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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. Iceman777

    If this was a white mega-church pastor it would not be news.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      You've never seen a story about a white pastor/priest being an abusive hypocrite? Don't visit CNN much do you?

      June 8, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • bevy

      The goal of CNN is to keep them dishonest.

      June 9, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
  2. southernwonder

    first the devil came and got hold of the child, and then he went for the dad.
    in christianity it is never your fault. it is always a bogeyman they call devil and god.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  3. I_whoop_my_kids

    Since she is old enough to tell her father where she will and and will not go...she seems to think she's grown now.

    Then perhaps its time to cut off the closets full of clothes he has provided, donate those clothes to charity....no cute purses, no cute shoes.

    Cut off the cable tv, computers, cellphones, and internet (that he pays for).
    Cut out those big beautifull bedrooms – and leave a bed and dressor.

    No going to the salon to get expensive hairdos, buy her a perm – or learn to use the old school "hot comb".

    After getting a tase of what its like not to have all the blessings and luxuries of being Creflo's daughter....we'll see how how long this ungratefull child will go without apologizing.

    Perhaps a little time without the benefit of this father will give a lesson in respect of what she has with him.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Perhaps it would've been a good idea for him to try your suggestions first!?

      June 8, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  4. big mack

    This guys are so concentrated on money, they forget about family. This guys are world wolfs. May God have mercy on us.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  5. chris516

    OTOH I am astonished that he would do something like that.

    At the same time, Creflo Dollar has two things going against from birth, where the legal system is concerned, being African-American and being male. If the roles were reversed where he was the teen and his daughter was his mother, it is pretty much guaranteed by the 'system', that she would not be villified in the public like he is being villified.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  6. Fiona

    At first I thought this was a parent who had been physically punished as a child passing that along to his own kid, but choking. That is one sick ba****d.

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

      CNN did not report that you were there.

      June 9, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  7. MK

    Every generation insists that teens are disrespectful and unruly and that THEY were much better behaved:

    "I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words... When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise [disrespectful] and impatient of restraint" (Hesiod, 8th century BC)."

    ""The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, they show disrespect to their elders.... They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and are tyrants over their teachers." – Socrates

    June 8, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  8. Nii

    I became a civil engineer through the determination it taught me! I don't think about my rights alone but my responsibilities and I strive to avoid jail always! Abuse is different from punishment! In the world it takes place with a gay cellmate feeling ur ass! I'll take a knock from my dad for that

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

      Sounds to me that he made the ultimate sacrifice to keep his daughter safe. Perhaps the outcome would be different had he not intervened.

      June 9, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
  9. phyllis jones

    look people the devil got demons in everybody you think just because everybody is doing something its right.Sin Is Sin. and thats how the devil keep you from God.Dr. Dollar love that girl with all his heart and will never do nothing to hurt her. What a 15 years old girl is doing try to go to a party at 1am He was doing what a father do. The bible say children, obey your parents when he said no that should have been the end of that

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

      Please tell me English isn't your first language.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      You are a horrible human being.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Red

      I'm sorry but the story I got was that ol'Creflo didn't want anyone else tapping his private stock.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      What kind of cognitive dissonance is required to say that a man who just choked and beat his child would "never to nothing to hurt her" ??

      June 8, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Red

      Well Phyllis, answer the Doc.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  10. OldMo

    Dolla dolla bill y'all!

    June 8, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  11. Sheldon

    Why, why, why, why am I NOT surprised!!!

    June 8, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • bevy

      Because you are a negative Republican or from a culture that endorsed your tantrums as a child.

      June 9, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  12. MK

    This girl's discipline issues started WAY before this party incident. A child's discipline problems are almost always directly related to how the parents treated them from day one. You want respect? You give it first.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      correct, a good parent doesn't just one day decide to smack their kid around .. this is just another day in a long history of poor parenting ability.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  13. Before you cast the first stone...

    Have you dealt with a teenager lately?

    June 8, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • MK

      YES! I have two and they are wonderful individuals whom I have never laid a hand on.

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

      Perhaps she is apart of the loss generation that is possessed by Rap culture that encourage teenagers to make stupid choices.

      June 9, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
  14. Fignewton

    People that say they are Christian and act like this is sad! I'm spiritual my heart tells me what's right and what's wrong. Christians say one thing and do another. I love God and his kid Jesus but I'm not gonna sit in a building and have a someone say things to make me feel guilty and then they act another way outside of church!! It's easy to survive today's time. Don't steal don't lie don't kill treat everyone the same and be nice and enjoy life.

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

      FIGNEWTON
      Excellent choice living your life but what will be best is u teaching people your spirituality so that they can be spiritual Christians u can be proud of rather than religious ones u wud rather avoid! I love u as myself hope u share the love with someone else!

      June 8, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • onliberty

      Unfortunately, the Word of Faith movement, to which this pastor belongs, has distorted Christianity and confused many people. The Prosperity Gospel is nothing more than an attempt by wolves in sheeps clothing to prey upon people's confusion and extract money from them in the process. It is so far from true, biblical Christianity.

      Believe me, followers of biblical Christianity are just as disappointed and disgusted as others. It's too bad the culture at large isn't able to distinguish between the Prosperity Gospel and the true gospel. They are as different as night and day.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • bevy

      Some Christians are nothing more than civilized Talibans.

      June 9, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  15. Top dog

    See people see one side of things. I am a firm beleiver if you dont rise your kids and hold the accountable someone else will. Jail want give you time to run and call the police. That's why you have kids out there with no respect for adults now.

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

      Right!! I stand on tht as well spoil tht rod spare the child nd ppl r scared of their children now days tht y their r so many disrespectful children

      June 8, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Ann

      Beating a child will not gain you respect.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  16. NeutralityAct

    What a complete idiot. Drives a Maybach, lives in a huge mansion, last name of Dollar. LMFAO!

    June 8, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Colin Morgan

      Doesn't sound like an idiot, sounds like he knows how to play the system!!

      June 8, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      By system he means the sheep from his parish.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Red

      The man is one dumb SOB but he's smart enough to have thousands upon thousands of dumber followers..Please don't come back with "You jealous or something?" That turkey leg has nothing i'm interested in.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • bevy

      Monetary benefits are worthless when your child is in danger or about to comprimise her safety.

      June 9, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
  17. Martin

    spare the rod and spoil the child their is alway two sides to a story . He is not God so he walk and talk just like all of us and able to make mistake just like all of us . he with out sin cast the first stone. People stop build these men up like they are God and cant make mistakes. Because unless you live on a island by yourself and their is no issues of life to deal with you well go through all kind of situations in your life that well cause you to make some good choices and some bad ones. So if you have a child today in a cage they well want to do somethings you dont want them to do and they well fight you, but like old people back in the days well tell you i brought you in this world and i can take you out it was a saying that you well respect me. Lets be real back in the days. If you dont fight for them the pimp well

    June 8, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      The problem with religious leader hypocrisy is that "they" lay claim to moral authority! One cannot claim moral authority the act in an immoral manner and claim "i'm not perfect" when convenient. Humans are human and I agree, attending thier church and listening as though they have anything of value to tell you that you don't already know IS placing them on a pedestal.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  18. MK

    For all you who insist that beating a child is effective discipline...how's that working for ya?

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

      Worked pretty well for me and my 5 AFRICAN AMERICAN brothers. All went through highschool NONE in jail. NONE with children out of wedlock. NONE STRUNG OUT ON DRUGS. ALL working.

      Now let me say this. Beatings weren't regular, as much as they were due to the severety of the crime. basically, repeat offenses, and offenses causing significant harm or monetary damage to others and their property is what earned us the belt in those days. So use wisdom with punishment, and NEVER do it while angry. it takes your focus off of the purpose of the punishment, and places the child in harm's way. Otherwise, beatings are very appropriate, where the situation requires it.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      >repeat offenses, and offenses causing significant harm or monetary damage to others

      It's doesn't sound like it worked at all actually.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • sleepytime

      Hey guess what DCinAllen? Neither my brother nor I have ever been in jail or strung out on drugs or had kids out of wedlock. We both finished high school and college. Neither of us were beaten by our parents.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • bevy

      It's not working for the Hockey moms. It's like smearing lipstick on your daughter's dress.

      June 9, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
  19. Alisa

    Another religious zealot that's all do as I say, not as I do.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  20. Robert Brown

    Isaiah 55
    1Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

    2Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Colin Morgan

      Who you callin a ho?

      June 8, 2012 at 4:08 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.