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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. Rokny Pio

    People in general dont wait to confirm the facts, they make judgement simply at the statement of a media published thing. They're just waiting for a chance to spoil a preacher's name, even if the report is not true or exagarated. Every family has its internat tensions once in a while. Show me a perfect family and I'll prove you a liar.

    June 9, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • dozedoff

      show me a religious nut that attends church weekly and ill show you someone that beats their kids cause a book written 2,000 years ago tells them to do it

      June 9, 2012 at 7:57 am |
    • Sane Person

      Typical, money grubbing, hypocritical, abusive "christian". At least his name suits his profession of fleecing the sheep.

      June 9, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • Yeah right

      Where were you when everyone was doingthe same thing to George Zimmerman? What's that, standing in the third row yelling with the rest of them? That's what I thought.

      June 9, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • nope

      @yeah right
      nope

      June 9, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • Yeah right

      So you were out defending Zimmerman's right to due process? I missed your counterprotest while the New Balck Panthers were on the street calling for his head.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:16 am |
  2. independent texan

    Prosperity gospel - and this guy gets to call himself a pastor? 18 million dollar monument to himself and a huge money making enterprise. Sounds more like a huckster to me, within the perfect tax shelter. These mega-church leaders come from a lot of places, but "from God" isn't one of them. Shameful.

    June 9, 2012 at 7:46 am |
  3. Colin

    Thousands upon htousands of people have contributed to make this man rich. You simply cannot help the super-stupid.

    June 9, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • dozedoff

      amen Colin

      June 9, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • find an atheist

      find the super stupid

      June 9, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  4. J. D. Hunter

    Christian parents know that children are property, just as Christian husbands know their wives are also. It's nobody's business if a Christian father beats the sinful rebellion out of his daughter. This girl's soul is in mortal peril for disrespecting her father and provoking him to wrath.

    June 9, 2012 at 7:34 am |
    • dozedoff

      and your soul should be beaten...

      June 9, 2012 at 7:37 am |
    • John

      Wow. What century is this?

      June 9, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • WJM Knight

      You sir know nothing about God , the bible, or eEsus' love. I fear for the slvation of your immoral soul.

      June 9, 2012 at 7:43 am |
    • Alisha

      I am a Christian wife and mother. If my husband so much as raises a finger to me, we have problems. Children are too precious to be harmed or mistreated. You're thinking of those who call themselves Christians. A true Christian would never do those things to their wives and/or children. Don't forget there are actors everywhere. That's why the Bible specifically says, "Beware of false prophets". If people would really read their Bibles and not depend on someone else to read it for them and disseminate it, they would learn so much!

      June 9, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      JD: Please stand before any judge and tell that to them. You'll quickly find out that christian parents have no more right to lay a hand on their child in anger than any other person has to do so to another human. Thankfully his religious beliefs won't matter a bit when it comes to his punishment.

      June 9, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • Susan

      I had to laugh when I read your comment because it is satirical and mocking Christianity. This is absolutely not what Christianity is about. I'm glad he got busted and anyone who claims to be Christian but is violent and disrespectful of other people is not practicing the love that Jesus taught.

      June 9, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • Another one bites the dust

      No dubt J.D. Hunter is being sarcastic. No one is property. Few ministers today are truly called by God. They are called by Greed, Money and Fame. Too sad, because if the world ever needed god-fearing men, it is today.

      June 9, 2012 at 8:03 am |
    • Smartguy

      WJM– If you read the bible its really hard to understand what "God" or "Jesus" wants if your living in America today. It does say women and children are property and that they can be abused by their owner. Its mentioned over 50 times in the Bible. But most "christians" don't follow that example of "Gods will" they call the police and have the father arrested. The bible also outlines how slavery should be handled including their family members. But most "christians" don't follow that example of "Gods will" either. Slavery is mentioned over 40 times in the Bible. Not to mention blended fabrics, observing Sabbith on the "last day of the week" (Saturday), and not keeping false idols (crosses). NOW who seems to be closer to God, you (not doing these things or the guy doing what God gave us an example of in His Bible? I would say the other guy.
      I personally don't follow the bible because of these stupid ideas that most people ignore because its just easier to get along with the crowd than think about what you are doing and REALLY do the right thing.

      June 9, 2012 at 8:09 am |
  5. myway

    The man is only observing his own biblical teachings. After all, in the old testament children are horribly mistreated, including murder, mutilation and lifelong banishing by kicking them out in a desert where wild animals roam. What's a little beating now and then? A little bronze age treatment will straighten out our unruly teenagers in a hurry, don't you think?

    June 9, 2012 at 7:34 am |
    • dozedoff

      you, should be beaten too

      June 9, 2012 at 7:37 am |
  6. Rich

    typical money grubbing pas-ture...anyone who gives him $ should loose it.

    June 9, 2012 at 7:33 am |
  7. dozedoff

    The sad part of the article is the rest of the family is so scared of this man they wouldnt even help the girl. Her sisters stood there and watched, her momma probably just stood there and watched .. only help she had was when the police arrived.

    the police report should also read 'and at that point mrs dolar kocked creflo out with a iron skillet to the back of the head'

    June 9, 2012 at 7:29 am |
  8. Really!

    Why is it that the devil can so easly disguise as a preacher man?

    June 9, 2012 at 7:19 am |
    • trollol

      Because there is no devil. Gullible people like you are the reason why people like him exist.

      June 9, 2012 at 7:50 am |
  9. SandyStorm

    Thrown to the ground, choked, punched and beat with a shoe and she only had a scratch on her neck??? Hmmmmmm. Someone's teenage daughters not only disobeyed father, they are also not telling the truth.

    June 9, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • dozedoff

      Considering the bible tells you to STONE people to death... I would say her account is probably correct

      June 9, 2012 at 7:23 am |
    • WJM Knight

      Beat your own daughters often I bet.

      June 9, 2012 at 7:44 am |
  10. Livelystone

    Must be pretty frustrating when you have a teenage daughter rebellious to your way of thinking. I do not know how a parent is to go about dealing with that rebellion and especially so when you think it's going to be ultimately very harmful to your child. However, the obvious is, choking and punching them is not the answer.

    The church people will stand behind him albeit not excusing what he did but understanding how frustration overtook emotions, consequently the father “lost it”.

    But in the end this man is about to fall from his highand lofty position. Not because he lost it with his daughter, but because he is prideful, arrogant and often wrong with what he teaches his followers. This is just the incident that is going to humble him one way or the other .

    June 9, 2012 at 7:12 am |
    • dozedoff

      i bet the beaten daughter is the only normal one in the family

      June 9, 2012 at 7:16 am |
  11. dozedoff

    and you too can own my new dvd set, how not to beat your child for a love offering of only $149.99 you get the 4 dvd set, including a personally signed copy of my best selling book holdest thou hand where i help you be a better parent while i raise hell at home

    lol

    June 9, 2012 at 7:10 am |
  12. James

    It seems pastor's from the black community have issues with the police, sounds like their flock has the same issues too....and whats the deal with preaching that jesus wants you to be rich and that you will be rewarded if you are a good christian. Doesnt the bible say that it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it would be for a rich man to get into heaven. Its all so humorous, just like in the Waynes's brothers moviet, "dont be a menace to south central.....".

    "you dont have to ask why the preacher has a nice car, or live in a nice house."

    June 9, 2012 at 7:08 am |
    • Patrick

      There are p[lenty of White pastors like the one in Florida, and the one in Georgioa, and the one that died from snack bites. There are plenty of pastors of every color, you are just biased towards black people.

      June 9, 2012 at 7:19 am |
    • Yeah right

      Someone died of snack bites? Did they choke on one of those mini Oreos?

      June 9, 2012 at 9:03 am |
  13. DJ225

    It was all a big mistake. He slipped and fell and accidentally beat the hell out of his daughter.

    June 9, 2012 at 7:07 am |
    • Yeah right

      Well played!

      June 9, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  14. dozedoff

    tune in for our next show as Creflo says ... if i had a dollar for evertime i beat my daughter i'd be a millionare

    June 9, 2012 at 7:05 am |
  15. dozedoff

    Lets not forget this is in the great state of Georgia too, where drinkin n huntin rednecks regularly beat their children weekly

    June 9, 2012 at 6:51 am |
    • Yeah right

      I'd bet you money that there are more child beatings taking place in Michigan or New york than there are among "georgia rednecks".

      June 9, 2012 at 9:05 am |
  16. dozedoff

    1,970 responces to this thread, and next week half of you will be sending this abuser money lol

    June 9, 2012 at 6:42 am |
  17. sam stone

    perhaps next time he assaults his daughter, she wil pick up a weapon and arrange his meeting with jeebus

    June 9, 2012 at 6:37 am |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things ,

    June 9, 2012 at 6:36 am |
    • Yeah right

      It gives you bad knees and less time to actually solve your problems.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:06 am |
  19. Charmin'

    Judging by the hateful and i-know-all comments about this story, I wonder what the future holds.
    People are too arrogant and often jump into conclusion. Take a good look in the mirror before preaching about what is right/wrong.

    June 9, 2012 at 6:32 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      All that is wrong here is that he beat his kid and is a money hungry freak preying off the people who are too blinded by his words not to see him for the sc.um he is.

      June 9, 2012 at 6:41 am |
    • Charmin'

      truthprev: see what i mean? You are a perfect specimen for my comment. Again, look in the mirror

      June 9, 2012 at 6:42 am |
    • which part of Canada is Georgia in?

      Canadians ain't got mirrors.

      June 9, 2012 at 6:44 am |
    • sam stone

      If only Creflo did the same thing, Charmin'

      June 9, 2012 at 6:44 am |
    • which part of Canada is Georgia in?

      Accusation is not guilt in America. The verdict from the trial must have reached the third world countries ahead of the event! Amazing, or is liar prevails a Canadian prophet?

      June 9, 2012 at 6:47 am |
    • dozedoff

      So I suppose your an Ike Turner supporter as well as a Dollar supporter. Its just ashame the girl didnt take that shoe and shove it up his dirty a rse

      June 9, 2012 at 6:47 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Don't need to look in a mirror idiot when all I have to do is look at my own child to know that physical discipline is not needed to raise a good child. Never laid a hand on my teenager and yet she's a great kid (doesn't do drugs/drink/smoke...is off to college this fall and most importantly was not raised believing in a fictional god). We used reason and logic to discipline. Using violence only teaches that violence is okay.

      June 9, 2012 at 6:48 am |
    • which part of Canada is Georgia in?

      We can't see your daughter and only have your BS word to even suggest you have one. Try minding your own business you self righteous bigot.

      June 9, 2012 at 6:50 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Bigot? I don't agree with using violence to control a person makes me a bigot...you have a very screwed up idea as to what the word means!

      June 9, 2012 at 6:57 am |
    • WJM Knight

      Maybe you should take a look at the beating this "man" did to his daughter before you talk.

      June 9, 2012 at 7:45 am |
    • Yeah right

      You're a hypocrite. While you hew and cry for us to withhold judgement on old Creflo, you immediately condemn TruthPrevails with no hearing and no conviction.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:09 am |
  20. AugustusAlfa

    People, from time to time, need to experience pain in order to do what is right. That is why we allow police to carry tasers/guns. This also applies to hormonal and rebellious daughters. Anyone disputing aforementioned facts is out of touch with reality...

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

      are you serious? police carry tasers to assist to subdue a person. it has nothing to do with teaching them right or wrong

      June 9, 2012 at 6:40 am |
    • sam stone

      police carry tasers to subdue people, not to teach them right or wrong – the way that was supposed to read

      June 9, 2012 at 6:42 am |
    • dozedoff

      Augustus, come on over here let me beat you with a stick, might can find a tazer to hit you with too sounds like you need your daily dose of suffering cause you've forgetten what its like to be abused or maybe you get off on being abused and like pain

      June 9, 2012 at 6:44 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Never laid a hand on my teenager and yet she's a great kid (doesn't do drugs/drink/smoke...is off to college this fall and most importantly was not raised believing in a fictional god). We used reason and logic to discipline. Using violence only teaches that violence is okay. The laws are very clear-you can't use physical force to discipline a child without suffering the consequences...those laws come from society, not the buybull and thankfully so, otherwise we'd have a lot more abuse going on and sickos sc.um-bags like this idiot getting away with taking his anger out on kids. He deserves to be set loose in general population and see how he likes the beating he gets...I understand that most inmates don't like child abusers.

      June 9, 2012 at 6:46 am |
    • which part of Canada is Georgia in?

      Thanks for rendering a verdict before due process, now go hang one of your own. Start with yourself and do the world a favor you self righteous bigot.

      June 9, 2012 at 6:48 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Which: You're a moron!!! The kid had marks on her and there is a witness to the beating...he is guilty! I know you skimmed over that because it is too frightening to comprehend but the facts are the facts and yes the courts will decide this mans fate and in most cases like this, they perp is found guilty.
      I do not care what your opinion of Canada is, it does not matter because you are completely clueless. Now Captain america, should you not go back to mommy and get your daily meds? Does mommy even know you're on her computer?

      June 9, 2012 at 6:54 am |
    • AGeek

      If you need pain to recalibrate your moral compass, you have some serious issues. The amount of failed logic in OP's premise is mind-numbing.

      June 9, 2012 at 6:58 am |
    • Yeah right

      August, I have to assume your post is parody because nobody could actually be stupid enough to mean that. If it is parody, well played. If not...please don't breed!

      June 9, 2012 at 9:11 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.