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. NeiseyCakes

    I would never argue with a CHILD living in my home. Once I say "NO" that is the end of the story and walk away. And people wonder why so many women stay in abusive relationships today. A 15 y/o can be punished without physical abuse.

    June 9, 2012 at 1:09 am |
    • sister phister

      Do you think he made her strip naked first, before he beat her bare supple backside with a shoe. And made her jump up and down while smacking her around?

      June 9, 2012 at 1:14 am |
  2. Ck

    Religion doesn't have a place in this world. It was used as a way to explain the unexplainable during a period of time when modern science was unavailable.

    Jesus existed, but he is no different than David Koresh and the Branch Davidians or any other cultist leaders.

    The Bible is nothing more than a book written by man, telling stores and fables.

    June 9, 2012 at 1:08 am |
    • NeiseyCakes

      I agree with this one too

      June 9, 2012 at 1:12 am |
    • Ck

      Divine intervention? Nope, police intervention.

      Nothing to see here folks... Walk away, walk away. Just another child abuser off the streets.

      June 9, 2012 at 1:14 am |
    • Nikki

      You'll see when you're standing before God in judgment. You're wrong.

      June 9, 2012 at 1:14 am |
  3. Lisa

    Oh, please. When dad or mom says no, the answer is NO. No, you are not going to a party. No, you are not going to argue with me. Stay home. This happened at one am Friday morning. Where was she going in the middle of the night on a Friday night? The answer is NO. Spoiled brat.

    June 9, 2012 at 1:06 am |
  4. Mary B

    I totally believe her. Just because he's the pastor of a so-called megachurch doesn't mean he didn't do it. My churchgoing father used to strip us naked (no matter where we were) and beat the living daylights out of us; sometimes we never even figured out what our infraction was. But hallelujah, we were shoved into the double doors of First Assembly every time they had a service, even though there was never any appreciable change in their (my parents) lives. Nowadays, parents are held accountable for the abuse they heap upon their children in the name of religion-"spare the rod" mentality. It's about time! I sure wish my abusive old man could be held accountable for all of the hurt he inflicted. Too bad the laws aren't retroactive!

    June 9, 2012 at 12:55 am |
    • Lisa

      I agree. I saw that child abuse, too. Sick stuff. I don't know if we are talking about the same thing. If your daughter was trying to go out in the middle of the night to possibly do something bad, would you do anything in your power to stop her, to keep her home?

      June 9, 2012 at 1:19 am |
  5. Namedd

    She may have been fighting him too . It was simple assault which means scratches , pushing not a beat down . I do not care for him but now parents allow children to run wild and as disrespectful as she was oh well .

    June 9, 2012 at 12:37 am |
  6. You've got to be kidding

    I teach these 15 year olds and they cuss like sailors, start mess using twitter, post fights on youtube, plan riots, etc. Yet they can barely read or write. If someone would step in and start beating the sense into them maybe they could read past the second grade level! America is a lawless society now. There is no respect, no taboo areas and anything goes. I had one parent tell me that her daughter cussed her daily on the way to school and all she did was ask her to be quiet. Every time you look up these kids are robbing, shooting each other and breaking into private property. Yet when some property owner shoots them they have done wrong. Society needs to make its mind up, are we sheep or citizens? I even had some students tell me that they wanted to be thieves and kick burglars as if those are career choices. Since you don't want these "children" touched with human hands, maybe parents should be licensed to taze their behinds. They need some discipline!!!!

    June 9, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • Nikki

      That's right! Very well said!

      June 9, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Amazed


      June 9, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • Adrienne

      You said just what I was thinking. And to add to your comment, if the girl had disrespected the police, just her skin tone alone very well would have given them the thought of thinking they would be in the right to raze her or even shoot her in self defense. Parents should be allowed to discipline their children as long as its not done abusively. However, where shall we draw the line. I'd have to call the law to come pick her up after every episode of sass that she would give me. Then see what the police would do. Leave Pastor Dollar be.

      June 9, 2012 at 1:22 am |
  7. CheckYoFacts

    If my daughter ever DREAMED of talking crazy to me and hitting me because I told her she couldn't go to a party, you can bet your bottom dollar that you all would be seeing a mug shot of me on CNN, too. Religion and politics aside, no child in my house is going to treat me with anything but the utmost respect.

    I brought you into this world.....

    June 9, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • You've got to be kidding

      I agree and if the public doesn't like it they can take over the care and feeding of them. Cause LAWD KNOWS, I will beat the brakes off of you if you talk crazy to me in my house! If they talk crazy to the police, if they are lucky they go to jail. If not they end up in the morgue. I'm willing to bet that all of these naysayers are either childless, or never raised a teenager. They really don't know what they are like now. Quit being in denial, a lot of the children across the board are out of control. Example: Tika who was deported because she posed as a Columbian, thought she was on an adventure and now she is back home pregnant. They should have tazed her before she went on her adventure and maybe should wouldn't have ended up pregnant.

      June 9, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • Lisa

      ..and I will take you out. It was my responsibility as a parent to know where my son was at all times and in all places. In the middle of the night on a Friday night? Absolutely not. He grew up a fine young man. Very successful, and with a terrific future in front of him as we speak.

      June 9, 2012 at 1:12 am |
  8. Jessica

    Prosperity Gospel? Sounds like greed to me. Choking and attacking your daughter Mr. Thug is not discipline

    June 9, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • NeiseyCakes

      I totally agree

      June 9, 2012 at 1:06 am |
  9. Eddard Stark

    ALL religions (especially Christianity ) should adapt the first rule of fight club...

    June 9, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • thes33k3r

      never talk about fight club

      June 9, 2012 at 12:31 am |
  10. El Scorcho

    A violent black man...whoa...shocking.

    June 9, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • RD

      you sound like a fool

      June 9, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • kdpolite

      That is an awfully racist remark and you should be ashamed of yourself. But I guess if you had any shame at all you would not have made the statement to begin with. If not for people like you this would be a much better country to live in and I bet you consider yourself a Christian too.I really feel sorry for you and people of your ilk.

      June 9, 2012 at 12:36 am |
  11. Cyndi Lightfoot

    Really people! No he should not have choke her, but being a parent and one that is new school but was raised old school, she might have had it waitng for her. Understand, Most old school black folks do not approve of that time out rule. Children today have learned the system will bail them out. It says it was over a party...... AKA did not fall in line with old school rules. ...... I am not a fan of the this pastor and choking her was not the right thing, but I support him on this one. It was not child abuse so stop calling it that and we do not know the whole story. If she ends on the wrong side of life then what will you call it? Her parents did not raise her? Remember this was a 15 year old and 19 standing behind her sister, how many have support their siblings to get their parent (s) in trouble.... RAISE your child pastor and stick to the old school rules!

    June 9, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • Eddard Stark

      old rules? Like sharia law?

      June 9, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • JD

      You're one brick shy of a load.

      June 9, 2012 at 12:18 am |
  12. George

    And cue the all encompassing hypocritical Christian bashing:

    June 8, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • captain obvious

      Nothing hypocritical about bashing religion.

      June 8, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • sleepytime

      Who wouldn't want to bash hypocritical Christians?

      June 8, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Eddard Stark

      Modern day Christians have earned hypocritical bashing...they're just like politicians....do as I say, not as I do

      June 9, 2012 at 12:20 am |
  13. captain obvious

    I believe that all religion is garbage, I usually would not come to the defense of a minister but I hope he whooped her a s s good before she called the cops. Staying out late and partying, if she had half a brain she would thank him for it.

    June 8, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • sleepytime

      I'm still unclear on why you're advocating child abuse.

      June 8, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • captain obvious

      It isn't in my mission statement to alleviate you of your ignorance.

      June 8, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • DUMBA$$..

      you my friend are dumb. I would like to see your dad beat you.

      June 8, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Eric

      Agreed, these kids need more punishment and physical discipline. Kids are turning to spoiled little brats these days as a result of lax discipline. The pansy fools who think we shouldn't whoop our kids when they are bad are the real problems with society. The idiots know nothing. When you swat a dog with a newspaper they learn, same with kids, it's the only way.

      June 9, 2012 at 12:11 am |
  14. sleepytime

    Here's hoping this is the end of the road for Mr. Dollar.

    June 8, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
  15. Iamright


    June 8, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
  16. fsmgroupie

    Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones. - Psalm 137:9

    June 8, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Talk about 'damning with faint praise.'

      June 8, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      hey, can't let dad have all the fun. here's jesus talking about killing kids:

      "And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searches the reins and hearts: and I will give to every one of you according to your works."
      – Revelation 2:23

      June 8, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • CheckYaFacts

      @bootyfunk – You do realize that Revelations contains no quotes from Jesus, correct? That Revelations is, in fact, reputed to be authored by John of Patnos, correct? P.S. John of Patnos is NOT believed to be the apostle John...in case you wanted to make that case next.

      June 8, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Missed the red-letter edition, there, bootayfunk?

      June 8, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • Rukbat

      You do realize that the claim that anything in the Bible is from Jesus, or that an actual Biblical Jesus, is just a claim, and that the actual evidence is in favor of "Jesus" being a completely fabricated character, not seen in writing until well over 100 years after "his" death.

      June 8, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      I've been told that jesus is god and vice versa and that every word of the bible is inspired by god... so technically Bootyfunk is correct.

      June 9, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • John Richards

      @fsmgroupie – Your quote from Psalm 137:9 – is an interesting one, and it's often taken out of context. Firstly, the whole of Psalm 137 is written with poetic language. V. 5 "If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget her skill" – Is this a curse on God's literal hand so that it will not function properly? Or is it a poetic reference to – God will not forget the Israelites? In the same way, the Psalmist in v.9 indicates that God will bring punishment on the Israelites. It's not a vendetta against children. It's talking about crime and punishment for disobedience. Second, it would be better understood as, would any other quote if taken in context. Hope this helps.

      June 9, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • GodFreeNow

      @John Richards, Will you also provide the proper context for all of the other orders by god to kill children such as this gem:
      "Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, "Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all – old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin your task right here at the Temple." So they began by killing the seventy leaders. "Defile the Temple!" the LORD commanded. "Fill its courtyards with the bodies of those you kill! Go!" So they went throughout the city and did as they were told." (Ezekiel 9:5-7)

      Or will you also put in the context how god presumably committed genocide killing all children except those in Noah's family including pregnant women?

      I love to hear people put the murdering of children into "context".

      June 9, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  17. JLundy

    So refreshing to see a story about a religious leader in trouble for something that did not involve little boys !

    June 8, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • OhPleaseYerKillinMeSTOP

      Incest is better? Stop stealing from individual independent homeowners. Tax these churches, mosques, synagogues. and grandiose mormon temples like the commercial businesses they are. Now !!!

      June 8, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  18. Media Aka Thebelt

    As Madia would say Some of you parents ught to take that Belt out and wear that ass out when these teens get out of control. It was good back in the day and still works today...Stop given kids everything , make them work for what they get and they will appreciate it more. Got my but whipped with a belt and left no scars or emotional scars but left a healthy respect for authority. Kids will learn it from the Parents or from Bubba in Prisin Which would you rather it be?

    June 8, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Apparently it didn't result in the ability to write anything but gibberish at a third-grade level.

      June 8, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
  19. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    edit :sound like it.

    June 8, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Nikki

      It's easy to see that you are both hateful & miserable. It shows very clearly through what you type here. You're judging his home, but are you ready to stand in judgment before the Almighty God? I urge you to accept Jesus as your savior or eternal damnation awaits you. Hebrews 9:27, Revelation 20:14-15

      June 9, 2012 at 12:15 am |
  20. Marie

    Really?! Being a Christian does not mean that you cannot CHECK your children. Did you all forget, spare the ROD spoil the child?. Did he do more than I prefer? Yes... But that doesn't make him less Godly. Can this cause therapy sessions? It should! But everyone is not TALK to and TIME out your kids type of parents. She is 15 years old, people. He may have had the right to remain silent but that does NOT give her the right to get out of hand. Tap that tail again Pastor or she can move out.

    June 8, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Do you even know the real meaning of "spare the rod and spoil the child"? Doesn't sour like it.

      June 8, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • sleepytime

      If he's "tapping that tail", that's a whole different set of crimes and he should be sent away for a very, very long time.

      June 8, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • fuzzywaffle

      He strangled her Marie. The guy is a child abuser. If you are trying to condone or defend his actions you need to seek psychological help.

      June 8, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • cory

      Bottom line is he assaulted his daughter not "tapped her tail". Thats against the law....so take your rod and shove it....nuff said.

      June 8, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      you sound like a great parent. lol.

      June 8, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • MJC

      Giving your children some discipline is not what this man did. No way!! Did you not read the article lady? He grabbed her and choked her and threw her to the floor & beat her. She was so abused & traumatized she called 911. He will be hopefully given the full weight of the law for his own sins. Let he who is without sin throw the 1st stone.

      June 8, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Eric

      I see nothing wrong done here. This spoiled little brat kid embellished what really happened. She was out of line and he physically restrained her, no crime committed here at all – NONE people.

      June 9, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • Nikki

      I agree with Eric & Marie. This is Not a case of abuse. The article says she had a scratch! I can't say I wouldn't have done the same (except the choking) if she was out of line with me. I stand with him on this and am praying that God shuts the mouths of his enemies. Stop judging his household and focus on your own!

      June 9, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • Nikki

      @MJC You're preaching at yourself when you use the scripture "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Are you without sin? I didn't think so.

      June 9, 2012 at 12:30 am |
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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.