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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. roman1descent

    Such a deal, he wanted his daughter's m o n e y. Everyone knows that he is never satisfied, GREEDY phony, I came out of a pentacostal greedy church he speaks the same pattern acts the same way, the ministers beat the crap out of their children for the smallest things. They are idiots.

    June 9, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Mrs. Katz

      They are more than idiots........... they're perverts.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  2. gd

    lets talk about other news please.

    June 9, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • Mrs. Katz

      No!

      June 9, 2012 at 9:33 am |
  3. Mrs. Katz

    These people that physically abuse children will also molest them.

    June 9, 2012 at 9:25 am |
  4. Arlene

    Did he actually beat the crap out of her or that is your version? Come on. Does not sound to me like she has been abused just shocked in to reality. We can add all we want to like he gave her two black eyes, he broke her leg, no sounds like discipline and she was being a brat. That.s my version. As we speak, the only bruise she probably has is "He is my Dad and I had better respect him or I am going to get it". Go Mr Dollar. Raise your child. No, I am not supportive of child abuse;however, I don't believe this was.

    June 9, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • Mrs. Katz

      You are a very sick person, Arlene.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • MOCaseA

      So CHOKING her (choking is the first part of STRANGULATION) is punishment?!? What is wrong with you? Punching her is Punishment?!? Punching if making a fist and striking a person forcefully. You'd be amazed at the amount of internal damage a single ba-lled fist can do. I've worked as an EMT and personally seen and treated that type of damage. No, this was abuse, not punishment.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • steve

      Beating your child is not requirment. Good parenting skills and love will work just fine. Tempers are what causes people to beat there kids.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • MOCaseA

      Also, she felt the need to call 911! Something tells me this guy was a fan of strict rules with immediate and effective punishment. She probably grew up with it. If she felt the need to call 911, she knew it had gone beyond punishment and into abuse. Just because they are a teen, doesn't mean they are stupid and can't discern the difference between abuse and punishment.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • josh

      Just admitt it. Mr preacher man was a nut case. Dont make him look good . Worst christian example ive ever seen. Hypocrites.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • Nan

      "he then slammed her to the ground, punched her and beat her with his shoe"That sounds like more than disciplining a child. I believe that is abuse. Her adult age sister also verified this.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  5. davidr

    "The facts in this case will be handled privately to further protect my children." Er, excuse me, but it is to further protect you! The only protection your children need is from you, their father!

    June 9, 2012 at 9:20 am |
  6. steve

    My parents where southern baptist so I know how this kid feels. My father would beat the crap out of my brother and I for the smallest infraction and used the bible as justification. You know...spare the rod, spoil the child thing. That was 35 years ago. Today my Father would have been put in jail for what he did. I had marks for days.

    June 9, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • Mrs. Katz

      The Bible is used as a bludgeon by very sick people.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • MOCaseA

      Katz, I dunno. Have you ever held a good ol' fashion family bible? They weigh about 40 lbs and make very effective bludgeons...

      June 9, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  7. Beth

    Some people are so blind and deceived that they will try to justify a man even when he is wrong. Pray for discernment, people!

    June 9, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • Mrs. Katz

      I pray they cancel American Idol........

      June 9, 2012 at 9:20 am |
  8. Daniel S

    If parents don't discipline their kids...the authorities will.

    June 9, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • JWT

      Discipline has nothing to do with what he is accused of.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • mema

      Jwt..exactly 'accused' of. She had a scratch after her so called beating. If I was her parent and I had not beat her yet, I would now. Kids are out of control these days.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • steve

      Physical punishment is not nessasary for good parenting.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • JWT

      Parents with along history of abuse can do it without immediate obvious marks.

      When you get right down to it abuse is abuse. It does not take makes to make it abuse.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • alice lopez

      Lord have mercy! you are so right!!!! Govmt took prayer and discipline out of school, and now look whats happen to our young generation. And the news media always make it worst than what actually happen.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • JWT

      What actually ahppened when prayer was finally dropped froms school is nothing. Same with removign the abilty for teachers to hit children.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  9. ParentsofAmerica

    Parent's, the government won't let you discipline your children anymore?...Put 'em up for adoption!

    June 9, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • MOCaseA

      The mistake you make is this wasn't punishment, it was abuse. Since when is choking and punching "punishment."

      So if we got into an argument, and I felt that you needed on the spot punishment I can choke you, punch you in the head and start beating on you with a shoe. And it would be okay because I was punishing, and not abusing/beating you? NO! You'd file attempted murder and battery charges on the spot! So what makes your own CHILD any different? Oh... I forgot... Children aren't people. They're property, right?

      June 9, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • JWT

      Unfortunately legally to a very large extent children are property. We really need to take land of the free out of the song.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  10. Proverbs22:15

    Well you can't chastise your children but when they get unruly the police can beat the hell out of them!!!

    June 9, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • CLERGY

      HELLO LET THE CHURCH SAY AMEN!

      June 12, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  11. ptsdLOADING

    This current generation is full of whiney techno babblers who are spoiled and think that they know-it-all. Y'all deserved to be slapped UP-Side YO HED!

    spelling on purpose, OK? sweetheart..

    June 9, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  12. Lilbit

    Lol this dude is gonna feel so stupid when he has to stand in front of his congregation again...gonna be embarrasing...

    June 9, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Mrs. Katz

      I bet those fools approve.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Daniel S

      Stupid? No. Standing ovation? Yes!!!

      June 9, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • deano

      Methinks his next sermon will be about "spare the rod,spoil the child". Unfortunately, the congregation will be raining standing ovations on him. I have listened to Rev. Dollar a few times,and his greed will get the best of him and those who follow. Prosperity, like any other blessing, is earned on a personal level and not by giving an already rich man a portion of what little you may have.Same for respect from others, especially your children.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Mac

      He will not be embarrassed. He told his daughter she couldn't go to a party, she disrespected her, and he whipped her behind like a parent should. If I'm in his church, I am indeed giving him a standing ovation.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  13. amen

    She was probably going to Eddie Long's party. Then again his parties are for boys only!!

    June 9, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • Mrs. Katz

      She was on her way to the Dollar Store......

      June 9, 2012 at 9:13 am |
  14. Where is justice???

    for those children who are being really abused

    June 9, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  15. Arlene

    My parents loved me and I know their intentions were not to beat me to my death. Stop the drama.

    June 9, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • Mrs. Katz

      Get professional help.

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

      Does that make it rite wht he did @ arlene? Absolutely not

      June 9, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  16. Elmer Gantry

    love, Love, LOVE when Born Again Christians fall from their pedestal! Nothing brightens my day more and brings a huge smile to my face to see these zombies crash well below the gutter. Hypocrites – ALL OF THEM.

    June 9, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • Dolce21

      Keep your eye on the Lord not on man, they will always disappoint you! Especially you God haters.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • josh

      Agreeded.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      "Especially you God haters"

      Get it straight-we don't hate your god, your god has never been proven with any form of substantial evidence to exist and it's hard to hate something that doesn't exist.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  17. Mrs. Katz

    I'm so happy. My one Siamese just got a job as Floor Manager at Nieman's.

    June 9, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • deano

      Cat or kid?

      June 9, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Mrs. Katz

      My cats are all anthropofelines, and quite accomplished, you see.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  18. No Cents

    Mr. Dollar ain't got no sense.

    June 9, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • mike

      very clever

      June 9, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  19. GOP RIP

    So he's not only a child beater but he's a liar. Ain't religion great?

    June 9, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • Mrs. Katz

      He's been bribing the cops, so they're guilty as well.

      June 9, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  20. Arlene

    The time is here when you can get into trouble raising kids. Yes, he may have knocked her around a little bit but she is not in the hospital. Next a parent will be in jail for saying "NO". I wore many beatings and knew not to call the police. Where is the parental respect? By the way, I am a healthy 61 year old and have suffered no repercussions for any beatings except never been in jail, have been working since I got out of school and do respect authority. Too many fools running around thinking they can do whatever they want to and get away with it.

    June 9, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • diana

      Parental respect? You're joking, yes?

      June 9, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Mrs. Katz

      The next time he might beat her to death. Are you some kind of nut or what?

      June 9, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • ployes

      So you can beat the crap out of your kid as long as the kid doesn't end up in the hospital. How Christian of you.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • MOCaseA

      So beating you child is okay then? Corporal punishment is only acceptable in extreme cases, not as a normative punishment. And ONLY when applied judiciously and SAFELY. Choking, punching and beating a person with ANY object is not corporal punishment, it is abuse. So the daughter wanted to go to a party. He should be thankful his daughter ASKED first, instead of just sneaking out and going without permission/knowledge.

      No, this sounds like a man who lost his temper and went beyond acceptable levels of physical punishment.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • josh

      U kno im not afraid to tell u arlene that your freakin crazy

      June 9, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • JWT

      Apparently your parents beating you either caused brain damage or brainwashed you. So sad.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:45 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.