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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. edsr of Dallas

    Praise the Lord! God loves you Mr Minister! You will burn later though!

    June 9, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • what about justice

      Guilt proven beyond a reasonable doubt ?
      1. he is black = guilty
      2. he is a Christian pastor = guilty
      no need for trial edsr bring your rope.

      June 9, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • a pimp named slickback

      what about justice, my god b itch he beat her with his shoe! have you seen the tina turner story? have you seen ike beat that girl with his shoe?

      June 9, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • what about justice

      The law deals in facts not opinions.

      June 9, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Chica

      Who are you to condemn? Once saved...always saved …so no one’s burning regardless of whose ass you beat!!!

      June 9, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  2. Yoda

    “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

    beat your daughter with your shoe! and complete your journey to the dark side Creflo

    June 9, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • what about justice

      perhaps the journey should pass through a court of law first?

      June 9, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Yoda

      Court this will not see, paid off are all the police and judges.. sit in his congregation on sunday they do

      June 9, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • JWT

      Sory what we prefer the nancy grace style of justice.

      June 9, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • what about justice

      No conviction = no guilt. Will you be proceeding with your lynch mob?

      June 9, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Yoda

      a good case for nancy grace this is, alas the truth she will not find. buried under dolllars this story will be, not allowed to speak on will nancy be

      June 9, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      What a stupid statement, justice. Guilty people get off without convictions all the time. If someone r a p e s you, and they aren't convicted, are they guiltless?

      June 9, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • what about justice

      By law when you are released you are not guilty. That is how our system works, convict then punish or acquit and release. Or we use your preferred option a rope and a nearby tree.

      June 9, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Snik

      @Moby

      Yes, they are not guilty. They may not be innocent, but in the eyes of the law, they are not guilty.

      June 9, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  3. Shawnae

    People Christian and non Christian can be so self-righteous sometimes. You don't know what really went on in that Pastor's home. You weren't there, but you have all the answers in the world about what the problem is and what should be the answer. Fix your lives because I'm sure if we put the spotlight on you and what is going in your lives and how your children are you may think twice about passing judgment in this situation. Hence the old saying people who live in glass houses shouldn't through stones. READ THE BIBLE!!!! You are supposed to pray for people not judge; that's God's job!

    June 9, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Oh please. The bible also tells me how to purchase and sell slaves and give me permission to beat them nearly to death. It explains the proper way to sell my daughter into slavery, and it commands that I murder people who work on the Sabbath. Get a grip.

      June 9, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things

    June 9, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • a pimp named slickback

      I'm sure she was praying for the police to get there and get that maniac off her

      June 9, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • schwarzey

      Hoping helps, too.

      June 9, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • a pimp named slickback

      o lordy i hope the police get here soon before he wears thru the sole of that shoe

      June 9, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @ A pimp named slickback

      that might be the best name ever! "Lord, guide the back of this pimp-hand as it raineth down upon this ho!" or however it went.

      June 9, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
  5. John

    A violent guy like that is dangerous. So is a violent woman for that matter. Watch out people, they do kill.

    June 9, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I don't think that this guy is dangerous. He needed to be checked, and he got it. Hard. I think he'll learn and be better.
      (I'm an atheist, btw).

      June 9, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • what about justice

      How did you make the leap from accusation to violent offender. Is accusation enough to convict?

      June 9, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • John

      Have you ever had someone ready to plunge a knife into your chest? If you haven't, it happens fast, really fast. If he was drinking at the time, violent, anything can happen, really fast... dangerous is not something to write off and ignore, it's something to notice and watch out for.

      June 9, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • what about justice

      Isn't that why we have laws? would you like to be convicted on accusation alone?

      June 9, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Chica

      He's not dangerous...I've seen dangerous...with dangerous she would have never got that phone call off.

      June 9, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • John

      All I'm saying is for anyone one around him, to watch out. Violent people do violent stuff, sometimes so fast you're not ready for it, and you end up dead. If there was alcohol involved, get the guy into rehab before he kills someone. It does that to some people, words that would normally just be a debate, become enough to the person drinking, to kill someone over.

      June 9, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  6. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    You know the old saying: Spare the punching and the manual strangulation and spoil the child.

    June 9, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • what about justice

      How about innocent until proven guilty?

      June 9, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • a pimp named slickback

      how many times have we told you people to read the police report online.. there was a witness, not one but two ! da mn this till proven sh it its in the police report, multiple witness's told what happened. its proven, ok? can't you hear b tich?

      June 9, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • what about justice

      @pimp
      may you be given the same "justice" then. cop wouldn't arrest you unless you were guilty... right?

      June 9, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
  7. Religulous

    I will never understand how people like this can claim to be compassionate. It's all about money and "things". And the people who give to and follow them are sick, too.

    June 9, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      It's easy to be judgmental. I've found that in situations like this one, many times the person honestly has no idea that they are thinking that way. Why blame the person for his mental conditioning? These people need help to see things as they really are, not accusations that will only reinforce their skewed views.

      June 9, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things *

    June 9, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  9. sw72

    Even if he didn't do this, the fact that his daughter would call 911 and say he did, speaks volumes about his parenting skills. Either way, this guy is not a good Christian, and yet so many are willing to follow him. Here's my advice; trust your own heart, and your own beliefs. Free your mind to think, and you just might find a freedom you never knew existed. Run as far away as you can from these megachurches. You don't need these power-hungry abusers telling you how to live. To thine own self be true.

    June 9, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Creflo Junior

      Teenage child gets mouthy and Dad has to physically manhandle her....and by your standards he is a bad parent???? Come on. I'm not a fan of Dollar's message or preaching style, but he did what probably needed to be done to his child. Question to you SW 72? Why is it ok for a police officer to do this to a young black child and the black parent is a bad parent if they do this?

      June 9, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • sw72

      Yes, he is a bad parent. In all honesty, when you raise your children with respect, compassion, and dignity, they wouldn't call 911 on you because they want to go to a party, and this is regardless of race. I have no idea where that comes from. When you raise your children with hell, fire and damnation, don't be surprised when they rebel, because you haven't raised them with respect; for themselves or others. You have raised them with fear. And we all know, that fear breeds anger, anger breeds violence. Raise peaceful, respectful children; just like Christ would have. It's not that hard.

      June 9, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • Sam Houston

      Would it not be better to investigate and trust God's Word, the Bible and not our own heart. Jeremiah 17:9. True Christians have always done that. Acts 17:10,11.

      June 9, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • a pimp named slickback

      Sam Houston, if the bible told you to put a bottle up your a rse and tickle your nose would you do it?

      June 9, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • sw72

      Sam Houston,
      With all due respect, I have never trusted God's word, because of all the evil that has been carried out in his name. I do trust myself, because I have been taught what compassion is, and that we should treat all humans with dignity and respect, simply because they are human beings. They don't need to tell me what they believe, or who they believe in; they simply deserve respect because they are human. There is nothing in God's teachings that have ever touched me the way this simple humanist perspective ever has, or ever will.

      June 9, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  10. matkins4268

    A SHEEP WILL KNOW ITS SHEPHERD...................... let them with ears hear

    June 9, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • ThePastorwantsyourdollars

      Sure Yoda. Now Up The Shut F.

      June 9, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  11. steve

    who in the hell would listen to a guy with a first name like that?
    geesh
    you know "buy american"
    how about "name american" with all these filthy made up names that no one can pronounce. I know my company would see one of these on an application and it would go straight in the trash.

    June 9, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • ArtInChicago

      How trite, the name of the messenger is more important than the message? BTW, to answer your question, Millions who could give a rip about his "American" name listen to him. Guess you have a problem with Barack too huh?

      June 9, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • a pimp named slickback

      Art, sounds like the message is beat your teenage daughter, regardless of your first name

      June 9, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • schwarzey

      Yeah... How about Bill?... Or Buck?

      June 9, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Dr. B

      Well, all those "American" names are actually European or Mediterranean or... gasp ... Middle Eastern. Yes, Abraham, David, Isaac, Adam, and Matthew all come from Hebrew names! Christopher is Greek. Henry is French. I could go on, but you get the picture. Methinks your racism is showing, sir.

      June 9, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • schwarzey

      Dr. B: That is shocking. Lighten up, slick. Buck Dollar is a racist joke? In regards to greed, telling maybe. But not racist. Your sense of humor is lacking.

      June 9, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  12. steve

    sounds like a perverted sicko to me
    and some people follow this piece of garbage in church?
    man you people have taste for sewer waste!

    June 9, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  13. Carlos Silva !

    Is another crook and impostor. Is anything new with guys involved with religion ?

    June 9, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  14. Bunnie

    Every single news report I've read on this issue adds different details about what supposedly happened. Frankly I think a spoiled, mouthy 15 year old didn't get what she wanted and pitched a hissy fit, then told her father she hates him and attacked him, then called the cops on him. I know my own sister did this to my father.

    June 9, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • a pimp named slickback

      finally, a family where the kids raised their parents right. I salute your sister, and bet your father was better for it

      June 9, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  15. Mike

    It take a real coward to hurt a child.

    June 9, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  16. Keith

    Mega Churches have nothing to do with Christ. All they have to do with anything is wealth and power.

    There are no Christians in those churches

    June 9, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • sw72

      So true! Hypocrisy, at it's worst.

      June 9, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  17. zdenek

    again ou great media crap. no evidence no vittnesses nothing just stupid story.even an atheist like me have nothing to say to coment this.....better start writing about something else ....

    June 9, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • a pimp named slickback

      have you not read the police report b itch? its in black and white, there was a witness that described the entire event exactly as the daughter told it. are most of you stupid?

      June 9, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • wavejump1100

      i don't think the girls sister is a reliable witness. they could be working together to get back at their dad or even get something they want. children should obey their parents.

      June 9, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • a pimp named slickback

      wave, parents should obey their children

      June 9, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  18. Mom of Three

    That's the love of Christ for you!

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

    And his "congregation" will all be there tomorrow to hear his sermon. (eye roll). I wouldn't step one foot in his church ever again. That's domestic violence, and it's not to be tolerated!!!! But I'm sure the born again megachurch christians see it differently. How sad. Brainwashed much?

    June 9, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  20. Joe Joe

    I'm not saying he's guilty...but choking and beating people with shoes is not acceptable behavior.

    June 9, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • what about justice

      that is why we have laws, perhaps you have misunderstood our laws?

      June 9, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
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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.