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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. Marvin

    Creflo Dollar, Jesus Christ, L Ron Hubbard, all con artist. Just send in ur money.

    June 8, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  2. Tom

    If preachers can't abide by what they preach, maybe they're just doing it for the money, hey, wait a minute, doesn't a "megachurch" kind of go against the entire idea of christianity? Wake up folks, religion is considered by the poor as true, by the rich as false and by the rulers as useful.

    June 8, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  3. Friday

    Where was Taffi? A mother's intervention here "before this" may have helped. Maybe?

    June 8, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  4. G O D

    Goodnight to my children.
    Those who own your planet are coming back to reclaim it.
    Sorry i cant help, but your lease is up, and to be frank,
    you have been lousy tennents.
    Hope you can relocate, but i am busy in the universe,
    and you are just one small nuisance.
    Get your act together.
    The rest of the Universe is watching.
    And they dont like what they see.
    I dont blame them.

    God.

    June 8, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  5. Howard

    If you go to (youtube) and watch videos of this clown literally dancing on money you will ask yourself what sane person "follows" this guy.....

    June 8, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  6. Been There Done That!

    she was testing him to see just how far she could go. She is aware that he is a Pastor.

    June 8, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Friday

      if she does not like her parents rules or too "grown" to obey them, she needs to go now and run her own house. She would regret it very quickly. She was thinking about HERSELF and not about her parents or how they felt, obviously.

      June 8, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  7. Critical Mind

    To call Humans Sheep will be an insult to my grass-munching mammals..... People seek salvation through a guy that is obviously in it for the cash flow...(Dollar. Hello!). I say throw the book at him....I think the Bible says....."Spare the Rod and spoil the child"...Not "Choke the rugrat" and beat her like nobody's business".

    Ugh!

    June 8, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
  8. Been There Done That!

    Have you heard of a thing called the 'Last Straw".... and the last nerve. Pastor Dollar probably had many discussions with her about this before and the daughter was putting him to the "test" just because he is the Pastor and to see just how far should could get away with it.

    June 8, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • JWT

      So ?

      June 8, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Tara

      She should be lucky he only beat her right?? I mean it could have been worse. He could have burned her with a cigarette or pulled out her eyelashes one by one...

      June 8, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  9. Charlotte, North Carolina

    I personally endorse beating your kids when they act up!

    June 8, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
  10. annierooney

    If a child of mine decided to call the police on me because I was discipling one of them, they would looking for somewhere to stay the next day. Maybe a couple of nights in foster care would be a reality check. How dare she?

    June 8, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • lisa

      I know that's right! As soon as o heard I said she didn't get her way on something......when i read 'party'........I said 'there you go'

      June 8, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • "charlatan"

      Amen! Btw, let them furnish her clothes and money too!!!! An ungrateful generation, not all, anyway.

      June 8, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
  11. Brian

    Only losers watch him.

    June 8, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • "charlatan"

      i am grateful that you are not God!

      June 8, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
  12. joy

    remember Creflo is just a man who loves his family & is passionate over them ~ don't judge him ~ pray for their family ~ I remember slapping my 15 yr old daughter across the face for being abusive to me like my ex-husband ~ guess I could have been arrested too ~ just wait til they are parents !! Parents make mistakes too ~ all a learning process ~ just because this family is in the spotlight, lets be kind & not judge them ~ we dont know the details but God does ~ lets just pray. :)-

    June 8, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • old golfer

      You left out the send money part.

      June 8, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  13. inuen

    This really hurts me. Pastor Dollar is a disciplinarian but he is not an abusive person. These children will regret this when they grow older and have kids of their own. Countless girls who went astray are wishing they had a parent that loved and cared for them like Pastor Dollar. After all he has done for them to raise them in a wealthy household and this is how they pay him back. They know a lot of people are so jealous of their parents success and can't wait to drag them in the mud. Just because God blessed them for being faithful servants does not mean they deserve this. Pastor Dollar is a genuine man of God. He does what he preaches, he applies the word of God and he is getting the prosperous results. God has a purpose in this. God will use this situation for good. Watch and see,Pastor Dollar will get through this better than before and all his haters will be ashamed in Jesus Name Amen. It is a pity that other people are listening to Pastor Dollars teachings and are benefitting from it, yet his own children choose to despise his fatherly counsel. I guess familiarity breeds contempt. For their own good, they better repent on their knees and beg for his forgiveness so that he can bless them. Pls let us keep them in our prayers. Pastor Dollar has done a lot of good for the State of Georgia and the Body of Christ. He did not steal money from anyone.He is a man of intergrity and does not deserve this.

    June 8, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • lol

      shut up, moron

      June 8, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • "charlatan"

      It is no surprise according to the Word of God, a man's enemies (rejection) can be those from his on household! When a child is rebellious, it only opens a door for the enemy to use them, that is almost certain. Also, we are looking at a generation now (not all teens and young adults) who are EXTREMELY UNGRATEFUL!!!

      June 8, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Tara

      Seriously, he allegedly CHOKED, TACKLED AND PUNCHED, a 15 year old girl!! Her sister witnessed it. Anyone who does that to a child deserves jail time. Hopefully he will come out of this as a better person because you can't get much lower than abusing your own child.

      June 8, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • gale

      And you know this how?

      June 8, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  14. jay

    Spare not the rod and spoil the child. Hello!!!! I am from the caribbean and we got a lot of disciplining and we did not die. We were thankful to our parents for it in the latter years. What if there was a drive by shooting? Next thing you know, she is coming home in the man of God's house with a pregnancy. Kids do not see the danger at that age. They think they know everything and the adult or parent knows nothing. Continue Dr. Dollar to practice what you preach. Ministry starts at home. I applaud you, I salute you for standing up for holiness and righteousness and not compromising like our society is today. There is no place in the scripture where it says we should stop sparing the rod and start spoiling the child.

    June 8, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • Hey

      Shut up, you fucking moron.

      June 8, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
  15. CMDTRUTH

    he is crook, always been.

    June 8, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • you say that

      like it is a bad thing

      June 8, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
  16. The Pazta of Dizasta Creflo in da Hizzo

    Is Creflo Dolla gonna haveta choke a bitch????

    June 8, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  17. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    creflo dollar is my kind of preacher man

    June 8, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Sorvino

      You can have him.

      June 8, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things ,

    June 8, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Shawn

      I grew up in an atheist home and am an atheist myself. I have better morals than ll these idiots who run to church every Sunday so they can be cleansed of their sins. I guess it makes them feel better about themselves. Stab people in the back, preach intolerance, hate the gays, hate the blacks,hate the Muslims and the Buddhists. Hate anyone that does not believe in their particular brand of religion. Yes isn't Christianity wonderful? Murder one person or a thousand. Get on your knees and be forgiven.

      Think of all the hate there is in Red China
      Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama
      You may leave here for 4 days in space
      But when you return, it's the same old place
      The poundin' of the drums, the pride and disgrace
      You can bury your dead, but don't leave a trace
      Hate your next-door neighbor, but don't forget to say grace.

      Yes religion is a wonderful thing.

      June 8, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • count it all kindness

      Truth is not hate, your entire foundation is wrong.

      June 8, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • J

      If you're the sort of imbecile that thinks talking to your imaginary friend actually does something, then yeah, I guess prayer does change things.

      June 8, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  19. lroy

    Though I don't condone the beating...what parent in his or her right mind would ALLOW any child of theirs at the age of 15 to be anywhere but their OWN BED at 1:00 in the morning. This isn't about religion except that the father is a preacher/pastor. But that doesn't make a hill of difference here...it's a father who over-disciplined his minor daughter. I would hope ANY parent would punish this young lady-not beating-but having a long serious talk.

    June 8, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  20. Lynn

    I just love it when THESE CHARLATANS wind up on the front page for UNCHRISTIAN BEHAVIOR!

    June 8, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • J

      Get over yourself, you're no better than anyone in this news article. The fact that you're passing judgment at all shows that you clearly haven't bothered to actually read the teachings of Christ.

      June 8, 2012 at 9:24 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.