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. starr

    no one is perfect except Jesus Christ the son of the living God, and God always uses imperfect people.

    June 8, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Ticktockman0

      Now THAT makes sense!

      June 8, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Steve

      Con men use imperfect people too.

      June 8, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  2. wisdom4u2

    I believe in beatings....the freaking TROLLS!!!!

    June 8, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      Time for another song.

      ♫ ♫ Trolls, trolls,
      Under the bridge
      Trolls, trolls,
      On this page
      Trolls, trolls,

      I hate them♫ ♫

      Only 999,996 songs to go.

      June 8, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      @ fake wis... ~~~~ copy and paste much? I diot!

      June 8, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
  3. JB

    As the songwriter Charlie Rich sang... "NO ONE KNOWS WHAT GOES ON BEHIND CLOSED DOORS"..

    June 8, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
  4. LiLa

    So, in addition to being abusive, he's a liar too.

    June 8, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  5. Angie

    Wonder if he started his "church" in a federally funded elementary school. SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. HELLO ALL YOU SHEEP OUT THERE....get a clue. Better yet, move to a galaxy far, far away.

    June 8, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  6. Brock

    I have never hit my children, I never choked my children, I have never been arrested. My children are grown now and are well adjused successful adults and I'm a athestist.

    June 8, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • ray

      good for you this has little to do with church I do not advocate abuse by any means but sometimes some well timed disipline can be good but abuse never is I was a single dad of two girls and they pushed me to the limit sometimes I refrained from kicking their butts because I did not want them to ever think it was okay for a man to put hands on them. They have turned out to be two of the most wonderful, well adjusted, and productive youngladiies I know my "sheros"

      June 8, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  7. ray

    Sometimes these youngsters need a butt kicking we don't know the extent of what went down I wish I would've called the police on my folks, I knew my folks loved me and the system doesn't sometimes kids need firm love no means no you can't go to the party! aint no discussion or argument!!! really it is called disipline and in my house I'm the shot caller

    June 8, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes kitty litter.

    June 8, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  9. Celine

    I'm not a fan of the minister, but as a parent and someone who worked closely with teenagers, I suspect the girls are exaggerating the story somewhat. Yes, I can imagine harsh and angry words when she got back. I can even imagine him pulling her arm as she walked away while he was shouting at her. But strangling? Punching? Hitting with a shoe? I think this is a teenager getting back at her father without caring where and how it will end. So sad.

    June 8, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Ticktockman0

      I am also the parent of a teenager. It is possible that the children are telling the truth. Abuse is often ignored because the abused are not believed.

      June 8, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Mark in Atlanta

      And your opinion on this is valid because you were there? No? Then please feel free to keep your speculation to yourself. Let the people who are supposed to handel this stuff handel it.

      June 8, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • John

      Hey can you please learn to at spell correctly. it is handle not handel, HELLO!!! dumb people make me sick

      June 8, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • John

      Hey can you please learn to spell correctly. it is handle not handel, HELLO!!! dumb people make me sick

      June 8, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  10. Mari

    Again, do not look to any man. Look to God. No pastor is God and we must not treat them as such....they too are sheep following the command of God.... I believe many of them sometimes get confused. We are to discipline our children..not beat them, not curse at them, we are to raise them with the love and respect that we would expect. So, it isn't the religion or faith that failed here but the MAN, who opted to not follow the Will of God and what He has intended for us in this world. He should face any consequences given to him as a result of his failure to follow the God's law. God instructs us to follow the authorities and his actions did not do so.

    June 8, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Steve

      No of them "get confused". They know EXACTLY what they are doing. Confusion is the unrepentant code word for "not my fault". Read what your bible has to say about penitence.

      June 8, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  11. shawbrooke

    steve 505 I know people who believe in the prosperity gospel and they are not giving anything to the church, they are spending it all and more to keep up with the jones. Those with more money ostentatiously give, letting most off the hook. My guess is that you actually don't have any data to back up your point, what you said is something that you'd like to be true so that you could Christian bash. Please find the facts first.

    June 8, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  12. M Houston

    All you good believers with your infinite "love" for your fellow man...why is it that
    you find it necessary to abuse children so, and then blame nonbelievers for your
    bad behavior?
    If this counterfeit Pastor Dollar is so loving of money, I suggest we send him all the
    counterfeit dollars we can print up.

    June 8, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  13. MaryM

    Jesus H Christ, what the **** is wrong with these "Preachers". There have been alot in the news lately.

    Oh and for any of you "Christians": that think it is alright to beat and choke your child, Think again, Just like the child abuse in the chuch was exposed, YOU will be exposed as the dbag you really are.

    June 8, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • get$aved

      Anyone can call themselves a "Christian". All we need to do is ask one simple question: Is he/she acting in a Christ-like manner? If not, they are not a true Christian (a follower of Jesus Christ). Far too many people these days call themselves "Christian" and their actions are anything but Christ-like. So there's no need for you to go around bashing all Christians because, suprisingly, we are not all like these morally corrupt pastors. Peope are so quick to pigeon-hole everyone into a box.....

      June 8, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  14. shawbrooke

    I don't agree with the prosperity gospel, since everyone has a free choice and people often use their choices to hurt others and themselves. Fights over parties are not unusual in homes with teenagers. But doesn't it strike anyone as odd that all that could happen leaving only one scratch on one girl's neck? Bet there's more to this story.

    June 8, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • get$aved

      The "prosperity gospel" is nothing more than a feel-good message those type of pastors give to their congregation to give them that "warm fuzzy" so they'll keep coming to their church and open up their wallets. No where in God's word does it say everyone will be financially rich if they trust in God. The people that are fooled by these preachers are the same ones that don't bother to actually READ their bible....

      June 8, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  15. steve505

    "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."

    Ahhhhh yes.... the ol' "Prosperity Gospel". Basically, it goes like this: Give me your money so that I, your pastor, may live like a rich king with the finest suits, cars, and homes, while you in return get my promise that "God will bless you". Someday. Just keep the faith, and keep that money coming.

    Funny how the only ones that prosper from a "Prosperity Gospel" are the pastors. Creflo isn't the only one, either. These parasites are all over the United States.

    June 8, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Ecclesiastes 7:17

      I agree and they give a bad name to the faith as well.

      June 8, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Bible Belt

      Ya... funny that his last name is Dollar! I guess he was born to "earn" them dollars...

      June 8, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Checks payable to cash

      Ladies and gentlemen, put yo hands on you TV screen!!!

      June 8, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  16. adopted USA

    One doesn't need to look too hard to find Satan, they all happily reside in churches, mosques and temples.

    June 8, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  17. Ann

    Mr Dollar PLEASE, PLEASE get some help with your ANGER problem it's ok you are human you are not GOD. Mr Dollar you are in this sinful world and you will sin like any flash and blood will do so get some help now. Matter of fact the whole family need conceling. People think just because you are a peacher you don't have feeling but you do. Mrs Dollar where were you when this was going on my sister I would like to beleive you wasn't their. But you was and afraid to move or say anything. My sister I've seen you on TV and you always look so sad even with the fake smile. Now is the time for you to get your family together and pray and get the help that God has down here on earth for your family. This is your way out for happiness and to be free don't mean to leave your husband but to take charge and demand he get the help he needs. God will not be mark that stands for today and tomorrow. Christain PLEASE stop you all are giving the CHRISTAIN a bad name Mr Dollar needs help and your prayer not your agreement for abuse that's not the way. He have done it long enough and the Lord has gotten tried of it. God want to use him in a positive way so that he can save his people so that he or she can have every lasting life. This is a devil attach on the Dollar family. So let's come together and pray for Mrs Dollar that God will give her strengh so she will step forward and take charge she and her daughters has been going under abuse for a while now is time to let go and let God Mrs Dollar and seek help for your family. I've never meet the family alway wonder what it is like to rich. When I see them on Television by just looking at Mrs Dollar I could tell it was not what all it was put out to be. Kathy God has pave the way so my sister it up to you now stand up and be the woman ofGod that you are. In Christ I love you all and my family and I will keep you all in prayer. Now girls just know that your father and mother do love you and theirs nothing in this world he nor your mother would not do for you guys. Don't let this world break up your family because if you are put out here with these wolfs and dogs of this world they will eat you up and think nothing about it. So you girls come together and pray for your dad and mother they are human and they have feeling like everyone else. I have a son and daughter in the minstery and it is not easy when dealing with all kind of people from all walks of life and you do get tried and you do forget you are just like them you have feeling and you are human too. My husband and I and my family will keep you all in prayer and we love you but God you most. Ok, so call Christian back off and the world too.


    June 8, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • just sayin

      omg big block of text.

      June 8, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • steve505

      Parasites like Creflo Dollar do nothing but steal money in return for empty promises of "God's blessings".

      And fools like you do nothing but empower and perpetuate the existence of parasites like Creflo Dollar.

      Put down your silly bronze-age biblical beliefs and think for yourself for once.

      June 8, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Ecclesiastes 7:17

      @steve505- keep pointing that finger of yours...makes it clear how pompous you are and judgmental.

      June 8, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • C'mon


      Did the "Holy Spirit" help you write that? Oh, what an imp! Well, at least it's not written from left to right.

      June 8, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • C'mon

      Doh! I meant from right to left...

      June 8, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Ceflo Dollar

      Sorry, I could not get through that, sister. But, uh, praise the Lord!

      June 8, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • steve505

      @Ecclesiastes 7:17

      I gladly judge religious people. Somebody's got to call them out on their nonsense. Religious people SHOULD be persecuted and shamed. They are sub-human, because they refuse to use the brain that evolution gave them. They may as well still be consider primates, a lineage of modern man that never quite fully evolved.

      June 8, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  18. TonyB

    Creflo is all about the Dollar- a phony and a self enriching crook.

    June 8, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Ceflo Dollar

      You say that like it's a bad thing.

      June 8, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  19. Everett Wallace

    he used a shoe to beat hear and choked her with his hands, that's more than child abuse coming from a pastor. I have never had to beat my daughter and I am the PREACHER and the Only MAN of GOD after MOSES.

    June 8, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Friend

      Moser committed murder and was forgiven and so will the pastor. Are you not a forgiven christian we all fall short. Amen!

      June 8, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • just sayin

      Don't worry, as long as you say you're christian you can do pretty much anything and supposedly get a pass because you're 'saved'.

      June 8, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • sleepytime

      He choked he with his hands? As opposed to what, his feet?

      June 8, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  20. GodFreeNow

    Actually sounds like this guy was too lenient since the bible recommends killing your child if they disrespect you.

    June 8, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Mari

      Are you talking about the Old Testament...because that is not a command that we are to follow...How silly, kiling our children... That is the old world.... However, you will find many other countries still participating in Old Testament rituals....very similar to Sharia Law.... Old Law....

      June 8, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Mister Jones

      @Mari – What? Where does it say that you get to disregard the first half of the book because it's wrong? Pretty sure that the NT doesn't exist without the OT. It's fails miserably as a standalone book. Where do you get to pick and choose what is no longer applicable? Either your bible is right, or it's wrong. Not much room for grey area there. And yes ... there is a LOT of silly stuff in there. Do you wear cotton? Eat lobster? etc.

      June 8, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Mari, Well we can take the New Testament where jesus commands people to leave their families to follow him if you prefer. So either you're killing your kids or abandoning them.

      Mathew 10:34-36
      Luke 14:25-27
      Matthew 8:21-22

      June 8, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Steve

      @Mister Jones

      Now now, be nice. Their hypocrisy only goes so far.

      June 8, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Mister Jones

      @Steve – I know ... I know. I am always curious how people choose the literal versus the allegorical version of their bible to believe. Especially women, since the bible is pretty clear on how women were to be treated ... Basically, I just like throwing logic into the discussion and watching thumpers spin around because they can't handle it. Simple vice.

      June 8, 2012 at 7:15 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.