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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. Down on my knees ready to please Jesus

    A lot of people defending Dollar's behavior here...should a parent stoop down to acting like a middle schooler when their kid flies off the handle or should a parent actually set an example for their child as an adult?? Parents don't seem to realize that kids WANT their parents to react like this.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:44 am |
  2. Chut Pata

    If Jesus was real, and he did what is said about him, then he would be devastated to see what is been done in his name. Trillion dollar industry in his name, exploiting people and making themselves super rich. The religion founded in his name by a Roman Emperor favors rich and condemns poor. His sales pitches that got him so many followers are totally reversed by Corporate Christianity.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:42 am |
  3. Down on my knees ready to please Jesus

    The true symbol of evil in America.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • is you

      yep

      June 10, 2012 at 7:44 am |
  4. Wow

    Notice to all screaming, fit throwing teenagers: If you step into a man's shoes, you will be treated like a man. Wonder how many doors she slammed, or words she screamed before daddy-o went for it. Pastor, next time just dial 911 and insist on boot camp for the baby girl!

    June 10, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • Down on my knees ready to please Jesus

      Real men don't throw fits.

      June 10, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • John

      He beat her, rather violently, over her school work not being up to his standards, and her crying and begging to go to a party later in the week. It's sad that he can't even see his own daughter's tears and pain, when she wasn't given some set level of intelligence he expected she should have.

      If you can't see how sad that is, pick anyone with higher than normal IQ, now punish all the ones with lower IQs, beat them, make them cry, make them beg to be happy with others, and beat them hard if they're your 15 year old daughter, because you think she deserves it for not being as smart as some random higher than normal IQ person. That's sad.

      June 10, 2012 at 7:49 am |
    • what about justice

      Did we miss the part of the story where he was found guilty by due process? lynch mob mentality at work in your comment.

      June 10, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • John

      Anytime you feel it's proper, go read the police report.

      June 10, 2012 at 8:12 am |
    • what about justice

      Since when is a police report a conviction? do we even need lawyers, judges and courts in your world? accusation = rope and a tree, end of due process?

      June 10, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • John

      Have you read the police report? You seem fixated on ropes and trees. Why is that?

      June 10, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • what about justice

      It is your mentality to convict without due process of law, what you are doing John is lynching therefore the rope and tree is your preferred and implied choice, proven by your comments.

      June 10, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • John

      It is you that has said what he did is worthly of considering a rope and a tree.

      I have not once said that, other than to point out that you are saying it.

      Why is that?

      June 10, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • what about justice

      @John
      You went from accusation to conviction on the man without due process. How dense can you be? Where is the court conviction in this case? What you have done is exhibit lynch mob mentality, you have accepted accusation as truth

      June 10, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • John

      I know nothing of the man, or his daughters. The one daughter claimed on the officer's report that she changed her story when her parents were there out of fear. With what is said to be millions of dollars at stake, I for one would be in great fear if I was one of the daughters, because those millions of dollars, and past $100,000 gifts to police officers, changed tickets, there is no telling what will come up next. Will they die in a tragic accident... let's hope not... they've gone through enough.

      Daughters of the pastor.... get out of there, get the court moving you out to safety. People have died for much less.

      June 10, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  5. Wow

    Next time, the parent needs to get a police witness BEFORE saying no phone, internet, texting, parties or dating. Bratty behavior is the new civil rights issue.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:29 am |
  6. Wow

    Glad to hear a parent trying to make a child do right. Sounds like she escalated the situation and the parent matched her. Shame on her for crying and throwing a fit at 1 am!

    June 10, 2012 at 7:24 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Not shame on her, shame on him for thinking he had the right to lay a hand on another human in anger. She did exactly as she should have done...she called the authorities to put an end to his abuse. No child deserves to be physically disciplined. The fact that you support him is a good indication that you should not be allowed near any child. Violence teaches violence.
      This is typical teen doing typical teen stuff or did your parents beat you into being submissive that you forget what it was like to be a teenager and want to have your independence??
      The stats are very clear on the matter:
      14% of all men in prison in the USA were abused as children. 7
      36% of all women in prison were abused as children. 7
      Children who experience child abuse & neglect are 59% more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28% more likely to be arrested as an adult, and 30% more likely to commit violent crime
      (http://www.childhelp.org/pages/statistics)

      So basically if he is allowed to get away with this garbage and mistreatment, there is a risk that the cycle of abuse will continue.

      June 10, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • John

      Most officers would have either shot him, or tazer'd him if they'd seen him charge a crying 15 year old girl, slap her face, choke her for 5 seconds, throw her to the ground, and beat her with a shoe. The girl's sister ran off in fear to get help. This is a grown man, a large man, beating a 15 year old girl, because she didn't do well in school, and was crying and begging to go to a party later in the week.

      Let's all hope the pastor doesn't need any of his debts forgiven, and that he can cry and beg better than she could.

      June 10, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • what about justice

      In our country accusation does not equal conviction.what will you say when the pastor is found not guilty ? will you voice the same intensity in apology for your predetermined prejudice and hatred?

      June 10, 2012 at 7:37 am |
    • John

      I will voice my opinion that the daughters should do their best to convince the court they should be moved to a safe residence, and get counseling... before they pass on.

      June 10, 2012 at 8:09 am |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    June 10, 2012 at 6:52 am |
    • James

      The only thing it changes is your grip on reality

      June 10, 2012 at 7:12 am |
    • Mark

      Atheism is totally healthy for children. At some point it is not healthy to sit around waiting for Santa to slide down the chimney. Man created god, not the other way around.

      June 10, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • nope

      @mark
      nope

      June 10, 2012 at 7:28 am |
    • Chut Pata

      Yet when you are sick, you do not pray until you are dead. Instead, you go to the doctor who cures you the secular way

      June 10, 2012 at 7:29 am |
    • all healing

      comes from God

      June 10, 2012 at 7:31 am |
  8. Guest

    Some of you people seem to think the world is such a horrible place that being beaten at home is a preferable alternative

    The rest of us have at least a lick of common sense

    June 10, 2012 at 6:02 am |
  9. Fel

    All these comments of people defending the dad and people defending the daughter are ridiculous. Were any of you there? You read a news article and you know the whole story? Don't be daft.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:30 am |
    • John

      Well, I'm sure he didn't chew her face off, so I'm positive that there was no need for the police to shoot him. But I have to wonder, would they have shot him if they saw him charge at her, slap her face, choke her for 5 seconds, throw her to the ground and then start beating her with a shoe? Would the officers just stand there as he attacked her when she was crying and trying to get away from him with her older sister running off in fear?

      Yes, I think they would have shot him.

      Any 15 year old girl going through that, please, see a counselor, please, I care. Get help. You need to heal.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:54 am |
  10. Darin

    Some religious @sshole named "Dollar" beat his daughter? Doesn't surprise anyone. The idiots that attend his "megachurch" are all worthless, lowlife f_cks.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:12 am |
    • ABACUS

      darin, r u serious? like someone said b4 u, where u there? have u met or heard the man preach? u must be a skin head!

      June 10, 2012 at 6:43 am |
  11. Pastapharian

    If only there was a war to ban religion altogether.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:03 am |
    • Bernard Webb

      Religion has a corrosive effect on certain individuals. I am not at all surprised to learn that a church official beat his daughter. Look what all those Catholic priests did!

      June 10, 2012 at 6:03 am |
    • jim

      Who would fight in such a war? We atheists are too peaceful and civilized to kill people over religion.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:41 am |
    • more people have been

      murdered by "peaceful" atheists in the last 100 years than were killed in all the previous centuries.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:51 am |
    • Chut Pata

      Crusades that killed not only Muslims, but also killed Jews and Orthodox Christians, all in the name of Jesus. Wiping out entire populations of Australia and New Zealand, in the name of Jesus. Wiping out entire tribes in Africa, and enslaving the survivors, in the name of Jesus. Wiping out entire races from the Americas, in the name of Jesus. Now tell me how many have people have atheist killed? Do not quote me propoganda.

      June 10, 2012 at 7:37 am |
  12. Margaret Williams

    This SOB needs to keep his hands off a 15 yr. old! You don't discipline them by chocking and beating with a shoe, and throwing her to the ground at 1 a.m.! This has happened before, the other sister the 19 year old said. It's time your skeletons come out of the closet. The propersity gospel is a lie. Look who's living in the yellow mansion?? You?? No...the abuser!!! Give your money to the poor like Jesus said, and kick these prosperity liars OUT ON THEIR BEHINDS!!! Take Eddie Long's ass with you!!!!!!

    June 10, 2012 at 4:27 am |
  13. LizaMom

    Oh the mighty how they fall, or some crap like that. Another so-called Christian preacher bites it. When will people wake up and stop listening to these psychopaths?

    June 10, 2012 at 3:15 am |
    • Ken

      Kids are suppose to do what the parents say, not the other way around. You are probably one of those parents that have kids that scream their heads of in public while you count to ten. Spare the rod, end up with a damn republican

      June 10, 2012 at 3:38 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Ken: Yes, she is expected to follow house rule but that does not mean he had the right to lay a hand on her in anger. He could have grounded her, taken away privileges but instead he took the easy cowardly way out and used violence. Laws are in place for a reason and he will soon find out how wrong he was to have ever harmed her.

      June 10, 2012 at 4:56 am |
    • Juliana

      Liza when you are ignorant you remain igmorant.. The pastor has not fallen. He is only trying to protect his daughter from a cruel and evil world out there. I know she ids going to live to regret calling the cops on her dad.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:11 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Juliana: Why would she live to regret calling the police on her abuser? If you were beaten, you'd call the police, so why should this child be any different? Children don't need physical abuse to be good kids. It doesn't matter what your ignorant opinion on the matter is, the law says that what he did is a criminal offense and that is what matters. There is also the fact that she is 15 and if she decides not to return to his home the courts will not force her thankfully. Kudos to her for stopping the cycle of abuse now.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:16 am |
    • james

      Juliana is stupid and worthless.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:17 am |
  14. L Brown

    The situation could have been handled differently yet what people have not mentioned (from what i read) is that Creflo Dollar is human, I said something saturday that is totally unrelated to the subject yet seems appropriate now God desires people not puppets forget about playing perfect you have to learn how to strive for perfection (overcoming obstacles) in my opinion it does not mean we will walk on water yet we have the opportunity everyday and in every situation to get hold of ourselves and make the right decisions before God and not your own selfish desires or trying to look good or bad in front of people.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:14 am |
    • John

      The reason given for him beating her, is that she didn't do well in school, so he wouldn't let her go to a party later in the week, and beat her for crying about it and begging to go. The pastor apparently doesn't have a clue about the king that forgave the debtor, and expected the debtor to forgive others that owed him. His daughter had nothing to pay the debt of not doing well in school, she cried and begged for mercy, and he beat her anyway while saying she still owed the debt due for less than stellar school work.

      He is so focused on money, 'prosperity' and things God said he doesn't care about, things he can instantly whip up, that he doesn't recognize his own daughter's tears, hurt and pain. That is sad.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:32 am |
  15. Missy Wilson

    She not dead so she will get over it. She could went And they had drug they could slept her something in her drink an she would not know about it. What would the girls say then.so u was right. U. Been there so let her pout she alive.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:10 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Next time you come to a blog, try to make sure you can form a comprehensible sentence and not sound like you're the one on drugs or who hasn't made it past 1st grade. In this case, you're wrong. The man used physical force and violence to control a child, something the law prohibits. If he had grounded her, it would be one thing but he used his anger to control her. This is not much different than a woman being beaten by her husband...the results are the same and effects last forever. We'll send someone to beat you with a shoe and choke you and then see if you say the same crap.

      June 10, 2012 at 4:52 am |
    • Mark

      Missy Wilson- you sound like you attend this church!

      June 10, 2012 at 7:22 am |
  16. Missy Wilson

    She's. Alive. And not on the s
    Street dead are on drug so better safe then sorry. She will get over it

    June 10, 2012 at 3:01 am |
    • On my knees for God's pleasure

      ok

      June 10, 2012 at 3:19 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Missy: You're beyond ignorant. The psychological scars her abusive father (and he doesn't deserve that ti.tle) has left will affect her forever. The bruises and scratches may disappear but she'll always carry the emotional part of this.
      Once again though, this blog is full of adults...I believe Crayola has blogs for children and they might have a way for you to learn how to form a proper sentence.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:19 am |
  17. bigmeechy74

    This is the least surprising story ever reported.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:57 am |
  18. Saywhatyoumean

    THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW ACCORDING TO HYPOCRITICAL CHRISTIANS
    1 Blessed are those who force others to live by their interpretation of the Scriptures : for the
    rule of the land shall be theirs.
    2 Blessed are those seeking the glory of riches over the needs of the poor : for they shall be wealthy
    in the sight of God.
    3 Blessed are those seeking vengeance instead of forgiveness : for mercy is for the weak.
    4 Blessed are those who persecute others for their own self-righteousness : for theirs is
    the kingdom of heaven.
    5 Blessed are those seeking to make war : for peacemakers are fools.
    6 Blessed are those who live a double life : for they shall not receive judgment.
    7 Blessed are those who claim the end is here : for many before them have done so.
    8 Blessed are those who expect others to live by what they say : for they themselves do not
    need to.
    9 Blessed are you when men fall on their knees to worship you : for you are their god.
    10 Blessed are those who claim to speak for God : rejoice and be glad, for God does not mind.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:51 am |
    • a pimp named slickback

      if the gospel were written today, thats exactly as it should read.. cause thats the way people act, even the members of mega churches

      June 10, 2012 at 3:02 am |
  19. alesia

    Jesus is alive today and we all are going to be held accountable for our sins. So let's stop being so judgmental and learn to pray for people. If we work on our own faults, we would not have time to judge others!

    June 10, 2012 at 2:48 am |
    • Mirosal

      So, jesus rose from the dead. That's a textbook definition of "zombie". And everyone knows zombies aren't real. Ergo, your jesus guy isn't real. And neither is your "god".

      June 10, 2012 at 2:51 am |
    • On my knees for God's pleasure

      Not sure how praying to an imaginary friend- which is basically talking to yourself- will help anything.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:55 am |
    • paris

      @ Mirosal...kudos on using the word "ergo" but your logic is ricaculous...and, um...zombies aren't real? There is a dude in Miami missing eyeballs and a face who'd disagree with you on that point...

      June 10, 2012 at 2:56 am |
    • TRUTH

      JESUS IS REAL. JESUS IS LOVE> JESUS DESERVES MORE THAN WHAT IS GIVEN>LOVE ONE ANOTHER. INSPIRE ONE ANOTHER TO REACH OUT AND LOVE

      June 10, 2012 at 3:13 am |
    • Mirosal

      Was your guy im Mimi dead, buried, and rose from his grave at one point? No, he wasn't. He isn't a zombie, that's just the label that the media pinned on him for shock value to garner ratings and viewers.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:14 am |
    • great intellect my ass

      mirosal?mensa my ass

      June 10, 2012 at 7:09 am |
  20. On my knees for God's pleasure

    If Jesus was alive today, I wonder what he would think of these multimillion dollar churches, the pastors (and their personalities) and the "flocks."

    June 10, 2012 at 2:42 am |
    • paris

      He'd be pretty grossed out, I'd venture...call 'em wolves in sheep's clothing. By the way, your user name-wrong on so many levels, but pretty damned witty/funny (& I'm a Christian:-))

      June 10, 2012 at 2:47 am |
    • On my knees for God's pleasure

      Thanks, took me a few to think of it. lol

      June 10, 2012 at 2:52 am |
    • Mirosal

      If jesus were alive today, he's be hauled in for court-ordered psych evals, because as we all know, anyone claiming to be the son of any deity in this day and age is looked upon as a kook, and not to be taken seriously. And he would be denounced by every religious "leader" on the planet.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:57 am |
    • paris

      It rocks o' wit 🙂

      June 10, 2012 at 2:57 am |
    • aintnotelling

      uhhhh....JESUS "IS" ALIVE TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      June 10, 2012 at 9:53 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.