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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. p-body

    rabid baboons. that is how i see white pastors. go ahead and convince me otherwise. stop the violence and hate.

    June 9, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • p-body

      well christians in general are crazy, not just white people. Did not look at his face. sorry i assumed he was white

      June 9, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • TaWanga

      With a name like "Creflo", you thought for even a second that he was white?

      How many white folks you ever meet with names like "Creflo"??

      June 10, 2012 at 12:23 am |
  2. Crefalo Dollar is a fraud

    seriously, you're kidding right? this snake oil salesman sells dreams to morons....Jesus preached prosperity and debt free living? his parish and viewers are simpletons....the man should be back in prison where he started this con game... bunch of fools paying this dope off...BOOK HIM, DANO...lock his fake ass up...throw away the key...save 30,000 souls....

    June 9, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
  3. Southern Baptists supported slavery

    Christians are scary.

    June 9, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  4. iusedtobethin

    He lost his temper and maybe went a little too far, but I understand. Teens can push our buttons and need to be pushed down a peag or two. I feel he is sorry, this is not the type plublicity he is looking for.The kid may have gotten more than she deserved, so she may think twice about her sassy mouth next time.sn: and she should have no mre phone privileges. lol

    June 9, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • John

      A little too far? Do you think he should maybe attack one of the secretaries at his church if she's crying? Do you think he loves her by choking, tackling, and beating her when she left to get away from him, crying in another room? This is insanity, violent insanity, no love, no caring, and no understanding. He should #1, love her, care about what she's doing so she doesn't get harmed, and be understanding that she has things she wants in life too, even if he's concerned, he should try to understand and want the best for her. Beating her when she's crying tells her he doesn't give a dam what she wants, or care that she's hurt. Get help Pastor, open your eyes, she's a human being, not a corpse to throw in the ditch.

      June 9, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • aintnotelling

      HIGH FIVE @ isusedtobethin

      June 10, 2012 at 1:05 am |
  5. bevy

    How is this linked to the President? Some people are so obsessed with our leader. It is pure hatred. I wish I had the guts to hate Republicans. Lord knows they do and say plenty of hateful comments.

    June 9, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
  6. sula

    Another example of the "good Christian" gone amuck. What is amazing is the amount of dough this deviant has raked in and the people who allow him to live like described in the article.

    People are such fools to support such a hippocrite. If Jesus even existed he was a poor and modest man into helping others and not bleeding them for money, let alone beating the crap out of child. Minister Wiley is another example of someone who has gone mad. You Christians need to get a grip.

    June 9, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • Jc

      way to categorize an entire religion based on the actions of one individual. You are a dense sad person.

      June 9, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • sleepytime

      JC: Sula isn't basing the opinion on one person, hence the "yet another example" comment.

      June 10, 2012 at 12:13 am |
  7. polycarp pio

    Prosperity is not evil or wicked, greed is, the world can have its millions and billions but a christian has to have a broken down car and rags for cloths to prove he is Godly. God has streets of Gold and the foundations of his city are precious gems, thats my father and I dont believe he is poor, last time I checked poverty was a curse of the law. You can keep those curses, poverty,sickness and spiritual death. PP

    June 9, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  8. Donald in CA

    These mega church ministers start thinking they are god. To many free fried chicken and collard green dinners.

    June 9, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • bevy

      Donald you sound as if you need God. Fried chicken taste better than tuna.

      June 9, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  9. TXJacket

    I bet he hates gays too. Typical shine.

    June 9, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • bevy

      Sounds like you are speaking from the closet.

      June 9, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • sam stone

      He is probably a good friend of Eddie Long

      June 10, 2012 at 12:58 am |
  10. Get Real

    So the Pope rides around in a bullet proof car, a gold encrusted jacked and a diamond studded hat and lives in his own city state and has more real estate holdings than anyone one on earth in the name of the church, and he is a man of God. (Prosperity to the max)....But a brother from Atlanta accomplishes a minuscule amount of that, doing the same work for God and he is a money grabbing preacher????????? Just how does that work? Why isn't Momma around to correct her at 1 am?

    June 9, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • TXJacket

      I hate chorines

      June 9, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • John

      I don't care how much money he made or has. What is disturbing to me is that she left the room in tears, then he followed after her, choked, tackled and beat her. He's a grown man, a large man, and he's ignoring her tears while nearly killing her. This isn't right, it's violent lunacy having that large of man attacking his daughter, when she's crying. Where the he11 is the compasion and understanding? Where's the mercy? Where's the love?

      June 9, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • bevy

      Stories that CNN support keep their comment line close. They will not make available the comment line for Mitt, Boehner, McConnell, Cheyney, etc.). In fact they don't even attempt to keep right-wing hatred honest. It is amazing how degrading CNN is to right-wing type criticism. I hope I am not the only person who sees through this network. Perhaps that is the reason the ratings are falling like stars out of the sky.

      June 9, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
  11. Paul

    Call me old fashioned.
    1. Why was the whole family up at 1 a.m.?
    2. Was it an eroded society, a weak American Christianity, or his own dereliction of duty that took away his right to say, "YOUNG LADY, IT'S 1 IN THE MORNING. GO TO BED. NO PARTY."
    3. No, its not right to choke in the name of discipline. But anyone over 30, or 40 in my case, knows that this is merely the symptom of a life spinning out of control. But for the grace of God, more to come.

    June 9, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • aintnotelling

      i'm old fashioned right along there with you and TOTALLY AGREE with your comment!!!

      June 10, 2012 at 1:09 am |
  12. deliverance

    Parents have right to disipline their kids. The Pastor went little beyond, if he put his hands on anybody's throat. But those things are Spiritual, as divorce is Spiritual and other sins. I'm sure that the police officers and others at the time, have something on their own sin. I pray that the Pastor is delivered from it – in Jesus name I ask the Father. Amen! Pastor Crefflo Dollar is preaching the Gospel of Christ just the way it is written. Thank you for that Pastor! Looking forward to watch your next message.

    June 9, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • sam stone

      assault may be spiritual, but is is also criminal

      June 9, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • John

      I don't agree. They were arguing before, she felt hurt and wanted to end it, so she left the room crying. He came after her, choked, tackled and beat her. This is a grown man, a large man, attacking his daughter that was leaving in tears. There is no way to see this as right.

      June 9, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • James PDX Mostly Straight

      That is a lie, deliverance. If the pastor was preaching the gospel as written, he would have stoned his child to death.

      June 10, 2012 at 12:07 am |
  13. Jack

    Im sure the daughter deserved it

    June 9, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
  14. Min. D. Wiley

    IGreetings! Huffington Post Commentators! Dictators! Prognosticators, and Instigators! This is not a very good way nor time to express so much " Negativism". I'm sure the situation got out of hand when the Father, " Pastor Creflo Dollar" had to deal with such a situaiton, where their Family Business has been placed under the proverbial mirrors of " Critism " and much heartless scrutiny. I don't agree with anyone having to go to the expent of useing any such type of Violence, in any form, fashion, or otherwise. These Children, and Young Adults are in some very " Vunerable Situations" in this sin-sick world, in times such as these. I really am sorry that things got out of hand; and would like to know where the Mother was during all of this. It was sad reading what the 19 year old may have said. It was just as hard to read what Pator T. D. Jakes may have said, as well. I agree that, this situation escalated to such extent, where Pastor had to go to jail, for the act of putting his hands on his Daughter, and I'm sure if it hadn't gone to far, he probably would have wished he'd done the discipline in a different manner. I Pray for Pastor, I don't think he need a Psychiatrist just to tell him, that to place his hands on Child, be it his or anyone elses, but sometimes things does get out of control, before one have time to think about the end results. To Judge wrongly isn't fair. How many honest to goodnes Parents have done the same thing, when their Pre-Teens, attempted to disobey their Parents, and/or their Young Adult may be trusting the wrong kinds of Friends as well. I Pray that the Mother would ascert her Motherhood, with her Daughter's, because Pastor Creflo Dollars has enough on his Plate when he's Ministering to the Masses regarding their Lives being in the Ministry trying to Teach, and Preach to the Congregation he's over. People think about this when one of your Children or two, may be influenced by their Older Teen, or a Friend, and it was " YOu" this happened to. That's not a good thing at all, then the Masses come along, adding their 1cent worth of good advice. How would you feel, those who are making such nasty remarks, Judging, and Criticitizing this Man of God, he's never told anyone that he's a Perfect Man sent straight from Heaven; although he's demonstrated himself to be a concerned Man of God, who's Preaching to the Masses. He's sorry, he's distraught, have a Heart, this Man is not joking about this Issue, he's thinking about God's Purpose upon His Life, because he has to face this Cruel World, and all that he's taught may seem to have been of no avail. So! Please! Pray for their Family, and stop being do dog gone cruel, when things happen to others, it could have been YOU!
    Now! Pastor Dollor pull up your Boot Straps, and try not to allow yourself to become so agitated, we don't know all of what was said, nor what all was done, and we should just let you know that, God is our " Just God " and we've all come shor of His Glory. I for one will keep You, The Family in it's entirety up in Prayers, and just know that God is useing you, " Still " Pastor Dollor, don't allow this to destroy, what God is bringing up, so it may be corrected. God knew what you would do, before it was done, but you've gotta know that, we still are God's work in the Process. Now! Pray,and may You, and all of Your Family Pray to God, ask God forgive you " All ", because it's a situation that could have gotten outta of a much worse control. Amen! Amen! Amen!

    June 9, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  15. hamada

    The word of GOD declares that which is done in darkness shall be brought to the Light
    and to much is given much is required Those in leadership positions like the priests, cardinals and pastors should know that
    nothing is unknown to the LORD like the catholic scandals is a good example of why instead of getting on the president case about heath care and abortion the leadership of the church should be more focus on cleaning up their act ye FOOLS who strain at a gnat and swallow a camel (MATTHEW 23)

    June 9, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  16. Blane

    It's been said before but it is worth repeating: Liberals think that any physical punishment is child abuse. Get a clue!

    June 9, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • kcv

      Stop being so close minded....I'm what u would call a liberal and have no problem with some corporal punishment, stricter immigration laws, and less government interference. What I do have an issue with is the close minded "majority" trying to inflict their prejudiced, biased opinions on others.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • sam stone

      It's been said before, not everything fits your liberal/conserative paradigm. Get a clue

      June 9, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • James PDX Mostly Straight

      The fact is, not all liberals are Democrats and not all conservatives are Republicans. That's a myth propogated by both parties to keep the sheople divided so they can continue to conquer us and our money.

      June 10, 2012 at 12:04 am |
  17. N&W 1000

    Brother Dollar, lend me a buck.

    June 9, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
  18. Chrisekpo

    Creflo Dollar as a father has the right to stop hs daughter from going oit by 1 am to attend a party
    If I were him, I will ask my daughter to go stay with the police.
    Rotten kids
    Rotten society

    June 9, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • eredmonde

      I agree, 15 years old is not an adult and should not be telling their PARENTS what they are going to do especially going to a party or being out at 1 in the morning.... Kids today are seriously OUT OF CONTROL....

      Her parents are acting out for her best interest and she wants to test the boundaries... Well, now she knows what her parents will and will not put up with from her.

      June 9, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • bevy

      Amen

      June 9, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • James PDX Mostly Straight

      If he was a good Christian, he would have stoned her to death like the good book says.

      June 10, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • aintnotelling

      AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMMMEEEEEEEEEEEN!!!!!!

      June 10, 2012 at 1:10 am |
  19. THE LIGHT

    Typical religious leader in Babylon.

    June 9, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  20. Obamanation1

    thats nothing, all day everyday, American taxpayers are beaten, punched and choked by King Odumbo

    June 9, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • sam stone

      Every story is an opportunity to take a shot at the president, eh? Pull your head out of your rectum.

      June 9, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • bevy

      Let it go.

      June 9, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • James PDX Mostly Straight

      Was that really your best attack? Well, feel free to try again after you graduate the 4th grade.

      June 10, 2012 at 12:01 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.