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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. Patric a

    Sooner or later I will open my own church somewhere so I can get some of that money that Idiots are giving away.

    June 8, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • JWT

      Can I be the god – always wanted to give weak hitting pitchers 500 foot homeruns, a0hole batter 10 foot pop ups instead of homeruns, make the pope gay – cure diseases, all the fun stuff.

      June 8, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  2. Eesh

    It's both shocking and appalling that someone would defend a guy who beats his daughter, with shoes or without. I'm sicken by the amount of people on this board who have even tried to consider what drove this guy to action and try to understand or, even worse, trying to call shenanigans on the police for "butting in" as if domestic violence should still only be a private thing.

    June 8, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  3. Leigh2

    She had a scratch but no bruises?

    June 8, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You have a head but no brain?

      June 8, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • reply by someone

      who knows a lot about head

      June 8, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
  4. MySay500

    Since she does not wish to follow the rules of their home. She should move out on her own as soon as you turns 18 and be on her own with no dollars from Creflo Dollar.

    June 8, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Since you. Do not wish to. Follow the rules. Of English grammar. And SYNTAX. You ShOUld Be consigned to hell.

      June 8, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
  5. Eric of Reseda

    I'm sorry, I missed the part in the Bible where Jesus says to beat children. Where was it?

    June 8, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Eesh

      It's in Leviticus, along with the passage about killing your children when they sass you.

      June 8, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Ok whatever

      Right next to the chapter about "how to fleece your flock!" for rich, greedy pastors...

      June 8, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Proverbs 13:24.

      June 8, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Patric a

      So you never knew that your bible teaches to kill as well,go read it again now that you are an adult,and you,ll be shocked,if you think your religion is any better then others like Muslims,you will find out that Islam and Christianity are almost alike,then you,ll realized that people like you have been conned by thieves.

      June 8, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  6. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things,

    June 8, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Not if you read this news story.

      June 8, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • please show the prayer

      In the story or crawl back in your filthy hole

      June 8, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
  7. jam8canpops

    George Bush got "beaten"with a shoe in Iraq too,didn't kill him did it?

    June 8, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The differences are these: the shoe never hit him and even if it had, it would have been tantamount to a toothpick hitting a brick wall. Both equally insensate.

      June 8, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
  8. captainmazinger

    If beating children is acceptable discipline then your employer should be allowed to smack you around when you mess up at work.

    No? Why not? I thought violence was a good way for authority to correct misbehavior and motivate people! You should be all for it!

    June 8, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Your employees dont belong to you.
      Your children belong to you. They are your property, or else you wouldnt have the legal right to abort them.

      June 8, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      God, but you're an idiot, b4. No one can 'abort' a child, you dolt. A child is born. Once 'born', no one can be 'aborted'.

      Did you graduate from a high school that actually qualified as something other than a prison?

      June 8, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
  9. Cyric

    Classic religious nonsense. This man uses God as a platform to get paid.

    June 8, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  10. steve

    Maybe he was trying to beat the gay out of her.

    June 8, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  11. Charlotte, North Carolina

    @Salli.. It has plenty to do with Beatings! Growing up in Mississippi, I had a lot of friends who had single moms. However, the school system allowed corporal punishment. And yes, we would get a nice beating from time to time. It kept the students in line and all are doing well today. It takes a village to raise a child. If a child talks back and I'm paying the bills, he deserves to get his butt beat or he needs to find somewhere else to live. Simple as that. Call the police if you want to. You will get it that much worse then I will go to jail and bail out. I want compromise with the ways of this world in my house and I'm paying Wells Fargo good money every month for a mortgage.

    June 8, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • JWT

      And then hopefully you will get a much longer time in the state prison.

      June 8, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Tara

      You chose to bring that child into this world. It did not choose you!! You chose to have to pay for its upkeep and care. It is not its fault it is alive. It does not owe you ANYTHING!! But you owe IT a warm place to sleep, food to eat, and clothes to wear because YOU chose to bring it into a world. People who look at their own children as burdens blow my mind. The child should never have to worry about choosing putting up with abuse or having a place to sleep at night. You do not deserve that child.

      June 8, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Charlotte, North Carolina

      the bible says train up a child.and when that butt gets out of line, they azz is mine. beat your children,

      June 8, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
  12. Sirned

    Golly Geez ...... Who would have thunk it a religious hypocrite beating their child....AGAIN. I'm so sick of religion. It causes more harm than good....And we the taxpayer give them tax breaks. Let's take the away their tax exemption ...All religion is today is a reality Show with phony salesman as their religious leaders.... And yes I believe in God

    June 8, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • lalalalal

      u dont know if any of this is real so chill and wait.

      June 8, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
  13. davvvyc

    The gospel of prosperity leaves little room for God to do a real work. II chronicles 7:14

    June 8, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • davvvyc

      I pray for the fifteen year old girl and Rev. Creflo for restoration and also that the young girl learns a lesson and then may God restore many to Himself through this blemish so that it becomes no stain, spot, or wrinkle!

      June 8, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
  14. sportreform

    "The AJC profile also said that 100 police officers were admonished for receiving $1,000 apiece from Dollar." He's the Robin Hood of law enforcement. His foolerers (yes, intentionaly mispelled) give him $100K and he give it to the police?

    June 8, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  15. MB

    Somebody has a vendeta against their father looks to me. A 15 year old has no business at a party and if it was 1 am in the morning when this took place, I would have sent her back out the house with her 19 year old sister. The devil can't get the man of God other ways so this his attack. Stay strong Pastor Dollar.

    June 8, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  16. Kim C Ohio

    I have twin 16 year old girls and they do try you at that age. She most likely deserved it. They need to ask her 4 years from now if her father was an abuser.

    June 8, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Karma

      Amen to that, Kim! (Pun intended) I have a 15 yo son and sometimes it takes all of me to remain civil during our "conversations".

      June 8, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • JWT

      The answer is obviously yes but sometimes kids end up defending their parental abusers. Hopefully he will buy her aoff and she can get out of that hellhole.

      Kids can do a lot of things to test us – one of mine quit school at 14. Good thing I am the kind of parent who looks and learns about their kids instead of demanding they do what I say no matter what – that kind of parent would have killed him.

      June 8, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • lalalalal

      he should just disown her then maybe she might know how much luk sh was getting. im 14 and poor she is 15 and wont appreciate the fact that she even gets fking clothes to go to a party.

      June 8, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  17. blessedgeek

    Dollar is a senior pastor of "World Changers" Church International.

    A dollar for your thoughts y'all on what "world changing" means.

    June 8, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
  18. Ronin

    Next time , SHOOT the LITTLE BIOTCH., heck you are down SOUTH ...Seriously, I don't know who's worse the crazy Christians or the insane Muslims.

    June 8, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Inocent

      If i were Fisy i would focus on the crimes comttimed against the Icelandic people by the bankers and politicians, this argument over details of the terrorist law use is silly, this whole matter is trivial.The confusion in the the early stages of the crash are probably understandable to some degree, and the damage is already done and there is nothing we can do about it.What we can do about the thieving bankers and rotten politicians is more interesting.Unfortunately the majority of people seem to see everything trough tunnel vision.Bromley wants the gods to trow a small piece of the cake they stole from him back, ca 30%, that would be fair thinks Bromley.Of course they will not pay, so someone else is going to have to.Fisy wants the old rotten stinking gang of thieves and morons back at the wheel, if lucky they may even reward him for the loyalty.

      July 31, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
  19. Salli

    The 19 yr old sister corroborated her sister's story when she didn't have to. There's more going on here than coming in late from a party. Disrespect, coming in late, not obeying the rules sounds like some teen things that need disciplining but not choking. How many times can you beat a 15 yr old? After a while it doesn't work because that's all you've done is beat them.

    June 8, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Cris

      The best site isyou can check all three bureaus. I sggeust checking one now, then a second in 4 months, the third 4 months after that. Then you can start over again in 4 months.As far as the mortgage info goes, write a letter to the mortgage company and credit bureau disputing charges. I would also sggeust sending by certified Mail Return Receipt requested of course keeping a copy for your records. You can clean your report by yourself by doing the above. You also could contact a Primerica (white pages) agent for no monetary fee on getting out of debt and financially independent. Good luck

      August 1, 2012 at 12:17 am |
  20. Charlotte, North Carolina

    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 8:01 pm |
    • SSampson

      There is absolutely no point in responding to anything you have said here....

      The only point you ALMOST came close to making, is that kids today want everything – which is caused by bad parenting – in ALL communities....

      There is no point beating you kids – there is NO need if you statrted them out right in the begining.... Parents should require courses – or be 'fixed' prior to conception

      June 8, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Salli

      The evidence of the out of control criminal element we see in children today is not the result of no beatings but the result of having NO FATHER and mothers who either have no family support or are so young they're still trying to party themselves. It has absolutely nothing to do with beatings.

      June 8, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Charlotte, North Carolina

      @SSampson..That child needed to be beat. All of my friends got good beatings when we were younger and we all turned out just fine. Plus, this is the South. Real parents beat their children no matter the location or time.

      June 8, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • MoOk

      පහන ක යනව ,"තව ද යක ත ය නව ඔය spam ම ත ක ව ග න කත කරද ද කත කල ය ත . අප ග ඩක ද න mail fworard කරද ද BCC ද ල න ව ය fworard කරන න . "ම ල ච ක කරන නය , ෆ ස බ ක යන නය ව තරක ඉන ටර න ට ප ව ච ච කරන න ප ර ද ව ච ච ම න ස ස න ට ඔච චර හර යක ක රගන න ත ර ය ද මච ?

      August 1, 2012 at 12:36 am |
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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.