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. Woody

    Well in catholic school there was the paddle, ruler across the knuckles , and we had one elderly nun that would put you in a locker . Its all over the bling because the pope needs a new diamond ring . From a former altar boy .

    June 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  2. Joe Zamecki

    I'm SO glad that we have law enforcement in this nation, and that religion can't prevent Dollar from facing the music. Finally.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  3. joshua

    we werent there. may G. help him and his family work this out on their own. everyone has plenty of problems to deal with on top of getting judged by others who might have worse problems at home. mind your own business and lets pray so he can come out of there and work on better relationship with his love ones. shhhhhhh.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Travis

      Praying is the 20th century version of "raising awareness" on twitter and facebook. It has not real value but it makes the person doing it feel better about their lack of action.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  4. Vartan

    Some daughter... her party was more important to her then her family. She's destroyed her fathers reputation and shamed the years of labor for a night of "fun". Kids today are out of control; what's worse is that most American parents are too cowardly, lazy, and selfish to have children. Child abuse is a horrible crime and should be punished; but this is not abuse. Drop the charges and leave the role of parenting where it belongs; with the parent!

    June 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      No, her father destroyed their families reputation. Beating and choking a teenager. Real big man.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • derp

      "She's destroyed her fathers reputation and shamed the years of labor for a night of "fun"."

      Yeah, it's all her fault. She should never have forced him to wrap his hands around her neck and choke her.

      Focking idiot.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Name*kam

      Have any of you been choked out by a parent??? This probably happened more than once, and she got fed up with it... As a parent and someone that actually went through physical and mental abuse I think you all should be ashamed of yourself for defending this moron... And as a war veteren this guy should be sent over sees if he wants to hurt people...

      June 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • My Thoughts

      So choking and being beaten with a shoe is good parenting skills? How many children do you have and do you treat them in such a manner. I say give him an ill fitting pin stripe suit to wear for about 8 months to a year.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Vartan

      Yea, sure. It's okay to ignore your parents unless or until they can buy you a car or give you money. You both exemplify the selfish American children who sacrifice nothing but want everything. Your defense of the child's actions show your maturity level.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Vartan

      Where the hell do you get off condemning the guy? Do you KNOW that he beat her? Why because she has a little ole scratch on her neck? You're exaggerations are amusing; clearly are biased in the matter. What's important here is that the problem would have never started if the child had respect for her family and her father. Obviously you don't understand this because you don't appreciate what this means. You hyper-focus on the claim of abuse at the expense of the honor and respect a parent is due in the first place.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Ervin

      You are obviously insane. He is the criminal!!!!! He assaulted the daughter with his fist, he then attempted to murder her by attempting to choke her to death.You have one of the most strange set of values I have ever encountered. In your twisted value system the victim of the assault is at fault, not the criminal who assaulted her and attempted to kill her.I sincerely hope you have no access to children and if you do hopefully someone on this blog recognizes your name and intervenes on their behalf.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • derp


      You are a complete and total fu c king id iot.

      We know he beat her because it is in the police report.

      I have two grown children who have never been in trouble. I have never choked them, thrown them on the ground or beaten them with a shoe. I've never even hit them.

      Although, right now I am considering doing it to you.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Primewonk

      " this is not abuse. Drop the charges"

      Bullshît. He choked her with his bare hands and beat her with a shoe. Just what the hell is your definition of abuse?

      June 8, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "Your defense of the child's actions show your maturity level."

      no your defense of his actions shows yours.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Fire And Brimstone

      *** what's worse is that most American parents are too cowardly, lazy, and selfish to have children.

      There are over 320 miilion people living in The United States.
      People who choose not to have children are cowards and lazy ?
      You are an imbecile.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • say what??

      You want parenting left with the parents. Guess what? We tried that. People beat their kids (i had it done to me) and everyome minded their own business. Now we have generations of adults who still suffer from that. Do you know that child protection laws were born out of animal cruelty laws? Yes, we were more concerned about animals than kids. Sick people.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  5. grassisbrown

    Hey – He's a dad... Rooting for you man! GODSPEED! It's about time DAD'S STAND UP! THE FIGHT HAS ALREADY BEEN WON! GO DAD!

    June 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • steve

      your definition of a good dad is disturbing

      June 8, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
  6. Henry M.

    Every single teenager needs to respect their parents, America is in decline because this younger generations are loveless,insensible,and the hate for family values. Parents do not care anymore for their children, they are so busy in something else with their friends, sports and things like that. They think that just with few dollars they can buy their child's love but they forgot that their child's need them. Parents need to take their role one more time as parents, if their kids do not like that, well they need to move somewhere else. Family Pray has an answer for everything Family who pray together stays together.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • sleepytime

      Then why does the Bible Belt have the highest divorce rate i the country?

      June 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Leave it to Beaver was a fantasy. There were very few families that were ever that "perfect".

      June 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • derp

      "Then why does the Bible Belt have the highest divorce rate i the country"

      Because redneck fundies are good saying one thing and doing another.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • salmonrusty

      The remaing churches in the West would close down if only the whites were told the truth for once. That the guy they call Jesus was not his real Aramaic name ( that was the language he spoke; still spoken in parts of Syria ); that he was not Scandinavian lookin ( blonde and blue-eyed ); that he lived about 10 mile from the bombed-out Gaza strip and was a Palestinian Jew ( the areas were called Judea and Sumeria in those days; as Iraq was called Babylon ); that he was not European; that he did not speak English and never used the word 'God' but the word Ilahi which is quite close to the Arabic Allah, which Haggi in his sermons makes fun of.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Chris

      Are you suggesting that it is the child's fault the parent beat her with a shoe and choked her? With all due respect, I'm not sure this "man", if you can call him that, deserves any respect from anyone.

      Remember, kids don't just learn good behavior from the parents. They also pick up the negative traits.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  7. mdreader

    I am sure he has done the same to his wife, his mistress, and to his closet boyfriend. These guys are all nothing but phony.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Vartan

      A very shallow remark. You know nothing of this man nor his family. How would you like someone to stereotype and condemn you according to the wrongdoings of others?

      June 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • derp

      "How would you like someone to stereotype and condemn you according to the wrongdoings of others?"

      Are you suggesting that someone else beat the sh it out of his daughter, and he is getting blamed for it?

      June 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "A very shallow remark. You know nothing of this man nor his family. How would you like someone to stereotype and condemn you according to the wrongdoings of others?"

      this from someone who earlier said "Kids today are out of control; what's worse is that most American parents are too cowardly, lazy, and selfish to have children"

      June 8, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Fire And Brimstone

      A very shallow remark. You know nothing of this man nor his family.
      One moron defending another moron.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  8. Phil in Oregon

    Just this morning my son's tutor was asking me "What can you do to motivate him to do his work?" My reply? "it isn't legal to do that to him."

    June 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  9. kthomasson

    Not taking his side may or may not be guilty... But not all pastors kids/family are as clean as you think. Would be surprised of some of the dirty laundry out there with some and run ins with the law.... I use to live above him whose father was a pastor and his son was way out there and lived a wild life. The way he looked and acted you would think he was something from the devil. Complete psycho.... With this story can't help but find hard to believe if Creflo done all this stuff to his daughter should have more then a little scratch. Scratches or cuts are not she should at the most have bruises and signs of being choked

    June 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • say what??

      That's not unusual. It's even expected

      June 8, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  10. sandalista

    According to the OT, disobedient children have to be killed....what a dilemma. Go with the Bible or be a reasonable parent.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Melanie

      People always seem to forget there is a NEW testament as well.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      That's especially true of Christians who use Leviticus to comdemn gay folk.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Yeah but Melanie, people pick and choose what to enforce out of the OT. Can we just throw out the whole OT then? If you don't want to go by the OT in everything it says, throw the whole thing out and stop quoting from it to reinforce your bigoted viewpoints.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Dj

      just by you referring to the OT, shows you dont understand the bible.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  11. PhillySW

    I see, in other words, he probably put his daughter in her place. Like how EVERY parent used to do in the US back in the 40s, 50s, 60s & 70s; and I can assure you it wouldn't have made the headline news! You people are pathetic. I was "jacked up" several times from my parents for doing things I shouldn't have done, and they put me in my place. And it made me a better person for it, that prevented me from going to jail, or worse.

    Interesting now how people want to criticize you for trying to be a parent nowadays, rather than a friend to your child. But when your child goes and steals from someone, or shoots someone, then everyone wants to know, where were the parents! But when you demand respect from an adolescent, then you're being cruel and abusive? Whatever.

    The real hypocrits are the american public nowadays.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • sleepytime

      No, when you abuse them you are being abusive. Get a grip.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Myra

      He did the right thing... Dam child want to go to a party in my house @1:00 *** Shyt.. when pigs fly.. He should have busted her Azz..

      June 8, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Nothing teaches respect like multiple contusions and a good old fashioned concussion, eh?

      June 8, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      My mom and dad never laid a finger on me, and I turned out pretty good.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      so your parents beat you and you would have been heading to jail otherwise? so why would you have been heading for jail otherwise if the beatings were so good for you? did the beatings only start after you started to play up?

      June 8, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • PhillySW

      @Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler – That's because you obviously were one of the kids that "got it" and didn't need any threats to understand how to respect authority. Not all kids are like that. And to think that you can just talk to all kids in a resonable manner, or time out, then you are then living in a fantasy world.

      Some kids do need a more authoritative presence and consequence for their bad actions. Some don't, and I assure you, it's not abuse. Children have been raised that way before Moses was walking on this planet. But now all of a sudden since the 90's, now we think we're smarter than genertions of parents and children before us? If corporal punishment is abuse, then we should have centuries of mass murderers and etc, but that's not the case. At least not until the past few years when we've stopped being parents.

      I didn't have to get whipped by my mother & father all of the time either. But when I did get it, I got the message, and it didn't make me violent like some of you "psychologist" swear by.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • JeffJ

      so phil you say chocking is not abuse....wow!!!

      June 8, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • derp

      "If corporal punishment is abuse, then we should have centuries of mass murderers and etc, but that's not the case"

      Uh, not sure what planet you are from, but here on earth, we have had mass murderers for all of human history.

      The biggest predictor/indicator of future violent behavior, is violent behavior in a household. Beat your kids, and they are five times more likely to abuse their kids, or be abused by their spouse.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Fire And Brimstone

      You just blamed all of America for what this guy did.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • say what??

      Respect is learned. Not demanded. Us kids got beatings too and it didn't help. 2 sibs have been to prison, 3 alcoholics, 1 suicide and 2 made it out "ok".

      June 8, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  12. Rich

    Typical hipocracy in religion.... And I bet the sheeple in his church will still stand by him... And imaginne all the dirty pastors and preachers that never get caught or have their anger brought to the lime light... You are all allowing yourselves to be led by dirty rotten people.. not all but some.. That's why you should only go to the church God gave you, your body and soul. Worship alone or in small groups, do not involve money at all and live by the golden rule.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  13. answer is cold

    not much difference then the Muslim "honor killings".

    June 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • answer is cold

      except this one lived.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  14. Pheadrus

    And... In other news... the dollar took another beating today. Conservatives pray for speedy recovery...

    June 8, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • derp

      Dollar is actually up against the Euro and the Pound today as oil and gold recede.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  15. Adrienne

    God bless Dr. Creflo Dolllar and his family! No judging...I will still watch Dr. Creflo Dollar daily, gotta get my :"fix" before going to work!

    June 8, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Rich

      Allowing yourself to be led by a hipocrite? I knew church goers were weak minded but come on...... what if he did that to your child? Ohh wait, a lot of you stil believe in beating your children, so I guess it's okay? Ohh and if he knew how to raise his child properly in the first place, this would have never happened.. I bet their home life is horribel.. who knows what goes on behind those closed doors.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • sleepytime

      Isn't it funny how much religion is like a drug? As you say, you need your "fix" or you can't function. It destroys families, destroys mental health and infests poor neighborhoods, all very much like some terribly, highly-addictive drug.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • REECY

      He did the right thing... Dam child want to go to a party in my house @1:00 *** Shyt.. when pigs fly.. He should have busted her Azz..AMEN I WILL CONTINUE TO WATCH HIM....

      June 8, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Bill

      Ba Ba Black Sheep

      June 8, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Fire And Brimstone

      If your boss see's your needle marks you will get fired.
      Time to dry out.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  16. Theistville Dog

    Choose one's choices while ever being chosen for the right and the wrong is truly not as a song. The libraries of mandrake's roots is kicked upon by pus-n-boots. Shallow is the fields of play tenderly does come what may. ,Deep depths does span the hollowness weeds, for life changes meander with creeds. Know therefore the loves you desire and never will nor never hire. Bring what you have rendered in life, be it husband or even of wife. Children be wary and remember what's scary. For your childhood dreams may one day turn toward adultly screams.

    To get to heaven one needs to go thru hell. No if's and's or butt's, only holes,, so choose wisely and aim well for one might never tell where one's ink does well. Driven home the pen almighty, never known which wrong might be righty. Sink rightly before you explore the cavernous ways for tommorrow you can never borrow for what was, always stays.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  17. Deborah Torres

    Anybody who doesnt have a teenager need not say a word! I can assure you that he was doing what most parents today dont do and may have lost it a bit. Teens today push buttons like you wouldnt believe! He was handling business like Most parents today dont do and thats why the worlds in chaos. Thats why the prison systems are full today, Parents who were to busy doing what they wanted to do and let their kids run the earth crazy! Hes a good man and NOT PERFECT... It amazes me how people judge christians and people in the world do way worse and we forgive them. AMAZING...

    June 8, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Rich

      If you raise your child properly in the first place, it wouldn't get this far because they would respect you and you them. I was a teen, raised by great parents. It all starts with the parents. Anything your child does wrong, you only have yourself to blame.... from day one.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      if he had been hitting an adult in this manner it would have been assault, why dont you want to give children the same protection as adults?

      June 8, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • PhillySW

      @rich – A child is ALWAYS finding a way to get over on a parent, and push their boundaries. Just because you're a good parent doesn't mean your child will be perfect. I certainly saw that in college.But that doesn't mean that you STILL shouldn't lay down the law and be a parent as well.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • JeffJ

      so Deborah people are not allowed to stand up for one another.....you go to one hell of a church sweetie.....

      June 8, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • derp

      I raised two kids who are now 21 and 23. Never hit them.

      Go ahead and beat your kids. Just don't complain when they get abused by their spouse. Violent behavior towards children does not do anything to change their behavior or earn their respect. All it does it teach them that letting someone hit them is ok.

      Nice parenting job.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • sb2012

      oh I see, so because he is Christian and / or a pastor, some people seem to think that it was OK and "being a good father" to beat his child. What if this was just a story about a random man that did this to his child? I think some of you would approaching this a little differently, saying something along the lines of him not being "a good Christian"...

      June 8, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • steve

      actually most people in prison today were physically abused as kids,.

      June 8, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Tom Peters

      It also teaches tat hitting is the way to win an argument....anywhere.

      June 9, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  18. hahaha

    The girl says her dad beat the daylights out of her yet she only had a small scratch on her neck. I'LL GO AHEAD AND BELIEVE A TEENAGER'S WORD

    June 8, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Deborah Torres

      EXACTLY! you know how the media loves to turn up the heat and lie. How does he beat the mess out of her and choke her to death and just a scratch! I think they arrested the wrong person. LOL

      June 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "Deputies also spoke with another daughter, 19, who corroborated her sister's account of what happened"

      June 8, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Fire And Brimstone

      So you would be satisfied if she was black and blue and needed medical attention ?
      You are sick.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Mom from the caribbean

      You guys need to volunteer in some of these schools and see how quickly you change your minds about why some kids need their %zz whooped! If parents do what is needed more often then maybe we would have less crime and unruly kids.

      June 9, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  19. DPGW

    "and has an $18 million sanctuary known as the World Dome."
    All you need to know, people. All you need to know...

    June 8, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Rich

      Greedy, rich, abusive, hipocrite.. sounds about right.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Fire And Brimstone

      He preaches that its ok to be rich,
      Jesus had a different idea.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  20. TiffyB

    I agree totally with Goose. There would be more than a scratch on her neck. This is more than likely a case of a young girl not being able to go out so she is mad. Spare the rod, spoil the child. My prayers to the Dollar family.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Dave

      Amen to that sista!

      June 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • derp

      Nothing shows jesus love like choking the sh it out of your kid.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:14 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.