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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. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes diapers.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • One one

      It's not healthy to tell children that god might send them to hell if they displease him. You lick the boots of an evil doctrine.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Ingy

      Why would anyone have children if they truly believe that life is a test and if you fail it you will burn in hell for eternity? With all of the reckless breeding going on, I'm guessing few people actually believe this antiquated narrative.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • actually the only one

      who mentioned hell is one one.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Proven completely

      June 8, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Ashley

      There sure have been a lot of cuckoo's from churches in the news lately. These people have gone ape crazy.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  2. elvira daluyin

    it was sad,I can't believed Dollar did this to his daughter.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Devin

      A 900 ft. Jesus told him to do it.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    When will people realize the only difference between you and a pastor is they collect your dollars. Show me where in the Bible Jesus had a megachurch(s), a mansion(s), rolls royce(s), private airplane(s), millions in the bank, designer clothes and their children enjoy the same without working. Read about the History of your religion and how and why it's was sold to you and teach the truth to your children when you learn.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  4. Crizz Flow Diznollah

    B!tch betta have my money!

    June 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Ingy

      Bond money?

      June 8, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  5. SMH

    Wow there seems to be a lot of deep seated hatred for kids in here.
    Is it really so hard to believe that the child could be the one being abused? There is a difference between beating a child and punishing them. Punishment is something you could do in public to another grown person and not go to jail for. Beatings are the opposite of that. We have a real tough guy here. He charged his daughter. Slammed her head into the wall and had his hands around her neck choking her. Then since that was not enough he beat on her with a shoe.
    Just because you had some hick ass, backwoods upbringing doesn’t make what he did acceptable. I do not remember reading about Jesus beating on any of his disciples or children. In fact the only people I can recall him hitting were the people in the temple that were conducting business in there as he ran them out. If I was to square off with you, charge you and slam you into the wall and choke you I am sure you would not be walking away from that thinking about what I might have saved you from. He is damn lucky he didn't kill her in his little outburst. What a coward he is.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Dana

      Please!!!!! Religious folk all over the planet KILL in the name of God everyday. Everyone thinks their religion has the only path to heaven. They need to put down the bible and enroll in higher education. Science is my God. Nature is my God. The supernatural and the metaphysical are nothing to praise.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  6. Jim

    "I would never use my hand to ever cause bodily harm to my children." Is that because you used a shoe?

    June 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  7. Anthony P. Ismael

    At 15 years old, this kid has no business going to a party at 1am. children should not be abused, but the line has to be drawn somewhere. I bet she will no longer be attending any more 1am bashes.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  8. ItSOnLyME

    How utterly appropriate a name for a "megachurch" "minister".

    June 8, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Sam

      I see he wants to handle this privately at home so that the millions keep rolling in. Best to sweep this under the rug quickly.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  9. Mr Chihuahua

    I hope the pastor dies of AIDS lol!

    June 8, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  10. Kelly

    The church is nothing but a corrupt, money hungry system. It's sick and sad that so many fall victim to it.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Sam

      People say they believe in an afterlife, but they don't really believe it. They are just worried about burning for eternity, so they say they believe. Even the most non religious will answer untruthfully when asked about church affiliation. They don't want to be seen as something other than a believer in front of believers. I say stand your ground and point out the ridiculous nature of religion. Anything that is used to keep gay Americans from participating fully in life is nothing but a mafia controlled freak show.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  11. RLP

    I watched some of his members defend Creflo on the news and they seem to be brain washed. Creflo is human and makes mistakes like the rest of us but when your members dont believe that he is human that is a problem. When members will fight you because people disagree with Creflo's teachings is a problem.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Krep1

      Who said he made a mistake?? She rose up and got handeled!! I'd do the same thing!!

      June 8, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Alex

      Congregations always defend their pastors – even when they send partially nude text messages to the young men in the congregation (Pastor Long). Even when they have ideas about rounding up all gay people in a fence and watching them die off. (North Carolina preacher).

      June 8, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  12. Carl

    As a dad of a daughter, I would say at “15 years old” “its hands off”. If u can’t find other means of dealing with your daughter at 15, u lost a long time ago. His wife was there. Its hard to make up for what didn't happen 10 years ago.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • RLP

      AMEN.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  13. Krep1

    CNN...you are weak in how you attacked this man's character. Your hypocrisy is sickenening. You know NOTHING about how the Kingdom of God works, and furthermore there is no such thing as a "prosperity gospel"! Our father owns everything and his children are blessed after him. It's not a Creflo thing....it's just how it is in our kingdom!!

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

      Reporting the facts is an attack on "this man's character"?

      June 8, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Kelly

      You are ill and need some help.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • ItSOnLyME

      You are a brainwashed drone. The story is reporting the facts that exist.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Krep1

      This story is meant to sucker you into having the opinion they want you to have....

      June 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • One one

      And YOU know how the kingdom of god works? Care to explain just how you know?

      June 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Sam

      Knee jerk defense of a child beater and choker. Interesting!!!!

      June 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Marrod

      What CNN does know is that the so called pastor was arrested and that is something no one can dispute. Another person using the word of GOD to become filthy rich. Isn't it funny that all of these pastors that promote prosperity without being a shame are always filthy rich. Maybe they feel guilty for brainwashing the church members and that is a way of preaching their way out of it.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Dana

      CNN may not know anything about the Kingdom of God, but they can sure read a rap sheet.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  14. BigRed

    End all tax breaks for Churches.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Hamlet

      And end all tax breaks for any non-profit, like planned parenthood

      June 8, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • Destroy

      The most efficient organization that cares for real needs at the time of natural and man made disasters. Take away the resources that The church uses to clothe the naked feed the hungry and house the homeless. What a tower of compassion you are.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  15. Tom

    Spare the child abuse and spoil the child! Christianity is going to Hell.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  16. Krep1

    I'm not for violence, but our society has emboldened our children to think they can "rise up" against their parents. Who didn't feel like calling 911 when their parents beat their a** , but we would not dare call the police because at some point we realized we were wrong, and the parents that put a roof over our head and fed us deserve RESPECT, even if we didn't like their punishment. NO means NO, and that should have been the end of that situation. But to rise up to your parents, you deserved to get handled!! Sorry, I'm with Creflo on this one!!

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

      So Krep, the Christian thing to do if your daughter defies you is choke her with both hands, then throw her to the ground and beat her with any object you happen to find. What if she wasn't able to get to a phone to call 911?

      Given that the bible says that he should and MUST kill her for being disobedient I guess it's better than that.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Sam

      You can't justify choking a 15 year old, now matter how hard you try. This is something that goes on in the Islamic world. We don't take kindly to this behavior. That is why the law is not on your side.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Krep1

      I said I don't condone violence but If I have a child defying me and rising up, I will let them know who is the parent of the house. Where is your defiance against this child rising up?

      June 8, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Marrod

      This man seems to have a past of other types of troubles though. I smell a snake.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  17. Namedd

    My mother or father would have beat the Hell out of us if we went somewhere we were told not too . According to reports it says a scratch was on her neck .

    June 8, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • ItSOnLyME

      I'm very sorry you grew up in an abusive situation. Does that mean abuse is right for everyone?

      June 8, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    June 8, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Mavent

      Yes, we get it. You're mentally disturbed. Thanks for sharing. I'm religious, and even I think you're an ldiot.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • no religious

      would ever oppose prayer. You are a fraud.

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

      I'll pray that you become an atheist.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Those that know God

      Can never be taken from Him.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  19. Butch Johnson

    Another snake oil salesman in a long line of them. And for those who fell for Mr. Greenbucks: "There's a sucker born every minute."
    Atheism purifies the mind of the god delusion!

    June 8, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • and causes the soul

      to rot

      June 8, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Ingy

      I was born with a moral compass. I don't need a charlatan pointing the way to goodness for a buck.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  20. Elliot

    Pasor Dollar!? Hahahah, gimme yo' money foo.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:06 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.