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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. Dan586

    How can anyone even attend these Mega Churches ? Just selling religion for profit

    June 8, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  2. sleepytime

    Ah the clergy, always so classy.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  3. Phil V.

    Yes, a carpenter's son who had no real posessions, and who reached out to people from all walks of life as a beacon of simplicity and kindness, would really approve of a multi-million/billion dollar enterprise that uses him as a fundraiser.

    Doing public service means very little when you're enriching yourself as a business. Overblown churches are so far away from the message of Jesus it's ludicrous. If you think for one minute that Jesus wants you to be rich, then you are either a rich person looking to validate your greed, or a poor person looking to validate your desire. Someone, please – tax these businesses and give them a break for only the charity work. Let's see how they do.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Mark

      Dead on with that bro!

      June 8, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Al

      Jesus was loaded. He had a treasurer (Judas). The richest man in the city gave him half of what he owned. The scriptures even say that though Jesus was rich he became poor so that you can be rich.

      June 9, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  4. Nick

    Looks like OJ's Prison picture but with a mustache...

    June 8, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  5. Dan586

    MEGA CHURCHES = SCAM ARTIST

    June 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Adam C

      You can drop the mega and your statement is just as true.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Anita Brooks

      Fool, what does disciplining your rebelious child have to do with a megachurch. You and folk like you will be the FIRST to sentence her to a life in prison if she was to break the law with a major crime. Fool....

      June 9, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • Tom Peters

      Interesting. I didn't beat a single one of my 7 kids, and none of them have turned to a life of crime. They all have well adjusted children of there own who are treated with respect and love, not a belt and fear.

      June 9, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  6. if it looks like a Zombie ...then chances are ....it is.

    Why is it always the self-proclaimed?

    June 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  7. Nicole

    Getting arrested DOES NOT and WILL NOT remove the fact that this is a man of God. Where was it written that pastors must not discipline their children??????? His daughter should be ashamed of herself.....

    June 8, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Talmonis

      You should be ashamed of yourself for endorsing a man to choke a defenseless girl. Back under your bridge fundie, civilized people are talking.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • sleepytime

      Yeah, his daughter should be ashamed of herself for being attacked by a psycho "man of god".

      June 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • rickp530@sbcglobal.net

      I guess you call choking a child, throwing a child to the floor, and beating the child with a shoe discipline. Do you do this to your children? Grounding and taking away priviliges always seems to work better. I had an abusive mother that beat me with her fists, high heel shoes, cursed, and pulled guns on me. My early childhood life has haunted me all my life. My mother and I do not speak and have not spoken to each other for over 30 years. Don't beat your children. You just may loose them for life.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • What?

      I have no idea what you are talking about? Where does it say in any Bible to beat the crap out of your kid and nearly kill them to make a point. I must have missed that somewhere in my 24 years of studying the Bible. You are what makes true Christians bad to all media outlets.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Creflo Dollar

      Yeah!! That litul bich shud be punhc'd again tuday jus fo makin me luk bad.

      Now senz me yo munee!

      June 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      his being a man of god DOES NOT and WILL NOT remove the fact that he has been arrested for assault.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Fire And Brimstone

      You need religious detox.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Jordan

      He is not a man of God. If he were around in Numbers 25, he'd have been on the business end of Phineas' spear.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • commonsense2

      Typical reaction from the black church member, the child deserved to be beaten by her father. The victim should be ashamed of being victimized. Do you idiots actually think you are doing good for the people of the Atlanta area? All you are doing is showing people that church is about materialistic things because the last time I checked there isnt ONE white church with a 18 million chapel that looks like a space ship on a hilltop. Why is it you have to turn everything into a bling-bling convention instead of spending part of that 18 million to educate the poor people of Atlanta and its surrounding areas. Altanta has one of the highest crime rates in America yet spending all that money to make your church the most gaudy church on the planet was voted on and approved by the parishoners. Spend the money where it needs to go, education, abuse victims and other more important things affecting the black community. That church should be ashamed of itself, not the daughter being raised by a hypocrit

      June 8, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Sabina

      Are you joking Nicole?

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

      Jeebus loves bling!

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

      He's not very godly given that god himself says that children who disobey their parents MUST be killed. What is his problem with god? God isn't good enough?

      When you learn it's all fairy tales you'll be better off.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Anita Brooks

      Yes, whip that tale, ungrateful, disrespectful...who's going to be there to PICK up the pieces when her life goes all the way down hill, NOT one of you fools....Her Dad and Mom that's who....

      June 9, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • Scott Tibbs is a dummy

      Choking is NOT DISCIPLINE!! Get that through your head!! It is abuse!!

      June 9, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Fritz Hohenheim

      If he was a true man of god, he would follow the bible and stone her to death for disrespecting her parent. Thats what god told us to do.

      June 9, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
  8. Oscar Pitchfork

    GO TO WIKI AND READ THIS GUYS RAP SHEET. IT'S ALLLLLL ABOUT THE MONEY...

    June 8, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • if it looks like a Zombie ...then chances are ....it is.

      didn't need to verify what we already suspect in a lot of churches.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Nick

      Right on Brother!

      June 8, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  9. Prophet

    "Judge not lest thee be judged" eh Rev?! seems like you lost your way to is it a case of "Spare the rod and spoil the child?!" I believe "Vengeance is mine saith the Lord." now I'm guilty of Casting my pearls before swine."

    June 8, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  10. weezer

    You know what the Bible says, "Spare the throat-choking, floor slamming, punching, and shoe-beating, spoil the child"

    June 8, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Phillco

      I just love those hyprocrital so called Christians.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • justsayinnnn

      Actually, the scripture is "He who spares his rod HATES his child." Look it up.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  11. Dean

    I really hope that's not his real name. I'm not sure I would want to take spiritual advice from a guy named Dollar.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Jesus

      His real name is Michael Smith. He legally changed it (and all his childrens) to "Dollar" after he started hauling in all the church "dolla's".

      June 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Dean

      Thank you, Jesus. I always knew I could count on you to have the answers I was looking for. All praise be to you!

      June 9, 2012 at 3:02 am |
  12. Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

    Well the Bible does say to kill disrespectful children.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • derp

      And he couldn't even manage to do that right.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  13. Adam

    Your God does not remit you from the laws of man. It is through these laws that we have crawled from the darkness. Let no supernatural agent stand above the rights of Man. Celestial dictatorship be darned!

    June 8, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
  14. JinTX

    Whatever will those sheeple do now that the leader of their Six Flags Over Jesus is about to be a felon?

    June 8, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      thanks, i now have a vision of a yellow bus pulling up and jesus getting out and dancing to attract followers.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  15. Nick

    Maybe Dollar "Bill" Changer got ahold of a back rock.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
  16. crjskis

    This incident is so unfortunately. I will pray for Pastor Dollar and his family. While I don't support his behavior, this is another reminder that even the most visible and celebrated people fall short. It's not for us to judge, but to be mindful and pray for his shortcomings as well as our own because we all fall short.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • JinTX

      Fall short? You think beating a child is merely falling short? Weak minded Christian.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • martyy

      It absolutely is for us to judge.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • SDAChatt

      There is no good reason to choke your daughter, beat her with a shoe, etc.. If she was telling the truth, the Mr. Dollar needs Anger Management classes. Pastor or not, there must be reactions for every action. Plz get this straight- It's NOT because he claims to be a CHRISTIAN that he supposedly abused his child, flew into a rage!! I saw a post that we "all fal short..." Good grief!!! We have the ability to restrain ourselves!! Don't whine about forgving him for child abuse because "we all make mistakes." The Bible says to abide under the law of the government. No where does it give permission to choke & beat your child. Christians, get some backbone and call "wrong, WRONG." It gives all Christians a bad name. We don't all act and react like Creflo Dollar did. It's against the Christian law as well!! Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath....

      June 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      the hypocrisy is that if the story was about a islamic preacher beating his daughter people like crjskis would be screaming about how it shows how evil islam is.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Fire And Brimstone

      we all fall short.

      Bible speak for excusing bad behavior.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Spiritual Leaders

      You are so right, all we can do is pray for pastor crefllo and his family because it seems as if the whole family need prayer. The bible speaks about a bishop and pastors are suppose to be blameless in all areas of life. 1st Timothy 3:1-7 talks about leaders of the church especially Bishop's and their familes. Please take the time out to read this passage. talking about the role a bishop and elders of the chruch suppose to play. The bishop suppose to have one wife. He must have self-control and be wise. He must be respected by other people and ready to help people. He must not be a man that want to fight. He must not love money. Please read the scripture about the leaders.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  17. A Frayed Knot

    We never did get the whole story on that Florida megachurch pastor, Zachery Tims, who was found dead in New York last year.

    Here's a fairly recent update, where a judge agreed to not allow the cause of death to be published:

    ".... [Tims' mother] Madeline Tims initially told the court that disclosing her 42-year-old son's cause of death would be an emarrasment to her, his children, and his NDCC congregation." –http://www.christianpost.com/news/zachery-tims-cause-of-death-to-remain-sealed-appeals-court-rules-70523/

    PHOOEY...

    June 8, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • joe

      It's pretty obvious that Tims died of a drug overdose, given the evidence they found in his hotel room. He was a "former" addict and apparently fell off the wagon. Trying to hide that fact only makes people suspect it was worse that that.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  18. Tracy Lee

    I am sure he had to apply the ROD...... Can't believe a parent can't even be a parent anymore... He had to do what he had to do...I am sure he had good reason and his daughter did or said something that brought on the wrath of god. Kids need to be disciplined and if talk and reason doesn't work getting GANSTER is necessary. As long as he didn't break anything and she was still conscience I APPROVE !

    June 8, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      I like what Louis C.K. had to say about it.

      "I really think it's crazy that we hit our kids. It really is. Here's the crazy part about it. Kids are the only people in the world that you're allowed to hit. Do you realize that? They're the most vulnerable and they're the most destroyed by being hit, but it's totally OK to hit them. And they're the only ones! If you hit a dog, they f-ing will put you in jail for that s–t."

      June 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • sleepytime

      So you approve of choking children? Why are Christians so violent?

      June 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      So you're all for physical abuse so long as it the victim is left conscious.
      Perhaps next time he should beat her through a telephone book – that way the deep tissue damage won't be visible.
      If his wife gets lippy, do you support him beating her into submission as well? After all, a good Christian wife should submit to her husband in all things.
      I guess it's like the Biblical rule that says a master can mercilessly beat his slave and still be a good person so long as the slave takes more than 48 hrs to die.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • derp

      "As long as he didn't break anything and she was still conscience I APPROVE !"

      This message is approved and supported by the Taliban.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      oh please, most obvious attempt at trolling here so far.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Fire And Brimstone

      The wrath of god.
      Gangster.
      You been listening to hip hop and found a new religion.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • say what??

      I'm going to assume you are a troll. However, there are plenty of "christians" who seem like trolls. "The wrath of God"? I didn't have to choke my sons when I raised them and hey, guess what? They are awesome men today.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Scott Tibbs is a dummy

      Tracy....why don't you come over and I'll put a little 'Cash Flo' on you!!!

      June 9, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  19. b

    Beat her Creflo. Everybody gets spakin's. She will be ok. I don't think it was abuse.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  20. detada

    When a 15 year old talks, they are usually lying.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • tina

      You abuse your kids, don't you, detada? It's a rhetorical question.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Fire And Brimstone

      When a preacher talks, they are usually lying.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:51 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.