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. grumpymedic

    Funny how churches always say "money is the root of all evil." Yet they need more and more of it. Religion is a disease of hypocricy, greed and ignorance. Nothing more than "good" excuses for peopel to do bad things.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  2. Lisa C.

    Creflo has to mind his temper. But being a mother of a 26 year old son, 20 year daughter, and a 17 year old daughter, how much do you want to bet that the young lady mouthed off at her dad, or had a tantrum over getting yelled at for breaking curfew? You can't completely judge. My friend's 15 year old daughter attacked her own dad, who's on dialysis, for not allowing her to go out with a boy on a school night. She pulled a kitchen knife on him; he went to grab it and to subdue her and she ended up with marks on her chin and her wrists. She's an extremely light complexion girl and if you blow on her she'll bruise. Guess who had to spend the night in jail? Dad. Then the girl would throw a fit, cause her dad and/or older brother to have to grab her in order to control her, then SHE'd call the police whenever she was made to do chores such as cleaning her room, washing dishes on her scheduled night and etc. So now we have a case where there's no real abuse, just a child who's learned that her parents have no real power. Now her parents aren't offered any legal recourse in dealing with her when she runs off to be with the boy, or when she doesn't want to follow her parents rules.

    If an officer encountered your unruly child, by law he as the right to billyclub them, pepperspray them, tazer them, or possibly even shoot them in order to maintain order. Hell, we even have Stand Your Ground laws where people can shoot your kid if they feel threatened, even when the kid is retreating. But parents aren't allowed to control an unruly child or teenager???

    Amazingly though, children who are actually abused are left with their parents more often than not, and a lot of them don't survive.

    I say, if she wants her birthright too soon, give it to her, change the locks, and inform the legal system that they now have a child to raise. Or, drop her hotheaded azz off in another state at a hospital that takes children. Ijs, we have to be able to maintain order in our households, else the police will maintain order on them in the streets.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • JWT

      Having read your statement. I must confess that it is necessary to conclude that you are an idiot.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Lisa C.

      JWT, you have no place, you serve no purpose, and you obviously have no children. Therefore, you're opinion is a waste.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  3. LIlith

    For those who post here that any physical discipline is abuse, I'm glad you choose not to use it since you don't know the difference.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  4. Brian

    Wonder why this doesn't surprise me. Hell must be a nice place when you look at the people who are going to heaven.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  5. Truth

    That is why so many of our children are dying before their time. The Judicial System refuse to let the good parents rear their children. The rod of correction only help our children to become responsible adults.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  6. Paul

    Strange we don't hear all the negatives until one goes public. So many TV preachers start out with good intentions but when the money starts rolling in and the prestige settles in everything falls apart.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Power corrupts ... especially power derived from the use of God(s).

      June 8, 2012 at 4:52 pm |


    June 8, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • RLP

      I agree but it became too aggressive. What if he knock the daughter down and she hit her head and died. What then? There is a way to punish the teenager but choking and knocking down to the floor is not the way.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • sleepytime

      Caps lock: turn it off.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  8. Evangelical

    The Bible is clear: Spare the rod, spoil the child.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • copanut

      As usual, the "evangelicals" are ignorant of their own mythology.

      Contrary to popular belief, this exact statement was not found in the Bible. It was from a poem written by Samual Butler in 1664.

      I'd agree that the general (and sick) sentiment does exist in one line of one proverb. Anyone who thinks that is a solid basis for parenthood has no clue about "family values".

      June 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Bible misquote

      The Bible doesn't say that. Look it up.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • One one

      Actually the bible says if the child is rebellious, he is to be stoned to death. Do you agree with that advice Evangelical ?

      June 8, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  9. copanut

    "Pastor Dollar teaches straight from the Bible and goes through the Bible line upon line-upon-line validating everything he teaches"

    This is stated as if it's a GOOD thing to mindlessly follow a bronze age book full of archaic moralities, offensive deeds, and logical incoherencies wrapped in mythological nonsense.

    Someone previously stated that religion is a disease. I couldn't say it better.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Let revenue streams flow down like living waters!

      “Wow,THAT line sure backs up what I have to say!”
      “And this one, it’ll keep those dollahs rolling in!”
      “Er, well, not so much this one.”
      “And, well, forget this…”
      “Ah, but THIS one shears the sheep, no question!”

      June 8, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  10. Shondra

    Daddies be hitting and choking they kidz up here in tha hood all the time, yo. Ita a black thang, so y'all needs to chill the f out! Damn.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Sara W.

      People be gettin' arrested for beatin' the crap out of they kids all the time, yo! It's a LEGAL thing.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Bert

      You betta hide yo kidz, hide yo wife, and hide yo huzbands 'cause they be beatin erybody up here.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  11. 2 2=Goddidit?

    Wheres the love and acceptance atheists claim to have?

    I see more hatred and steroetypes from them than anyone else

    June 8, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • ME II

      Interesting that you're posting this on this article.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • One one

      Atheists don't preach phoney love and acceptance. We leave that to the Christians.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  12. One one

    Check out vids of him on YouTube. His ministry takes in 80 million a year. He has a private jet, a 3.5 million mansion, and lots of expensive cars. Apparently the religion business is very lucrative. No wonder clergy promotes religion so aggressively. Or, is it that they just like saving souls.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    June 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • sleepytime

      What things does it change?

      June 8, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      I've prayed in full sincerity that you would stop posting this spam but yet here it is again.
      Prayer changes NOTHING ... PROVEN right here.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Maya

      Only for the worse.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things

      June 8, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  14. Whatevah

    Another fine Christian.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  15. blf83

    He's a fraud. What can I say?

    June 8, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  16. Tim Jordan

    Another reason I thank gawd I'm an atheist.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  17. aburt

    this world would be a whole lot better off with out churches

    June 8, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  18. NeonKnight

    $5000 bond!? Seriously!? After you try and choke a person, I don't think you should be allowed to leave the county jail on that little of money AND be allowed to return to the home of the alledged victim. I don't care if it is your child – You go stay somewhere else until this is sorted out, buddy. Did he buy this judge's seat for him or something?

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

      Get a life if it was u u wouldn't b sayin tht u would b holla its my child nd I will do as I feel its so easy 2 say wat u will nd wouldn't do til its u n the hot seat he!! No he ddnt buy the judge seat the judge probably have children nd understand do u y have children did u stp 2 thnk wat ur parents may have went through raising u

      June 8, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • NeonKnight


      Learn how to write – then maybe I'll feel obliged to defend myself against a reasonably intelligent person.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  19. Lilith

    My 3 now adult children all needed a different approach to discipline. #1 needed a hand slap and occaisionally being restrained by holding her, #2 needed only to know my dissapointment and #3 needed one good well timed slap on the kaboose to change her "tude" for the better. What works for one does not work for all, be it verbal, mental or physical punishment.

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

      Now tis is true u have 2 find the rite discipline 4 the situation nd child

      June 8, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  20. Chris

    Does loving loving someone mean I don't tell the truth?

    June 8, 2012 at 4:38 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.