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. mshawaii808


    June 8, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  2. Jesus

    This man cashes in on gullible people.

    June 8, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  3. Darius

    The story doesn't make any sense. If he strangled her, why isn't there in note of brusing aroung the neck? And, if he used enough force to just leave a scratch, which I must say once again, is highly improbable, why aren't there any scars from him beating her with his shoe?

    June 8, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  4. alex

    The daughter claims Creflo choked her, punched her, etc. but the cops only found a scratch on her neck. The claims seem exaggerated. What probably happened is that she tried to run off to a late night party and he restrained her, maybe in a struggle her necklace scratched her neck. Sometimes love is tough. She'll probably thank him when she's 25.

    June 8, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  5. PSX

    Tom, Tom you have questions and comments, but offer no answers of understanding, yourself

    June 8, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  6. JOE

    we must look at both sides of the parent -child relationship......I dont endorse violence of any form,whether its physical or verbal.
    The other side of the coin is that this why some parents today are afraid of disciplining their children. If the parents can't discipline their children, then who will – the GOVERNMENT??

    June 8, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  7. mddiva37

    I don't know about any of you but I didn't even 'try' to talk back to my parents until I was well out of their house. She should have taken her punishment and taken herself to bed. But because she didn't...well it doesn't justify him trying to strangle her...And where was her mother? If I were her mother I would need bail for beating the crap out my husband for thinking he could beat on our child like that!

    June 8, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  8. PSB

    Wow, how everyone is so quick to judge and put their two cents in.. But how many prayed for him and his family.. And why do people look at a man of God and question their beliefs. Do you have a relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy spirit. This should shake your faith. Faith should be rooted in God. Your job is to pray, it's sad to look at comments that are distasteful. And most of the comments may or may not be christain believers. Wow Pray. My Goodness!!! Stop the gossip & Slander remember it comes out of your mouth to God's ears. That's still his beloved.

    June 8, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  9. andrew

    ["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."]

    The part where he says, "Will be handled privately" tells me all I need to know about this guy. It's as if he's pronouncing a command from God, but it's his arrogance and contempt for others showing. It's also a stupid mistake on his part to think and insinuate that he's above the law; he's not. Since he commanded it private, it will be big-time public.
    Attempted murder by strangulation of a minor trumps all of one's own self-appointed importance. I don't care if he's the POPE, he goes to jail until the charges are dropped by an "unbribed" judge.

    June 8, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  10. Ralph

    Yeah!! Funk the beach up, mo fo. She zerve it!! Beet er lika step child. ( yes I'm kidding)

    June 8, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  11. athensGuy

    cant believe this guy went all old testment on his daughter!

    June 8, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  12. barbequebob

    This guy is undoubtedly a con artist, in it for the money. But the even more serious threat is from people like the pope and his army of cardinals and bishops. Those corrupt patriarchs are in it for the power too!!!

    June 8, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  13. Woman of purpose

    Young people you need to learn respect we will not as parents allow you to disrespect us period who gives you the right to stand up to us remember this a disobedient child days are cut short . HOW LONG DO YOU WANT TO LIVE?

    June 8, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And? This relates to the story in what way?

      June 8, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • PSB

      I totally agree, and no days the parents want to be friends with their children instead of their guide to life.

      June 8, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Romney is not My Hero

      Spoken like a child abuser – Congratulations. Parents are supposed to be a GOOD example. Getting locked up for beating your child is not.

      June 8, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • JWT

      A new stupidest post on the internet.

      June 8, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  14. Riz

    Spare the rod...

    June 8, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Do you even know what that passage means?

      June 8, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Romney is not My Hero

      What – spare the rod.. Choke the child?

      June 8, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • The Word

      Prov 13:24: "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (diligently)."
      Prov 19:18: "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying."
      Prov 22:15: "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him."
      Prov 23:13: "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die."
      Prov 23:14: "Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell (Shoel)."
      Prov 29:15: "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."

      June 8, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Cutting and pasting doth not equal understanding, moron.

      June 8, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • K

      Spare the rod...does NOT mean hit/beat/abuse your child. I am a Christian and it would serve you to study the Word for correct understanding. Discipline does not equat physical punishment....while some people choose to utlize that method...that is not what the scripture means....it is one of the most misquoted passages in the Bible.

      June 9, 2012 at 7:16 am |
  15. Trey

    Read the story people! The police were called around 1 am early Friday morning for a domestic disturbance between a father and a 15 year old daughter who were arguing about her attending a party. The curfew is 11 pm where we live in GA.He may have responded inappropriately but I guarantee that young lady gave her father much lip. I have a teenager who responds disrespectfully to me just because I am parentt who is attempting to raise him to be a productive member of society. If we do not train our children properly now we will pay for it later. The jails and the graves are not short of rebellious men and women who failed to be teachable and respectful.

    June 8, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Kenny

      This summarizes it all. A 15 year old. I believe that the police may also have an ulterior motive in this case. I pray to God always that I dont get into such temptaions for if I do, that child will be chosing between my household aand a foster home.

      "She needed her butt whipped with her stubborn 15 year old self. At 15, why are you trying to go to some party in ATL anyways? More parents need to start beating their kids. The crime rates reflect clearly that african american children are causing the most problems. She should be thankful that her parents are training her correctly. Otherwise, she winds up a loose as a goose preacher's kid with a baby 1st year in college. Beat your kids! They will thank you later. The evidence of not beating your kids is reflected every night in major cities across the country. Who is doing most of the killing, robbing, and carjacking? Young African Americans!"

      June 8, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  16. Romney is not My Hero

    WOW!!! This is no way for anyone to act. She was going out at 1am.. So what? Just ground her, and if she runs away, call the police! The people up here saying that he did the right thing are dead wrong. Disgraceful

    June 8, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • athensGuy

      what would romney do, put her on the roof of his car?

      June 8, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Romney is not My Hero

      Of course Romney would put her up there, but it's hard to put a whole corporation on the top of a car (you know corporations are people). Hey, maybe that's why he needs a car elevator.

      June 8, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  17. StatingtheObvious

    Turning a profit on faith, and beating his daughter (allegedly). Yup, I'm sure that's what Jesus would do.

    June 8, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  18. athensGuy

    I cant understand these megachurches, or any church for that matter... didn't JC get all p.o'd bc folks were exploiting the temple for personal gain?

    June 8, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Romney is not My Hero

      You're correct, but people conveniently overlook those scriptures... Makes it difficult to buy a new mansion and Bentely.

      June 8, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  19. 100%

    they use "beat down "to make it seem violent but there are 2 sides of the story. To be continued for sure. But get off Dollars back because if it was the police who BEAT her then you would be complaining she did something wrong. The fact of the matter is that we know and we don't know! 15 y/o should of had her butt in the house on time then she would not have been in the situation in the first place.

    June 8, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Katie

      Maybe because the police would have only attacked her if she had become a threat? It would have been understandable if the father did discipline her, but he didn't. He assaulted her. When has choking and shoving your child ever been acceptable as a form of discipline?

      June 8, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  20. le

    How Dare his daughter stand up against him and disrespect him in his home. When he is paying the bill, providing for her etc. She is probably lazy and sassy. I would have beat the heck out of her too. You will respect me in my home. or Get the hell out.

    June 8, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Aren't you special! As in "special ed".

      June 8, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
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About this blog

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.