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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. southernwonder

    i can't believe the state arrested him. whatever happened to the separation of church and state? looks like it is a case of church getting separated from the state.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • J.W

      I am hoping that you are just being silly here.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • M Houston

      Looks like this "pastor" AND his "church" should be separated from
      eveerything. Lock him up!!!

      June 8, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  2. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    I like to repeat myself.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Think for yourself?

      You like to repeat someone else, but thanks for the handle at least that is Truth.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • .

      nope you are a moron.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Ryan

      If, by atheism, you mean thinking for yourself and questioning ideas that have no evidence to support them, I must disagree. In this way, atheism is very healthy. Most adults encourage skepticism in many other walks of life. We don't believe what politicians say just because they say it. We look for evidence to determine the truth. But when it comes to faith, there seems to be a double-standard. Believers are told to believe because it's in the Bible. For me and about 14 percent of the U.S. population who are non-religious, the Bible just won't cut it. After all, it's a cobbled together, revised, batch of writings from Bronze Age people who didn't know a thing about nature, science, physics or mathematics. Since then, we've learned that evil spirits, in fact, don't cause disease and the Earth is a tiny planet in a corner of a galaxy that itself is one of billions of galaxies in the universe. Too much evidence against, not enough in support.

      June 8, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  3. charles

    I do watch him regularly. Also I have two girls. Raising a child in this days is hard, I pray all will go well with him. The daughter is an embarasment for causing the father grief. At 15 staying out all night!!! She is a disgrace. Wait until you have your own child, you will see!!!!!!

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

      While the daughter may not be an angel for her actions he is beneath contempt for his. If the charges stick I hope he gets jail time.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Breck5

      Yes, she deserved to be choked, slammed to the ground and punched. Hallelujah, praise the Lord. Are you kidding me????

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

    A woman in Florida shot her four children, these are the times we live in.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  5. The other shoe drops...

    I believe in God, and I believe in Jesus. It has nothing to do with anyone but me and my God. ***I DO NOT believe in megachurch pastors, or out of touch religion, or judgmental preachers. They are doing things God would not have them do. And that is what makes them the worst possible people on earth.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  6. Steve

    It is absolutely terrifying how un-Christian this man's supporters are.

    "Hate shall make you rich", is apparently the message. Good luck with that, and you have my pity.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Evangelical

      Just how in the world are this man's supporters hating anyone? I swear, you atheists just love to smear Christians with the word "hate."

      June 8, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Steve

      I suppose you call being proud of and advocating child abuse love?

      Like I said, terrifying.

      June 8, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  7. The other shoe drops...

    He wouldn't use his hand to hurt his children... he'll use his shoe to beat them silly if he feels they need it. Some people in our society ought to be a little more cautious about how they behave. When you are in a certain line of work, there are some things that are just not acceptable. Maybe he should pick a different career.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • nell ryan

      You mean become a plumber or a sales clerk so he can beat them without media attention?

      June 8, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  8. All Hail John Frumm

    'Tis easier for a camel to fit through the eye of the needle than for a Pastor, Deacon, Preacher, Minister or Priest to stay out of the county lock up!

    June 8, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  9. PTC Bernie

    I've driven by his "estate" many times. Ostentatious doesn't begin to describe it. What an ego this man has! The many acres property is ringed by a wrought iron fence topped with lighting fixtures brighter and larger than street lights. How many times do we have to see the "Jim Baker syndrome" before we wise up and stop supporting these thieves in such a lavish life style?

    June 8, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      When there's no longer a market for selling salvation. The religion industry is consumer driven.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes pants.
    Proven.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      June 8, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Jesus

      You're a PROVEN liar .Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      June 8, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • nope

      @fake jesus
      nope

      June 8, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Jesus

      "@fake jesus
      nope"

      More lies without any proof, thanks for proving me correct I am a god!

      June 8, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Imjustsaying

      Pray does change thngs it may not wrk 4 u r the ppl u jus spoke of cause they ask but yet they doubt wen u ask God(pray) u cnt ask nd doubt u have 2 believe he is capable of doin all u ask nd some I say tis 2 u cause I am still alive on pray alone I did die on 2 occasion during surgery wen u pray u ask,expect,nd give thanks n advance wit out any doubts nd wat u ask 4 will manifest its self n reality

      June 8, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    June 8, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • One one

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

      June 8, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • it seems that

      the only one mentioning hell is one one.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Lilith

      It seems that – With Christianity ... it's implied.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Think for yourself?

      Not too likely lilith. Let others express themselves as given, your bogus interpretation isn't needed.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!.!

      June 8, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • M Houston

      An your brand of religion, the "God" you worship, the "pastor"
      of your "church" are most certainly not healthy for the children
      who live with you people...

      June 8, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Carosi

      Hey Anti-Atheism, I think you meant to say that religion is not healthy! By the way, I am not a sheep. You believe also that the rapist should marry his victim? Deuteronomy 22:28–29 No? You cannot pick and chose what you want to believe!

      June 8, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • One one

      @ it seems. Oh, that's right Jesus just takes vengeance on non- believers by punishing them with everlasting destruction in flaming fire.

      2 Thessalonians, 8-9:"In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power."

      June 8, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • just sayin

      @carosi
      The passage you are referring to does not deal with forcible r ape in the original language. Try to use an honest interpretation when belittling the Bible. God bless

      June 8, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  12. Donald in CA

    These mega preachers either turn out to be gay or a complete phoney. They want be eating any fried chicken and collard greens at my house.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • michael

      God loves gay people too, the preachers hate them.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  13. G squared

    Becoming a christian does not make you perfect, nor does it exempt you from temptation or evil. Those that "HATE" preachers and christians must have a reason for that, they were possibly hurt by some one who claimed to be a christian, or they read news stories like this and use that as a sample of the entirity. But christ did not die to save the innocent. Grace and forgiveness have no meaning to those who aren't condemed.
    I can't say either way what truly happened but I can say that that entire family will never be the same and it is a tragedy that happens all too often. But I can also say that everyone posting here has thier own things that if it became a news story there would be people posting saying how they would never do anything like that as well, well if you break the law you break the law, there aren't any victimless crime.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • sally

      Why is it so hard for people like you to accept that people like me believe churches are poison for a variety of well thought out reasons?

      June 8, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  14. Abraham

    Do not spare the rod and spoil the child. Prayers are with you Pastor Dollar. God bless you.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • sleepytime

      Nothing fails like prayer!

      June 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • advice for sleepy

      you do

      June 8, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Spare no expense and spoil the Pastor!
      Forget prayers ... send more money!

      June 8, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Reasongal.

      Jesus loves for you to beat your kids!

      June 8, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Imjustsaying

      Amen

      June 8, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • PTC Bernie

      "spare the rod and spoil the child'? Please! He knocked her down, choked her and beat her with a shoe! Then he states that he won't say any more to protect his children? What a coward!

      June 8, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Carosi

      Abraham, I hope that someone beats some sense into you! He is a wolf in sheep's clothing. He is crooked and vile. He is the reason people do not trust the church.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  15. EdL

    $5,000 bail for a mega-church 'pastor'? What a joke!

    June 8, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Jacob

      I'm sure his charges will be lowered after he gives $1,000 to the local district judges for good service to the community

      June 8, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • tdez

      I'm sure when he heard the bail amount, he simply removed his pinky ring and asked where the exit was.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  16. If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

    Just imagine the amount of money churches could save by using the county jail photographers for their ads, websites and hallway preacher photos!

    June 8, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  17. Creflo Dollar

    If I had a stone handy, that girl would have met the Lord's justice, I'll tell you that.

    Praise the Lord and Pass the Plate!

    June 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • M Houston

      And if I had the power and authority YOU, that "pastor" and your "Lord" would
      all be in the slammer "praying" for bread and water...

      Geeesh! which rocks do you people live under??!!

      June 8, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • MacMarine

      Don't choke her! get that Loui belt out and tear her azz up! Take the car back, put the 19 year old out! And if Taffy don't have your back, she can go with the 19 year old!

      June 8, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  18. Pastor Smith

    The Lord Bless you and your daughters Pastor! We are praying for you!

    June 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      I'm sure inmate Dollar is reading these comments looking for your prayer "Pastor Smith"!

      June 8, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • One one

      In this case, a good lawyer would be more useful than prayers.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • sleepytime

      Who is this "Lord Bless"?

      June 8, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Creflo Dollar

      Prayers, schmayers... send me some cash. Praise Jesus!

      June 8, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  19. roy caine

    You are so ignorant, like so many born-again christians. You follow and believe this Guy like Nazi's followed Hitler in WWII. You can find no fault in him, an ignorantly worship him without realizing it. Ignorant with low education level and easily manipulated not to think for yourself. You're a stereotypical joke!

    June 8, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  20. JUGGERNAUT

    GOOD HE SHOULD DISCIPLINE THAT DUMB BIMBO, BEFORE SHE GETS PREGNANT AT THOSE PARTIES OR CATCH A DISEASE.

    MY PARENTS DISCIPLINED ME WHEN I WAS OUT OF LINE......I GRADUATE FROM GSU WITH A BACHELOR AND I JUST TOOK THE GMAT IN ORDER TO START ON MY MBA.

    THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH WHOOPING DISOBEDIENT KID....IT IS TIME FOR THE PARENTS TO TAKE CONTROL ONCE AGAIN.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      Right!! Looks like you got a good 'edjahmencation'...stop using caps!!!

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

      MBA. Oh, wow. The pinnacle of all higher education degrees. You realize that's a frat boy degree.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • sleepytime

      Here's hoping your MBA program offers a course in turning off caps lock.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • JUGGERNAUT

      @YourMother

      LMAO.......A FRAT BOY DEGREE????

      I WOULD LOVE TO SEE YOU IN A CLASS OF: MBA 8135 Corporate Finance OR MBA 8025 Financial Statement Analysis.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • MacMarine

      You got that right and that 19 year old need to be gone, since you running her mouth against the bread winner in the house.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:45 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.