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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. deathsdj

    Dollars and changers huh? Sounds like a church to avoid.

    June 8, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • shut_up

      YOU ATHEISTS WOULD. YOU CAN JOIN MADELINE OHARE SOON IN HELL

      June 8, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Ummmmm

      No sooner than you will.

      June 8, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Vampsh Black Sheep League of Doom Gardamun Family Circle Master Vampire High Priest

      shut up, shut_up

      June 8, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • athensGuy

      hey, at least we, atheists and agnostics, are not tricked into believing into these myths and giving our time and property to these false prophets.... and, what's hell????????

      June 8, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's Madalyn Murray O'Hair, you dimwit.

      June 8, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • athensGuy

      @Tom, Tom: I wish there was a "like" button here

      June 8, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Thanks.

      June 8, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  2. Andrew

    Power corrupts. Arrogance in the name of god just shows that we're monkeys.

    June 8, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • athensGuy

      to be absolutely technical, we are apes.

      June 8, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  3. Pete/Ark

    "Dollar"...his name, his God , and his value.

    June 8, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Pete/Ark

      this is what makes agnotics like me have our doubts.

      June 8, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • shut_up

      AND YOUR FROM ARKANSAS. WHERE IS MY BANJO. BEND OVER!

      June 8, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Ummmmm

      It's "you're", you moron.

      June 8, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  4. blake

    Don't know if the man is guilty of physically abusing his daughter or not, but he is certainly guilty of fleecing the flock, lack of fiscal accountability, excessive personal enrichment through his work, and preaching a false gospel. The man should be removed from his pulpit to protect the naive and undiscerning.

    June 8, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  5. Violet

    He didn't raise his hand, he beat her with his shoe! I think that his name says it all.

    June 8, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  6. Joker

    More examples of upstanding behavior by the black community !

    June 8, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Vampsh Black Sheep League of Doom Gardamun Family Circle Master Vampire High Priest

      Hey cracka dont be hatin

      June 8, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Maxine

      what does race have to dowith it? oh my bad, maybe Lindsay's and Paris' Dad's should learn from him and discipline their daughters

      June 8, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Maxine

      what does race have to do with it? oh my bad, maybe Lindsay's and Paris' Dad's should learn from him and discipline their daughters

      June 8, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  7. GP

    Plain and simple....money, money, money....power,power,power.....this guy needs some jail time to bring him back to earth.

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

      But sadly he's going to buy his way out of it.

      June 8, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  8. fred

    This guy is 1 of 348,000 known ministers and priests in the United States. Amazing how many on this web like to paint all Christians and Godly people with their brush of hate because of this one guy.

    The same thing happens when a few misguided Christians on this site make statements that seem hateful. Those statements do not represent the vast majority of believers anymore than this minister represents the vast majority of ministers.
    What is glaring is how right Jesus was when he demonstrated love was the greatest gift man can receive. The offer of love goes out to the believer and non believer alike. Let us embrace it and be thankful.

    June 8, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Steve

      I don't see any Christians on this site NOT supporting him. Clean up your own house.

      June 8, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • fred

      Steve
      This guys house is not my house or Lords. Jesus turned over the money changers tables because “you have turned my Father’s House of Prayer into a pit”. You are correct in that it is the condition of your house that reveals a man’s soul. This house is temporary but will determine your eternal dwelling place.

      June 8, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • shut_up

      THIS MAN HAD A TOUGH ENOUGH TIME WITH CANCER, HE DIDNT NEED A BRAT THAT WANTED TO PARTY ON HIS PLATE TOO.

      June 8, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  9. james t. in dallas

    I love these "god wants you to be rich" but first give me $100 so I can go fill up the Rolls-Royce ministers. What a bunch of idiots these people are. They deserve to lose their money.

    June 8, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  10. cristal

    not our high society preachers

    June 8, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  11. Vampsh Black Sheep League of Doom Gardamun Family Circle Master Vampire High Priest

    CREFLO MY MAN

    June 8, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Creflo Dollar

      Complements are nice, but cash is better, know what I'm sayin'?

      June 8, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  12. memphispiano

    I am a huge critic of the prosperity gospel, because I believe it is completely anti-Bible. I do not like Creflo Dollar's teachings in any way shape or form. However, having counseled numerous family situations over the years, I have seen that children will often pull the abuse card to get back at a parent for their rules. Many times when the crisis subsides, they admit no physical abuse occurred. I have no idea if this is what happened in this case because I was not there (as opposed to a lot of people on this forum who just know everything, lol) but I will withhold judgment on Mr. Dollar until the whole story is told.

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

      Creflo's 19 year old daughter corroborated her 15 year old sister's account.

      Read the article.

      Opine to your heart's content, so we can perpetuate child abuse forever.

      Good grief.

      June 8, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  13. lulubeanpaperco

    This is so twisted:

    '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.'

    Mr. Dollar would have had to spend maybe and this is a huge MAYBE (because in Fulton county you never get punished for anything) $500.00 at the absolute MAX to pay off 2 traffic tickets and instead he spends $100,000.00 to honor the police officers in this city who get paid absolute CRAP and the media spins it into a leftest propaganda load of garbage. Anyone who has ever been cited for a traffic violation in Fulton county knows that 99.999999% of the time they are downgraded when you get to court and that is a fact. How can any reasonably minded person think he would $100,000 to clear a $500 traffic ticket? Way to keep it classy AJC, glad to see you doing some real investigative work.

    June 8, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Mr Rogers

      Can you say payoffs? Sure, I knew you could.

      June 8, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • lulubeanpaperco

      Really, 100 officers? That's a little far-fetched.

      June 8, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • JohnnyKay

      "a leftist" plot?

      Turn off Fox once in awhile.

      June 8, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • lulubeanpaperco

      I can see the humor in the fact that I spelled leftist wrong. HA! I truly have never even seen one episode of Fox news just so sick and tired of how the media spins things. Full of lying and manipulation.

      June 8, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Steve

      Yeah, I'm sure there was nothing to it. I mean, who doesn't just hand out $1000 dollar bills to cops. How could that possibly benefit him? It's not like Fulton Country has one of the most corrupt police departments in the country or anything.

      How silly for anyone to jump to conclusions.

      June 8, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  14. Woman of purpose

    You people need to pull it together you know this is a wicked and perverse generation the law has given children to much authority even we as parents discipline our children they can call the police on us but guess what that's why they have all these children killing children crimes and children in jail so until you've walked in his shoes and know what really happened you need to keep your opinions to yourself and stop judging the man of GOD because according to the bible you reap what you sow and if you were not there how do you really know what happened, because of what the media says.NOT!

    June 8, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • whoCares

      This man is not a man of god, he is not any kind of a man.

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

      And you approve of violence again women? (if indeed the charges and details are true)

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

      So, your children have had to call the police on you, too, and you want to blame the Victims?

      May all you have done come home to roost right now.

      June 8, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Vampsh Black Sheep League of Doom Gardamun Family Circle Master Vampire High Priest

      It's a bitch who like to be smacked up

      June 8, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Lorena

      I'm not going to say that what he did is right but what I know from experience is that children can push your buttons so much that it is sometimes hard to control your emotions and reactions. I too agree that children are well aware of the law and have used it to their advantage, holding it over their parents head and threatening to call the police on charges of abuse. Don't think that all of law enforcement agree with this as sometimes they have empathy for the parents. We have lost control . There are a lot of parents who now suffer verbal,mental and physical abuse from these little darlings that we are no longer allowed to reprimand. Of course the answer is always counseling.....If you can afford it that is a option,but most parents can't. So then what ? We set boundaries as parents to protect our children and they fight us for their freedom with reckless abando

      June 8, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  15. Herndon Davis

    Here's my video response to this horrible incident –> http://youtu.be/0123wqT1MDQ
    Creflo Dollar is suffering from severe anger/rage issues and possibly is dealing with unresolved issues within his personal life. It also brings up the issue of how to discipline children and the use of corporal punishment within the home.

    June 8, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  16. whoCares

    Another s i c k o, all in the name of some god. Next he will be going after little boys for ......

    June 8, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  17. Tr1Xen

    If Obama had a son, he'd look like Pastor Dollar.

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

      Ahhhhhh hahahahahaha.

      June 8, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Radical117

      Dont you mean Uncle

      June 8, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  18. big gene

    This guy is just a jerk. Real men do not hit women.

    June 8, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Frank Sinatra

      Sure we do, we just try not to hit them in the face hard enough to leave a mark.

      June 8, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  19. Denverly

    Since it's his religion, he can claim that beating her was an act of devotion. Since they are teenagers, everyone else can say that they are exaggerating or that they are responsible. Just like how women need to wear hajibs or they will tempt men into lusting after them, wives and childen need to be obedient so they won't tempt husbands and parents into beating them. Quite the get-out-of-jail-free card Mr. Dollar has there.

    A wise man once told me that any preacher who owns more than one pair of shoes was not an honest man. Tailored suits? Really?

    June 8, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  20. Mark in Atlanta

    I've been to a few "god want's you to be rich- please give me your money" churches. Sad that people are so gullible. Even sadder that they think what they need from god is a pay check, or at least the promise of a pay check. That said, hard to know what happened in the aptly named Dollar household. I hope we won't spend a lot of time as country pretending we know.

    June 8, 2012 at 6:40 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.