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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. marv

    Christians need to wake up, let their eyes be opened. There is an enemy of the body of Christ who wants to bring shame to the body of Christ, he starts from the head, when he can destroy the head he will destroy the body. We need to see whats taking place, and we need to pray for our pastors even if we are not in the same congregation as they, we are the body of Christ, and when a finger hurst, the whole body hurts.
    So lets open our spiritual eyes and see what is going on. For we restle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities powers and the rulers of darkness. So we need to get stronger as christians, and keep praying for each other that we as a body will be strong in all areas of our lives. Pray for the pastor and for his children that what satan meant for evel will turn out to be good, and that God will get glory, and that the enemy of our soul will not laugh at us.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Bob

      That... or your God could get his act together and actually do something about the violence and poverty in the world instead of caring about people's attendance on Sunday.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • fred

      Now how could the goats and sheep separate themselves if not given the opportunity to demonstrate the darkness in their hearts or light in their soul ?

      June 8, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • god

      It is "wrestle", not "restle". And Evel used jump motorcycles, whereas Evil is when you do not use the brain in your head.

      I hate to be the One to tell you, but you are wrong. About everything.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  2. annette cordner

    At 100 am in the morning where is a 15 year old going? that is enough to send a parent crazy if they really care.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • SurRy

      Let me guess: B!tch had it coming?

      June 8, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Be Gone, I don't know you said Jesus to the Christians

      Absolutely.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  3. 1964MM

    The only reason this is a story is because of who he is!! 911 when I was going up would have changed their number from all the calls regarding parents beating their kids because kids was talking back? Really argue with your parents?? NEVER not if you want to see tomorrow. (old folk term) I’m sorry but this not being able to raise your kid with punishment for fear of going to jail? Nonsense. Now I’m not saying that there are some parents don’t deserve to go to jail for beating a child to death (that’s a mental disease and therapy is needed) but this story is ridiculous in my opinion and has nothing to do with being a christian, atheist etc…. FYI – atheist punish there kids also!

    June 8, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  4. JB

    Anyone ever notice that the only ones who seem to profit from Prosperity Gospel are those preaching it? 21st century snake oil.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  5. John of Indiana

    "Good Parenting" like this is why I bought a gun as soon as I was old enough. He hasn't touched me since.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  6. Be Gone, I don't know you said Jesus to the Christians

    Today's children are spoiled, disobedient and disrespectful. Not to defend the pastor but he might have just lost it. Children can push you to the limit.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • SurRy

      Blame, blame, blame. Typical. Everyone is responsible for his or her own actions. No one has the right to put their hands on another person, I don't care how old or what the relationship is.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • Be Gone, I don't know you said Jesus to the Christians

      Then I am assuming you are also against the bombing of another country like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, yemen, Somalia and Libya.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  7. Sam Yaza

    who would want to go to Christian Party,.. Christ was a total buzz kill,... face it she probably wanted to go to a pagan party,.. i mean who doesn't we through the best parties its kinda what were known for

    June 8, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  8. Someone

    It's ironic that religious figures are supposed to be the most respected people in a community yet day after day after day they prove to be the exact opposite. No wonder so many people have stopped believing in these people- I'm happy they have because they act I'm ways that directly comtradict what they preach to people.

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

    Sounds like the entire event got out of hand, BUT...I think of abuse as an on going thing, and this was about a party at 1am, and a 15 year old...so there is room for emotions to get misplaced. When a 15 year is back talking and has decided what she is or isn't going to do...there might have been a temporary moment of male/parent frustration that went too far...

    The fact that she got to a phone and was able to call 911, and they only found a scratch...I am from a real abusive home, where there were black eyes by the time the cops came, if they came–if the neighbors called, so this was emotions run high. I hope this child realizes that the behavoir that got to the point this is in the news can't work, ain't working and that maybe she should consider what life would be like in a (youth) shelter, and consider that if she had just listened in the first place none of this would have happened. And the pastor needs to work on his calm, as she is 15 and this is just the beginning of many days of frustration...maybe she is the wild child, maybe she ain't gonna be as respectful as the 19 year old...they have some healing ahead of them. Where was the mother I wonder when all of this nonsense was going on.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    June 8, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Josh

      So does a lobotomy. Try one.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • SurRy

      Odd, "christianity" doesn't seem to be healthy for this "pastor's" daughter. "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." WWJD?

      June 8, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  11. Be Gone, I don't know you said Jesus to the Christians

    In Kansas (or Arkansas), you can beat your wife but not more than once month.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  12. Be Gone, I don't know you said Jesus to the Christians

    Good thing he only beat her and not "do" her.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  13. Wonder???

    And some people wonder why i HATE preachers and christans

    June 8, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • nope

      nope
      you hate because it is your nature to hate.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  14. Think for yourself

    The law says you don't get to choke people...sorry. It's put there for your protection.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  15. laverne

    I think Dollar is a fraud and wolf in sheeps clothing. God will deal with him on that. However, I am not upset one bit with him on this one. Who rules the world? – Children – Parents pay the bills, feed and clothe them, but they are in charge of the household. They make and break the rules with full support of the law. Then we wonder why crime and the drop-out rate has soared. Without parental discipline (spare the rod, spoil the child) homes and this whole country are destined to chaos. Both of those girls would have to move out of my house. A 15 year old should have been at home asleep in her own bed at 1a.m., not trying to go to a party. Any adult who feels otherwise should be the ones in jail. I can't believe I agree with Dollar but he has my vote on this one. When talking ceases to work – then – "by any means necessary" was the rule in my household. I pay the cost to be the boss.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Be Gone, I don't know you said Jesus to the Christians

      Most Christians preachers are a fraud who love money. And Americans are so gullible that they actually believe that they are pious.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • sleepytime

      FYI: Just because something rhymes doesn't mean it's true.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  16. abbydelabbey

    There is no excuse for this type of behavior. It's assault.and battery. Fine example this so-called Christian has set. Jesus would be soooo proud. Shameful.

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

      "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." Sounds exactly like Jesus

      June 8, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  17. Rob

    I guess god told him to do that.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  18. Pey

    Spare the rod spoil the pastor. I hope he gets a whipping in jail!

    June 8, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      I believe "rods" are often used in prison.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  19. BigRed

    Another heartwarming story from the religion that gives us all the warm fuzzies.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  20. Binks

    I don't ususally comment on these things but I will say that there is a difference between discipline and choking someone. That's what everyone seems to be missing here.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:50 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.