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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. Ruby M. Fletcher

    It more than one side to this story. I don't know the other side, nor do you. Kids know what they can do now, dial 911. Even the youngest of them know that. Me, I would let her go, she will find her way back. I would try to discipline her any more after this. Sometimes you have to let them grow up the hard way. The truth will come out. Where were the mother in all of this????

    June 9, 2012 at 3:18 am |
    • Fozzyspeak

      That is a lot of guessing you are doing.

      June 9, 2012 at 3:31 am |
    • Adam

      Don't they have city curfews for 15 year olds?

      June 9, 2012 at 3:49 am |
    • Doug

      Typical Christian preacher hypocrite, he did not want to help his daughter, he wanted to control her.. This man is a fraud...

      June 9, 2012 at 3:59 am |
  2. Fola sukky

    Check out the ministry of Jesus christ, he was criticized throughout his days on earth, who says a pastor shouldnt preach about money? I cant follow a poor pastor cos i dont want to be poor either. Ride on pastor dollar!

    June 9, 2012 at 3:16 am |
    • Adam

      Actually, Jesus decided NOT to accept the riches of this world. Denied the "temptations" of the devil 3x's while he fasted in the desert. As a matter of fact, Jesus even died for our sins, instead of being the "king" of this world. For He is preparing a place for us in Heaven. Blessed are those who are rich in the spirit.... I would rather follow a humble, poor pastor who preaches the Bible truth, than a "rich" preacher who focuses primary on how God's people will be blessed financially, especially if they "give" to him. God does NOT bless everyone financially, no matter how of a sincere christian you may be. He may bless you instead with a family, employment, basic needs, health or just peace in your life. Jesus did not preach Dollar's message. He preached about helping others. Not focussing on getting "blessed"/rich yourselves. Yes. in the last days, people will be lovers of themselves. Oh, how true this has come to be.

      June 9, 2012 at 3:35 am |
  3. Adam

    Didn't the article say that the 19 sibling witnessed the event? If he didn't do anything, then he wouldn't have been arrested. Bunch of crock "pastors" who are only set on taking advantage of people...especially their $$$. Tell me, did Jesus have million$ of $$$ floating in His pocket, great big house, fancy rides? NO. Jesus was OUR example to show us that are neighbors are first, before ourselves. Our reward is in Heaven. Dollar take all that $$$ and give it all to the poor. Stop hoarding it...by claiming it is "God's will". Mega Pastors...bunch of HYPROCRITES!.

    June 9, 2012 at 3:04 am |
    • A Cortez

      you sound really broke and hateful.. you need prayer and understanding. sheesh..'

      mad that you cant afford nice things? wow.. haters are everywhere disguised as Christians.. SATAN SIT DOWN!

      June 9, 2012 at 3:11 am |
    • Adam

      A Cortez: No. I'm not broke. Nor am I unhappy. Actually quite the contrary, blessed with a wonderful family and very content with my life as a Christian. I don't base my "happiness" on $$$, especially in "this world". This world is only temporary and will be destroyed. Tell me, what are "you" going to take to Heaven? Only your character. BTW: Read & understand the events surrounding the Day of Pentacost in the Upper Room. No one was without want. Tell me, how much $$$ does Dollar spend each week on clothes, fancy house and cars, dining etc., while people are digging through trash cans and sleeping outside? Yes, you're correct, may the "devil be gone" from all of the hyprocrites in this world, especially the "false prophets". Eventually you will see the truth...hopefully oh deceived one.

      June 9, 2012 at 3:23 am |
    • Fozzyspeak

      You are both nut jobs.

      June 9, 2012 at 3:34 am |
    • Adam

      Fozzyspeak: Yes. I admit we do live in a crazy world...don't we?

      June 9, 2012 at 3:40 am |
    • Alexalex

      @fozzy. True, but if I had to b stuck in a room with one of them I'd rather it be Adam. At least dude talks about helping folks. Even if it's only out of fear of a lake of fire or wherever they believe "sin ners" go.

      June 9, 2012 at 3:44 am |
    • Adam

      Alexalex: Yes. We are all sinners. Some repent (daily), some don't. We all fall at different times in our lives. It is only by the "grace" of God, through the precious blood of Jesus Christ who died on the cross, that we are saved. I am no one to judge which sinner is saved or not, only God. BTW...no fire and brimstone here. God is too merciful to let "sinners" burn forever.

      June 9, 2012 at 3:57 am |
  4. Joel Agboola

    What is bad to train a child in the way of the lord? Well, I think USA Govt. Need to do something on it.

    June 9, 2012 at 2:52 am |
    • Angela Birch

      BIg difference between training a child and beating a child with your shoe while choking her. It you are choking your child when she is 15 you have been an utter failure at training her. By the time a child is 15 beating them won't do a thing to train anyone. To be honest beating a child doesn't train them to do anything other than flinch. To train someone is to educate them to teach them. This pastor has only trained his children to see him as a fool who has lost control of his emotions.

      June 9, 2012 at 3:13 am |
    • Adam

      AusieSceptic1: Flogging? Are you kidding me? She did not steal or committ adultery. She wanted to go out to a party at 1am. Wow. Flogging. It kind of reminds me of "choking". Wonderful example you are to your children. Teach them to abuse as well. It sounds like Dollar doesn't have a grip on his only family. Typical...rebellious teenager. That's life. Deal with it in a better way, talk and reason with your child. Pray with them. Not just beat...I mean "choke" Satan out of them.

      June 9, 2012 at 3:47 am |
    • sam stone

      Yeah. If true, the government needs to lock up this preacher

      June 9, 2012 at 6:56 am |
  5. polycarp pio

    I am all for using a paddel, not a hand, and you dont do it in anger, you wait a little bit a few minutes and tell the child you love them and are doing this for their own good. Honor your father and mother that you days upon the earth may be long. PP

    June 9, 2012 at 2:50 am |
    • AusieSceptic1

      no, do it right away temper your anger but let the child know that this is a direct response to their activity.

      and when you find out that you were a bit hasty and got you facts wrong, the child still has an excellent flogging to remember

      June 9, 2012 at 3:16 am |
  6. Name*Phillip

    I believe that Billy Graham's ministry more accurately reflects Jesus Christ's mission here on earth. Now, if you declare on your own how believers are to be blessed, then you have the almighty God to answer to.let's pray for him and his family.

    June 9, 2012 at 2:36 am |
    • A Cortez

      sounds like you have never listened to ONE sermon by Pastor Dollar.. ignorance is rampant

      June 9, 2012 at 3:13 am |
  7. Jacqueline carter

    Yu knw its really ashame how we as black people can bash one another so publicly we show no respect call each other names belittle one another and yu wounder why we as ablk race is so disrespected how in the world can we demand respect from other ethnic groups when we have no respect for one another

    June 9, 2012 at 2:35 am |
    • PPLRWRD

      I am not saying I agree or disagree with you, just currious what brought this on? Did someone say something to you?

      June 9, 2012 at 2:38 am |
  8. PPLRWRD

    Personnaly I would have told her no. Then I would of kept an eye open. If she went anyways all the doors and windows to the house would have been locked, the cops would have been called with a missing child report, and then she would have had to figure things out on her own.

    June 9, 2012 at 2:34 am |
    • Adam

      I agree. You would think there is a city curfew at 1am. Either way, would have probably made the news. I'm sure that added to the situation for Dollar.

      June 9, 2012 at 4:00 am |
  9. davvvyc

    I know hell and heaven are real. So we must stand before Jesus. I pray for God's will and God to use this for His glory. Faithful are the wounds of a friend. Not the kisses of an enemy. May God's love heal their relationship.

    June 9, 2012 at 2:23 am |
    • Angela Birch

      . To be honest that verse has been used to justify some of the most horrific child abuse out there, literally been used to justify beating children to death.
      To equate love with abuse is just loathsome.

      June 9, 2012 at 3:17 am |
    • sam stone

      so, if a friend hits you, that is good?

      June 9, 2012 at 6:58 am |
    • sam stone

      The schtick is not that you will stand before jesus, it is "every knee shall bow"..,,,you know, like a slave

      June 9, 2012 at 6:59 am |
  10. Katja

    Defiant 15 year old girl fights with her father over attending a party at 1 am!!?...Sounds like its pretty obvious what happened here and he is NOT to blame! Teenagers know how to push their parents to the limit and then when they finally get an ass whoopin they call the police and cry about it! Thats the problem with American youth today! They have no respect!

    June 9, 2012 at 2:17 am |
    • PPLRWRD

      If he took things to the extent the daughter says he did I don't know if I agree with him. But I do agree with you, the father may have been wrong but the daughter definetely contributed to the problem and should be suprised at what happened if she knows her fathers temper.

      June 9, 2012 at 2:36 am |
    • PPLRWRD

      I meant should not be suprised

      June 9, 2012 at 2:39 am |
    • Adam

      Sorry, have to disagree with you here. Getting an @ss whoopin is not the same as being choked around the neck. Completely 2 different body parts, to the extreme. Dollar probably needs to go to anger management classes/therapy and have his daughter attend counseling and family counseling.

      June 9, 2012 at 3:08 am |
    • A Cortez

      i love my children but they will get it too if they try me in that fashion. But this is his business and WHO can really give an account of what happened??

      June 9, 2012 at 3:15 am |
    • Adam

      A Cortez: Well...it doesn't appear that they are having a good time! Appearently, they have issues. Sometimes, people need to seek counseling, even Pastors.

      June 9, 2012 at 3:38 am |
    • Ann

      I don't care WHO you are....a grown man should NEVER put his hands on his 15 year-old daughter in the manner of choking her!! Are you all are crazy??? I'm not saying that she was right, but HE is supposed to be the adult and under control; nothing justified violence like that. Truth is, he is no better than any of these other abusers...designer suits or not. You can dress him up but he's still an abuser.

      June 9, 2012 at 3:48 am |
  11. Donna

    At this point, we only have her version of events. Just because a scratch was noticed on her neck doesn't mean she was physically abused. For all we know she scratched herself or many other logical reasons. All I'm saying is don't rush to judge until ALL facts are in., I'm sure she hasn't minded taking Daddy's $$ to look good and have all the latest toys and she didn't get her way. That being said, from what it SOUNDS like is she needs at least be grounded with no trappings of luxury.

    June 9, 2012 at 2:12 am |
    • Adam

      No a scratch doesn't neccessary indicate she was abused, but her older sister did attest about what had occurred. If the "facts" weren't adding up, Dollar would never had been arrested. The police must have felt that he had physically assaulted his daughter. Oh, by the way, I'm not judging...just stating what happened. Remember, only Christ is perfect. Humans are ALL sinners and fallable...even Dollar himself.

      June 9, 2012 at 3:12 am |
    • A Cortez

      ADAM HAS A WHOLE LOT OF TIME ON HIS HANDS... MIGHTY JUDGEMENTAL OF SOMEONE HE HAS NEVER MET.. SOUNDS LIKE A DEVIL TO ME.. ADAM YOU REALLY A HATEFUL LITTLE THING.. YOU NEED TO FOCUS ON GETTING RIGHT AND WORKING ON YOUR SHORTCOMINGS, INSTEAD OF EXAMINING EVERYONE ELSES.

      June 9, 2012 at 3:20 am |
    • Adam

      Ok. A Cortez: Then answer me this...why did the police, the law...arrest Dollar if "nothing" appeared to occur? Do the police just "randomly" show up at someone's house and arrest someone for no reason? Let's layout the facts. 911 call. Police show up. Observe scratch on daughter's neck. Interview victm (daughter), accused person (father, Dollar), and witness(es) (older daughter). Make arrest. All equates to "probable cause" in the law enforcement's judgement.

      June 9, 2012 at 4:09 am |
    • Adam

      A Cortez: No, I am not the devil. Sorry. Just a imperfect sinner like everyone else. Not hateful. Just stating "it is what it is". Do you really have a pastor...I mean any person...exalted that high on a pedestal? Do you really think "pastors" are infallable? What would/will you think if the "truth" comes out and Dollar admits he made a mistake by losing his temper and physically abused his daughter? Would you think anything less of him? I wouldn't. We ALL make mistakes. But it "takes a man" to man up to them. There is nothing wrong with speaking the truth, if it is the truth. God has used many people in the past who had sinned (even directly against Him) and used them as examples for us...to lead us closer to Him. Hopefully, Dollar will do the same. Maybe. Just maybe.

      June 9, 2012 at 4:26 am |
    • sam stone

      "MIGHTY JUDGEMENTAL OF SOMEONE HE HAS NEVER MET.. SOUNDS LIKE A DEVIL TO ME."

      Sounds like many of the Christian posters to these blogs

      June 9, 2012 at 7:01 am |
  12. TW

    Where was the First Lady? Why did she not, at the time she herself was propositioned by her daughter about going to a party, sit her daughter down to explain why she will not be allowed to attend a party instead of re-directing her daughter to her husband (Mr. Dollar) who told her "no". Surely Mrs. Dollar failed her job as a mother to teach her daughter to respect her father's decision.

    This type of publicity will surely has some negative influence on Mr. Dollars entire ministry and his life-style.

    I pray for Mr. Dollar and his family.

    June 9, 2012 at 2:00 am |
  13. Cortanis

    I'm all for disciplining kids, but their is a difference between disciplin and abuse.

    June 9, 2012 at 1:56 am |
  14. Cassy

    oooh, wonder when he'll be investigated for extortion..

    June 9, 2012 at 1:51 am |
  15. dozedoff

    Like the good book says, break the god da m ned rod and spoil the child

    June 9, 2012 at 1:45 am |
  16. sacredlady

    Well, Pastor Dollar should not be charged with any crime for disciplining his disrespectful daughter. It was good that Pastor Dollar b*&$h slapped her into a stupor so that she will never be disrespectful again.

    June 9, 2012 at 1:36 am |
    • dollar billz daughter

      yeah! She should have just smacked him in the nut sac like he wanted, so he wouldn't skeet his hot man milk all over. The she could have gone to the gang bang.

      June 9, 2012 at 1:41 am |
    • A Cortez

      IN AGREEMENT SACRED

      June 9, 2012 at 3:22 am |
    • Angela Birch

      A father who has lost the respect of his daughter by the time she is 15 isn't going to get it back by choking her. He sure isn't going to get it by getting himself arrested and tried for child abuse. IF anything it will make her aware that she can call the cops, though in this case it seems warranted. The man lost control of his emotions and got himself in trouble. The child now knows dad is vulnerable to arrest and bad publicity. She is in a much more powerful position since he lost his temper and gave her the power, stupid man.

      June 9, 2012 at 3:22 am |
    • Alexalex

      @sacredlady. B-I-tc h!!!! Did u not see that there are men who r posting a different viewpoint than yours? Does your husband know you r using HIS Internet without a chaperone. A womenis supposed to b submissive to men, that is the way of the lord. Go make us some sandwiches. And make sure u cut the crus t off or ur gonna get hit with a shoe!

      June 9, 2012 at 3:58 am |
  17. Karla

    Another con artist carrying a cross. Poor Jesus, these people give his message such a bad name.

    June 9, 2012 at 1:34 am |
    • PPLRWRD

      I beg to differ. The problem is people look to people for examples of Christianity. The whole point of Christianity is that people are sinners in need of Christ. Only Christ can save. Only Christ is perfect. If you look to any man or women you WILL be dissapointed. We need to look to Christ for the example of Christianity.

      June 9, 2012 at 2:32 am |
    • A Cortez

      LOL. YOUR BLIND AND IGNORANT.. SHEESH MAN.. YOUR WHACK.

      June 9, 2012 at 3:23 am |
    • Adam

      A Cortez: No. You're just deceived.

      June 9, 2012 at 4:32 am |
  18. Snik

    Leave this man of God alone!

    June 9, 2012 at 1:32 am |
    • Lucha

      Boy you're snowed...

      June 9, 2012 at 1:36 am |
    • A Cortez

      AMEN..

      June 9, 2012 at 3:23 am |
    • Adam

      Snik: Isn't Dollar who got himself into all of this? If you're in the "public" spotlight, then you're fair game to be examined and critiqued. It is just the way it is. Jesus was. Why would Dollar be any different (not that he is Christ)? Everybody, including Dollar is accountable for their actions (earthly law, but more important God's law). Dollar is not the exception to the rule.

      June 9, 2012 at 4:37 am |
  19. Reptillian

    Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

    Matthew 7:15-16 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them."

    Who's this Prosperity Preacher serving?

    June 9, 2012 at 1:16 am |
    • Adam

      Thank you Reptillian for spelling it out. Bible truth.

      June 9, 2012 at 4:39 am |
    • Mirosal

      Isn't "bible truth" an oxymoron?

      June 9, 2012 at 4:43 am |
  20. Kenjitheman

    If that was me, my father would have beat me within an inch of my life. Respecting your elders is what its all about. She never would have been choked if she just said, "yes dad". I wont go out. Simple as that

    June 9, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • sister phister

      What if he had wanted her to take a shower with him? What then? That would be crossing the line.

      June 9, 2012 at 1:18 am |
    • Lucha

      Just like a person who has no boundries to suggest something sick like that. I hope he puts her out.

      June 9, 2012 at 1:38 am |
    • dollar billz daughter

      Turns her out?

      June 9, 2012 at 1:39 am |
    • Ann

      AGREE

      June 9, 2012 at 2:40 am |
    • A Cortez

      @SISTER PHISTER.. YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY A DEVIL.. AND YOU SHOULD SHUT YOUR MOUTH AS NOT TO BE IDENTIFIED.. IGNORANT FOOL.

      June 9, 2012 at 3:25 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.