picture.
    The best preacher I've ever heard preached from a little 130 seat church, lived in a 40 yr. old 3 bedroom house where he had to go out & manually move his water hose & personally mow his lawn & do his own maintenance & repairs. He didn't need a 1.2 million square foot monstrosity to prove his worth as a preacher.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • I_whoop_my_kids

      and how many souls have you saved this year?

      June 8, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Save a "soul" from what whoop?

      June 8, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • TexAnne

      To: "I_whoop_my_kids"
      Anybody who uses a name like "I_whoop_my_kids" has already identified himself to be a few crayons short of a full box.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Philojazz

      This reply is directed @ I_whoop_my_kids

      To answer your question, "Same as Mr Dollar....same as anyone...NONE. No such thing."

      Go write another check to some evangelical scoundrel if it makes you feel good.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • I_whoop_my_kids

      And what scientific peer reviewed study have you read that states correction is wrong for children. Not every child needs a "whoopin" but mine did and there 100k salaries and me sitting in Jamaica typing this is proof enough.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • TexAnne

      To "whoop"- So now you're in Jamaica?? A few posts down you said you were in the Bahamas. Make up your mind, doofus.
      And btw– if you think $100K salary is impressive, you would be blown away by what my son makes. So hah ha, that makes me a better parent than you according to YOUR way of thinking.
      Grow up dude. Get a life.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Joe from Mo

      whoopie just got caught lying. Good catch TexAnne.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  3. Randy

    Well this is normal for christian cookoos. God prolly told him to beat the heck out her. If you really think about it..The whole bible is a farce!! a bunch of stories written by men-for men..It is nothing but contradiction..

    June 8, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Jomm

      And you are proof of idoits.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  4. Talmonis

    Aaaah fundies. Only you can try so hard to make the mental gymnastics needed to justify beating your wives and children for percieved slights. You have to be the most hateful group of backwards morons to ever disgrace our country with your presence. Here's a suggestion: The next time you think you're a "big man" for beating a little girl or your wife, how about you try that with another man? Or better yet, try to be a "big man" with some of those nice boys and girls in blue. I'm sure they'll be "gentle".

    June 8, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  5. JJ

    Creflo Dollar??? How did a chump player with a name like that become a "megachurch pastor"?

    June 8, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Pope Mobile on 22's

      People are idiots.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • liz48

      His daughter was a tool of the devil to bring her father down. The use of satan of people to destroy people through their own minds or through others, happens all the time. A follower of the Lord Jesus is instructed strongly to be alert for such attacks. The most difficult to guard against are those attacks that come from those closest to you and with whom you have an emotional connection, like a child or spouse.

      satan, The Lord Jesus said, comes to kill, steal and destroy. Anything that destroys your peace or anything that will otherwise bring you joy, peace, goodness, success and prosperity is of satan – the devil. See John 10:10, 3John2, Proverbs 10:22 – The Lord, this proverb says, gives wealth and adds no sorrow with it.

      Wealth is G-d's Will for mankind. It is wealth earned by worshiping the devil or dishonoring G-d that we are warned against, as it will destroy those who have it.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Talmonis

      You people are certifiable. We need a nice pogrom to remove all of the fundies from our society. Pack 'em onto ships and send them to the "Holy land". Let them all sort out their monothiesm together.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Joe from Mo

      lizzer, seems like your god wasn't there to help defend that innocent child from the devil then. As usual. So what does your god actually do, all day? Anything? Oh, and lay out some of that proof stuff when you answerve.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Red

      Liz..........remember Frank from Everybody Loves Raymond? H O L Y C R A P!

      June 8, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  6. Mold

    What does education has to do with child-rearing? If this were so no educated parents children would be incarcirated or on the drugs. or the many other vices the world has to offer. The Bible(yes, I did say "Bible" says we art to train up a child the way he should go and when he gets old he will not depart from it." Say or do as you may. Hide behind your computer screen and fuss and cuss at each other all you want to, but be assured you will give an account to every evil word typed or spoken by you, whether you believe God or the Bible is real or not. I will leave that decision up to you. However, soon you will be held accountable for every word that you hid behind the screen and typed, notice I did not say later, I said soon. For that a man soweth, that so he also reap. None of us know the full story, for we were not there, and had we been there only God(yes, I did say "god" truly knows each of our hearts. Ask yourself the question "Were it me or a family member in this situation what would I want others to say about it?" If truth be told most of our answers would be we would want mercy shown and nothing said. We all have enough of our own business to mind and take care of rather than hide behind the computer, throwing rocks and hiding our hands(faces and real names). If we don't God(there goes that hated word again) can and will see that we get some. I have a family member that all their family did was mettle in other people business(knew the answer to why what happened to who and what they would have done about it. I warned them about the danger of this(brings judgement upon the ones judging house, always," but they refused to listen(to hear is one thing, to listen is another) well, lo and behold for the last seven moths it has been raining in their lives. Wonder what is being said about them and their situations? I can tell you "The same things they were saying when it happened to their fellowman. No more or no less, God will see to it. Please, do not waste your precious time hiding behind your computer answering me with your vile comments, And as I close I wish you all the best life has to offer. Read and enjoy the news all you want to, but take it as what it is "News," and "Watch Yourself all 24/7 of each day, Peace.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  7. Freedom From Religion

    I know it says in the Bible somewhere "spare the rod, spoil the child," or something similar, but that advice so contradicts what we all know to be the right thing to do with our children. Hostility is NEVER the answer . . . in any situation!

    I've read the Bible and hostility is a common occurrence in it (as well as other things that contradict my sense of right and wrong), which caused me years ago to question religiosity because of the many confusing and/or contradictory "ideals" written in the "Greatest Story Ever Told."

    These "contradictory statements" in the Bible and other "holy" books are completely "open to interpretation" - it's the only way to make any sense of the writings - and, therefore, religion is exactly the source of a whole lot of problems in the world today because of interpretations (or misinterpretations, depending on how YOU look at it)!

    I realize that America was founded on religious freedom (which includes the right to NOT be religious), but I have to wonder if our forefathers or any of you religious folks have actually READ these books you believe in so wholeheartedly!

    June 8, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Jomm

      Well we live in a hostial society. even look at the comments about someone's freedom of religion.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Joe from Mo

      just a new avenue. Old societies didn't have wordpress to be hostile and rant on, so they used pitchforks...

      June 8, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  8. Eddie O.

    I bet Taffy no laughy at his stunt!

    June 8, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  9. DuhhhUidiot

    Is it time for some Anger Management classes?

    June 8, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Joe from Mo

      Sure ain't time for bible classes. Kid 'd be dead by now with that.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • liz48

      No, it is time for his daughter to get out of her selfish, parent dishonoring lifestyle, which is an hallmark of teens and young people today!

      June 8, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Joe from Mo

      religion still be doin the nasties like olde times though.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  10. Creflo is a thief

    All you fools that follow this fool should learn a lesson. Money should not be a primary focus of your life or your religion; otherwise money becomes the religion. Money is a concept created by man not God. Creflo evidently could not buy or was not “anointed” with a happy home otherwise there would not be this horrendous mug shot on CNN. God is Love. Peace.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Joe from Mo

      God is nothing. Ain't no god. Peas.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • I_whoop_my_kids

      Hahaha these youngsters....So now pastors are these perfect beings....hahah that's news to me.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Jomm

      Some folks will can you the same thing.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  11. I_whoop_my_kids

    @Pander Bear LOL at 62 with my experience you think I need help. Hahaha note this response is being typed as I lounge in a chair in the Bahamas. Keep dreaming youngster you will get here one day.

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

      Yeah, sure, you're in the Bahamas. Ha! Grow up hon. Get a life.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  12. Princecharming

    All you fools that follow this fool should learn a lesson. Money should not be a primary focus of your life or your religion; otherwise money becomes the religion. Money is a concept created by man not God. Creflo evidently could not buy or was not “anointed” with a happy home otherwise there we not be this horrendous mug shot on CNN. God is Love. Peace.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Joe from Mo

      God is nothing. Ain't no god. Peas to you. Carrots for me.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  13. MaryM

    For all you "Christians" that think it is ok to beat and choke your child, think again. The long arm of the law and child protective services are watching you. Just like the child abuse in the church FINALLY was exposed, so will you be exposed

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

      She's upset because she didn't get her way. And called the cops. Kids tend to exaggerate you know. You have kids?

      June 8, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • MaryM

      Whoop if you would READ the article you will see that the Older sister verified the younger girls story.
      May God protect your children

      June 8, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Joe from Mo

      MaryM no god ever protected anything, far's we can tell.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  14. Pander Bear

    Wow! Lots of members of Reverend Greed's superchurch obviously posting here today, as evidenced by their apologist nonsense and incredibly poor spelling.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • I_whoop_my_kids

      Do you have kids?

      June 8, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Redneck Joe

      Yeah, do you have kids???Cus they a hand full. If ya had a brain ya would know this.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • I_whoop_my_kids

      Hahahaa If you do have kids they run you.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  15. Dude

    "Christian" is just another word for "hypocrite"

    June 8, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Hypocrystian

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

      Not all Christians are hypocrites. It would be like me saying all people with the ID Dude are Idiots.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Jomm

      MANKIND is HYPOCRITES. Same as you judge christians, you are full of it as well. You say Christians are this and that YET if you get into trouble you will call a christian to pray for you.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  16. This is Creflo Dollar Jr.

    ....... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiXyOHU0An8 .......

    June 8, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  17. WillieLove

    he better get right with God and turn from his greed and start teaching the bible right.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Joe from Mo

      Nah teaching bible would make him violent as well as greedy.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  18. JWR

    What is a 15 year old doing arguing with their parents. NO has always meant NO with no arguments or backtalk. He probably saved her life from some "not let into the party, drive-by thugs". This is a sad commentary on teenagers who in 15 years think they know what's best for them.

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

      Hope no kids have you as a parent!!!!! OMG!!!!

      June 8, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Joe from Mo

      I talk back to you. Ha.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • liz48

      I know another church kid who called the police when her father caught her at home with a man alone....she accused the father of the worst things; and the man, was devastated...

      June 8, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • liz48

      Seek G-d and His Word. I honor Creflo Dollar, but I am safe to discern facts, because The Lord Jesus is My Lord and not a church or person.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Joe from Mo

      That'd be your problem right there liz48. Jesus is long dead and moldy. Never was a god.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  19. Misha

    Children are mouthy creatures, regardless of the parents status in life. You better whip them before the police get to them and they might not be so loving.

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

      Adults are even mouthier

      June 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Creflo is a thief

      Yes, that's great you go to jail to keep them out of jail. Really I don't that is a good plan. She evidently does not respect him; so the question is why did it come to this????

      June 8, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  20. If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

    CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories
    I guess the "faith" angle behind this one is, spare the rod and spoil the child.

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

      Its spoil the rod spare the child meanin beat tht butt teach ur children rite frm wrng no1 is exempt frm the tempting of the devil Jesus was tempted we dnt kno wat tht lil girl did r said nd I'm sure he feels bad tht it happen the way it did wit his child its sad tht ppl r really blowin tis out of the water as if they never had prblms wit their own children the only difference between tis man nd the next is he is preachin the word nd he has money God did say touch not my anointed I c ppl have their mouth all ova his child God have mercy on them all

      June 8, 2012 at 3:53 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.