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. dozedoff

    maybe we can find a few saintly people out there, a few godly people out there.. a few rightous people out there

    that next week while they filming his tv show, you will all stand up and hurl your shoes at him onstage !!

    it worked for george bush, one fed up iraqi hurled a shoe at him and we never heard from george again

    June 9, 2012 at 6:31 am |
    • sam stone

      likely, the "godly" people are not claiming to be so

      June 9, 2012 at 6:32 am |
  2. Fritz Hohenheim

    She can consider herself lucky that he didnt stone her, since she disrespected her father. He certainly had the right to do so, according to the religion he is preaching. Well the good thing is, he has enough money from all the gullible people who donate to him so he will get out of this easily and be back on the TV screen to tell you how to run your life righteously.

    June 9, 2012 at 6:24 am |
  3. dozedoff

    When you show up at his church sunday, and you pull out your checkbook to hand out that money to a child abuser.. why dont you actually write the check out to his daughter instead. i'm sure she could use the money way more than mega abuser here.

    June 9, 2012 at 6:20 am |
  4. anonymous

    Creflo dollar must be watching to many reruns of ike turner beating up tina turner with the shoe... "Sing it like I tell you Ana May!"

    June 9, 2012 at 6:19 am |
    • dozedoff

      ill sing it.. ill sing it like you want daddy ike.. please dont beat with me with that shoe again.. oh lordy ill sing it

      June 9, 2012 at 6:24 am |
  5. dozedoff

    Thank god for the smart mouths on our children, thats why we send them to school is to become smart. The ones you have to worry about are the dumb mouths like this pastor dollar, and all the other saintly child abusers out there. Shouldnt a dumb mouth be beaten down before a smart one? We need smart people, we need doctors and scientists with smart mouths

    June 9, 2012 at 6:11 am |
  6. Redhawk

    How is it that people argue over what's right, wrong, true "religion" or false, because of an article? All this article did was to publish a story about a teen that was physically abused by her father, which is wrong, no matter what "god" you believe in, or don't. If he were "true Christian" he wouldn't beat his daughter. Well, if he was an atheist and beat his daughter he would still be wrong. Doesn't matter what you believe in, right is right, wrong is wrong. Poor girl, maybe she deserved to be disciplined because of her smart mouth, perhaps even grounded, but choked, slammed to the ground? Come on! That is as wrong as churches like his preaching money over morals!

    June 9, 2012 at 6:02 am |
  7. dozedoff

    bout time we started locking up all these child abusers. YOU do not have the right to hit your child, nor anyone else. if you raise your hand against someone, it should be cut off at the wrist so you can't raise it against anyone else!

    June 9, 2012 at 6:02 am |
  8. *aremu godwin

    Naira pastor.

    June 9, 2012 at 5:50 am |
  9. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things ,

    June 9, 2012 at 5:18 am |
    • Mirosal

      Tell that to a wounded vet, or better yet, to the remaing family members of Holocaust victims. I'm pretty sure those victims prayed like you couldn't imagine, yet it did them no good. How can YOU justify that? Were they not pious enough?

      June 9, 2012 at 5:21 am |
    • Adam

      Only if it is with a sincere heart...and only if the sinner has sincerely repented.

      June 9, 2012 at 5:22 am |
    • since you have intimate knowledge

      of holocaust victims please name one with the prayer they offered, mirosal. it appears you are using the innocent to advance your own hate filled opinions and have no compassion on those hurt by atheism at all.

      June 9, 2012 at 5:31 am |
    • Mirosal

      See... even you admit they were innocent, yet your "loving god" determined that they deserved to die. Not a very loving act, is it?

      June 9, 2012 at 5:39 am |
    • Mirosal

      How were they hurt by Atheism?

      June 9, 2012 at 5:40 am |
    • Galen Olson

      The only people hurt by atheism are the fools still misled by the fairy tales of religion, and they are only hurt because they realize that they have believed in a lie for so long.

      June 9, 2012 at 5:44 am |
    • Hitler was an atheist

      It was Hitlers policy that created the murders we know as the holocaust and we are still waiting for that name.

      June 9, 2012 at 5:54 am |
  10. t.sarcastic

    "Dollar preaches the Prosperity Gospel" THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL!!!!!!!!!! You mean he cons people our of their money right?????

    June 9, 2012 at 5:17 am |
    • Mirosal

      But isn't that the primary job of someone with a degree in mythology.. I mean "divinity"? To live off of others because they refuse to get a REAL job?

      June 9, 2012 at 5:22 am |
    • the greater good

      is done more by servants of God than by some useless slug siting at its computer thinking itself important.

      June 9, 2012 at 5:33 am |
    • Mirosal

      I'm not the smart-ass who feels the need to change his screen name for every comment. It's rather childish. Does your mommy know you're up this early? Or is she still in bed with your new "uncle" she brought home last night from the bar? Go watch cartoons.

      June 9, 2012 at 5:45 am |
    • me thinks thou dost protest too much

      caught you being an ass hole again eh mirosal ?

      June 9, 2012 at 5:55 am |
    • Bladepolisher

      This must be the "Almighty Dollar" that I've heard of so many times. Look what happened to San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi... hasn't touched a member of his family since New Years. Why should Dollar get off so easily? His own two daughters are the ones who filed the complaint. I have a feeling this man has a nasty temper.

      June 9, 2012 at 6:06 am |
  11. Franklin

    Dollar? THis man preaches the word of money. Here is a perfect example of our tax dollars being wasted. Why should my tax dollars go to support any church?

    Which brings up my belief that absolutely no tax money should go to any church- their schools, their 'social' welfare programs- nothing. Period. Any program with religon as its core principles. Another great example is the West B. church- they preach nothing but hate and intolrence. Why is my money going to their "out reach" programs? What about the pastor calling for the MURDER of gays? Why is my tax dollars going to his "outreach" programs? Why ius he not in prsion for inciting trerrorism? IF an atheisist said something like the Religeous zealots would be screaming and frothing at the mouth. But they can decide who should live and die? How they should live....

    Stop funding these terrorists.

    June 9, 2012 at 5:04 am |
    • Galen Olson

      Religion-It's about the money money money, they want your money money money!! Cha-ching cha-ching ching! none of them should have tax exempt status!

      June 9, 2012 at 5:47 am |
  12. mdc

    The facts in this case will be handled privately to further protect my children.

    "From me" signed Creflo dollar.

    June 9, 2012 at 5:03 am |
    • Adam

      "My children will be well compensated to recant their accounts of the incident." "We'll all be in church this Sunday".

      Signed by me: "Crefrlo dollar"

      June 9, 2012 at 5:07 am |
  13. Adam

    Money can't buy you love. But it can try to cover up abuse.

    June 9, 2012 at 4:58 am |
  14. Adam

    "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."

    Is Dollar trying out for MMA?

    June 9, 2012 at 4:56 am |
  15. fangio28

    dollar makes no "cents".....

    June 9, 2012 at 4:52 am |
  16. Kindly Believer

    Not a very Christian act.

    June 9, 2012 at 4:45 am |
  17. Notso Sheep

    Be selfish and yet got to heaven? How can you beat that? In a free country, you are free to punk people as long as you do it legally. Pretty much like a religious version of *mw*y. Here is the Gospel according to Eurythmics: "Some of them want to use you. Some of them want to get used by you. Some of them want to abuse you. Some of them want to be abused." Thou shall not judge Eurythmics, they were prosper. For a worshiper of a god of convenience, anything inconvenient is veeeery evil. If you are happy, I am happy. Cow please.

    June 9, 2012 at 4:18 am |
  18. Tom the realist

    Wake up people, there is no God. Only people wanting to manipulate you for their own needs for power and money. Make your own decisions based on cause and effect in this world. Do good, trust yourself, be kind. Ignore those that tell you they know "the path" . They do not know your own path. Whatever you do , don't give a penny to the churches. If you want to do deeds of charity, do so, give directly, skip the churches.

    June 9, 2012 at 4:11 am |
    • phyllis jones

      old there is a God and there is a devil the reason you do not believe in God is because the devil got you bewitch.and you think its ok to Sin but you need to know the wages for sin is death if you get some of them demon out of you then you will be able to see what the devil is doing to you. but before u do anything u better ask Jesus for help

      June 9, 2012 at 4:43 am |
    • Mirosal

      Phyllis, get your head out of that moldy 2000 year old book filled with 3000 year old hearsay stories. Look at the world around you. You do NOT need any kind of deity or religion in order to do good works. If you want to help, then help. But praying for someone is a useless gesture. It's nothing more than a placebo effect. Help build a house for a homeless family. Contribute towards a cure for something. Do some WORK with your hands. Two hands working for something constructive does a LOT more than 1000 hands clasped in prayer. No deity required OR needed.

      June 9, 2012 at 5:02 am |
    • Galen Olson

      Phyllis, read a third grade science book! I can debate and WIN ANY arguement against religion because I have studied the sciences. People looking for miracles can find them in the power of the mind to affect one's body functioning. It's been done and involves NO deity! The complexity of the human eye can be explained by the billions of years of evolution across many species boundries! God is a spiritual security blanket for those who don't know what awaits them after death!

      June 9, 2012 at 5:54 am |
    • sam stone

      i don't know if there is a god or not. i do know that much religion revolves around fear.

      June 9, 2012 at 6:51 am |
    • sam stone

      phyllis..we all die. get off your knees.

      June 9, 2012 at 6:52 am |
    • Yeah right

      IF the bible is the literal word of god and all true then why are so many of the stories in the bible just retreads of stories from older religions. For example, Noah's flood. Utnapishtim built an ark of almost identical dimensions, filled it with two of each animal and weathered a worldwide flood in the epic of Gilgamesh, which predates the old testament by over 15 centuries.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:34 am |
  19. abykiss

    This child at 15 is transitioning from a girl into a young woman. Her body chemistry deceives her to feel growner than she really is and that makes her over confident in her ability to make right decisions. Children don't own a house with the keys to it, they don't pay a mortgage or taxes, neither do they buy their own clothes or food in a situation like this. This girl decided to try her father and she must be slow because her older siblings never were in the news for anything much less something like this. Until she gets out on her own, she should thank her father for protecting her because of his love for her. He would rather go to jail than go to her funeral because he didn't stand up for what a parent does; he is not a friend but a real parent. He doesn't have to negotiate with his own child. She should respect her parents and realize they love her because she is their child, not because she can manipulate them with temper tantrums.

    June 9, 2012 at 3:59 am |
    • dozedoff

      abykiss, your next door neighbor should beat you with a shoe !! see how you like it

      June 9, 2012 at 6:38 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      He's not a real parent. Real parents don't beat their kids! Real parents know that using violence of any form only teaches violence as being okay. He deserves to be locked away and never allowed near another child again.

      June 9, 2012 at 6:38 am |
    • which part of Canada is Georgia in?

      Whether or not anyone was beaten remains to be seen. In America accusation and arrest does not equal guilt, that policy must be different in Canada.

      June 9, 2012 at 6:43 am |
    • sam stone

      "growner"? thanks for telling us what we need to know about you

      June 9, 2012 at 6:54 am |
  20. Kwesi

    That kid needs to be beaten down again !!! I will pray for you

    June 9, 2012 at 3:46 am |
    • Adam

      Yes. And you need to be shot. Jerk.

      June 9, 2012 at 4:50 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.