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. Mark

    Doesn't the bible say you should kill your misbehaving children ???

    June 10, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • JWT

      The bible says a lot of remarkably stupid things. It also has soem good things to say. As with most take the good and leave the bad behind.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  2. chieatfetus

    Another Pastor Long.......black people especially beat their kids. What a hipocrit.

    June 10, 2012 at 9:06 am |
  3. doug.beorht


    June 10, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • HUH

      That's weird, when my parents taught me to walk they put the shoes on my feet, they didn't beat me with them.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:11 am |
  4. Get Real

    Where's a woodshed when you need one?

    June 10, 2012 at 8:56 am |
  5. Roxie

    I think it is so sad that parents are not allowed to correct the children as God has instructed them ,but as soon as they get in trouble the police can tase them, shoot ,beat them with night sticks, and even kill them.I raised 4 children they all got punished when it was called for ,and they are better people for it today .Parents need to be parents raise your children as God has instructed u 2 .regardless what the law says .Gods word says to spare the rod spoil the child,we see what has happened to our country .KEEP ON SPARING THE ROD.

    June 10, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • HUH

      Where does it say you should beat them with a shoe?

      June 10, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • what about justice

      Where does it say you should accept accusation as fact?

      June 10, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      There is no evidence to state god commanded anything. As for sparing the rod-it is against the law...child abuse is a criminal offense and anyone who uses physical force of any kind on a child does not deserve the privilege of being around a child. How about we arrange to have you choked, beaten with a shoe and harmed by someone bigger than you and see how much you enjoy it?

      June 10, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      what about justice: The oldest daughter attested to the abuse...sounds like the 15 year old wasn't the only one being harmed by this monster! Most times when a kid makes such an accusation there is truth behind it! Sadly it seems like you support this loser!

      June 10, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • JWT

      Abuse is abuse period. Thinking some mythical god commanded it just makes it worse. There are better ways to raise children than with the terror of beatings. Break the cycle of violence now.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  6. doug.beorht


    June 10, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • HUH

      What about sparing your fist or your shoe?

      June 10, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  7. Steve Gorney

    Having raised 4 daughters in this world today, and having had many challenges, even those closest to the Lord can have flashpoint and volatile moments with their children. When a healthy teenage daughter gets out of control and gets physical with you, and you attempt to get control of that situation (without hitting, striking or hurting), many would see that as abuse. From experience I can tell you that it is not. And law enforcement will back that up. So I do not know the details of this incident nor am I defending Pastor Dollar per se, but these situations are very difficult and are not always what they seem. Plus, no loving father wants to condemn his daughter to law enforcement or the courts.

    June 10, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • John

      I would like to know why a teenage daughter would hit her father.

      If it is because he's got his hands on her thoat choking her, or that he's just slapped her, or is in the process of throwing her to the ground and then beating her with his shoe, then OK, I can understand why she might strike out at him.

      Otherwise I can't fathom why a teenage daughter whould attempt to hit her father.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:12 am |
  8. paris

    On a side note, (& I include myself in this), it's crazy that 3,000 of us feel compelled to leave comments on this, and not, say, the Syrian Massacre(much more distressing).

    June 10, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • John

      I agree, but war tends to be overwhelming, both in the human tragedy of it, and in the immense nature of why it occurs. It's hard both for those in it, and those seeing it happen from outside it. It's difficult, lives vanishing before you even have time to know them or understand what happened to them.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Is That So

      II'm supposed to care about Syria? LOL

      June 10, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  9. Larry Love

    Pulpit Pimps is what these guys are. I haven't lost faith in the church or the Bible. Only in man who profit off the vulnerable and weak.

    June 10, 2012 at 8:48 am |
  10. Wow

    Next week the whole family will be on a reality show. Kardashians are at this moment holding a family meeting wishing they had thought of it first.

    June 10, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • no amount

      of slapping will instill morality or talent to a Kardashian

      June 10, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  11. bab

    I guess the pastor got the message from Jesus to teach his daughter the lesson..... will Jesus save these so called (hypocrite) preachers – THey are liars spreading lies in the name of jesus and corrupt the free minds of american people.

    June 10, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  12. jax'sPaPa

    There is a better way to discipline your child. As for as his message as a preacher, Jesus said that " life is not measured by the abundance of things that you have", "...you can't serve two master...", "....sell all that you have and come and follow me..", and "...it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to get into the kingdom of Heaven..."

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

      And, 1 Timothy 6:3-10...I feel for the financially-struggling members of this church–do they just assume that they don't have enough "faith"? That is gross...

      June 10, 2012 at 8:48 am |
  13. Katja


    June 10, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • staciesrant

      One would hope any parent who is frustrated with their child could be a little more creative in ways to have their child behave in a more acceptable behavior, beating and choking would not be acceptable ways to get your point across. This is called lazy parenting, and seldom gets the desired results. If you think this is appropriate, I can only hope you have no children.

      June 10, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • John


      Katja, look at your keyboard, see the key labled "Caps Lock"?... push that key once.

      June 10, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • Craboo

      You think its ok to physically harm a child? It shows a lack of intelligence and control. He perfectly represents the church.

      June 10, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • JWT

      Well kat do the future a favour and don't reproduce.

      June 10, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • Larry Love

      Katja, I have a problem with this pastor, but for this situation I fully agree with him and you. These kids are out of control and think they can say or do anything to anyone. I'll be dam if a disrespectful kid gonna control my house. Black parents is not gonna stand for it. My parents would knock the living you know what outta me if I disrespected them. One of God's tenants is to honor thy Mother and Thy Father that you days may be long. My parents got respect from my siblings and we all turned out to be law abiding citizens with college degrees.

      June 10, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • John

      Larry, if what you say is true, then I would suggest brown people everywhere, to look around and notice civilized people do not need to beat kids into normalcy. Instead, use encouragement and help them understand how they are expected to behave as they transition into adulthood. This is the preferred method, the beating method usually ends up in jail time for both the beaters, and the beaties once they have kids and pass on the beatings.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  14. 18E

    it's all good, and the Atlanta police are interfering in the pastor's 1st amendment rights. just ask Fox news and the GOP
    just a continuation of the "war on Christians." How dare the the police and prosecutors run afoul of God's law.

    Proverbs 13.:24, 22:15,:23:13,
    Ecclesiastics, 22.:6, 30:11

    June 10, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • JWT

      yur gods "law" does not apply to society.

      June 10, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • paris

      *Ecclesesiat*es, which only goes to Chapter 12, not *tics, my friend.

      June 10, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Stepping on his rights? He has no right to abuse a child. As for your god's laws, they don't exist in the real world. The only laws that matter are the ones set forth by society-the laws of the land and the laws of the land state that you can't cause physical harm to anyone.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • what about justice

      Here we are a nation of laws, we do not know how liar prevails country operates but here we are innocent until PROVEN guilty, an accusation does not automatically become guilt. We have courts to determine guilt or innocence based on facts not foreign opinion.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • ek

      I'm fairly certain there was a *bit* of sarcasm in 18E's post.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Canada at least has it together! Our laws are very straight forward...hit anyone and be prepared to be charged. As far as children go, if you hit a child anywhere but on the bu.tt and do so more than once, you can be charged...span.king in this manner only pertains to children between the ages of 2 and 12...any span.king before 2 or after 12 is a criminal offense. Innocent until proven guilty is common, however, the oldest daughter in this case stated that he abu.sed her also...so he's more than likely guilty. Maybe if you learned a bit about abu se victims you'd have a clue as to what you speak of but given that you back this pastor, it is you that is the liar...no-one in their correct mind could back this man.
      I don't lie...facts are easy to come by and like you I have the right to my opinion (it's called freedom of speech)...you don't think he is guilty, I happen to disagree based on the fact that his oldest daughter said he did it and usually when you get 2 from the same family stating the same thing, it is more than likely accurate.
      Either way I think that span.king a child or using any kind of physical force on a child should be considered child ab use. You do not need to lay a hand on a child to teach them proper behavior. There are much more effective ways.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • 18E

      JWT, Paris, Truth Prevails, What About Justice,

      Are u three that daft? Try looking up the "Irony", in the dictionary.

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

      Too many churches nearby the negative psychic energy is scrambling my brain.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • paris

      Not daft at all, dude–yep, IRONY is actually when the literal meaning of something is the exact opposite of the actual definition...you were being sarcastic, not ironic. I smiled when I read it, but at least use ACTUAL books of the Bible as references–it would be a smarter, funnier post. (P.S. Some Christians? Actually hate FOX "NEWS", and voted for Obama?! –Can you believe the audacity? I wonder if I really "know" God??–this is also sarcasm :-))

      June 10, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  15. unretired05

    It was just an honor beating not murder yet.

    June 10, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • Wow

      "Don't taze me bro! Don't shoe me Dad"

      June 10, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  16. find an atheist

    find a man that acts as his own god and just uses common sense instead of a crutch

    June 10, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • find an atheist

      find all manner of oxymorons

      June 10, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • JWT

      I'd be a better god than the god of the bible.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  17. huh

    Well, I wanna get down my knees and start pleasing Jesus. I wanna feel his salvation all over my face.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:50 am |
    • find an atheist

      find filth

      June 10, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • Down on my knees ready to please Jesus

      Thanks. Couldn't remember it exactly and I didn't want to go look it up.

      June 10, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • refresher

      atheist = filth

      June 10, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      atheist = moral, decent, honest, loving human

      theist= delusional, lazy, immoral, dishonest, lying

      June 10, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  18. Down on my knees ready to please Jesus

    I wanna feel his sunshine all over my face!

    I love Cartman.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:49 am |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    June 10, 2012 at 7:49 am |
  20. Amadea

    Prosperity theology is NOT about God or His Son Jesus. It's about living the good life on earth, instead of amassing treasure in heaven as Jesus told us to do. This man does not preach the message of Salvation for eternity. Therefore, in my experience, Mr. Dollar is not, strictly speaking, a Christian and indeed is a false teacher. Having said that ... there is no excuse for any parent, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim or atheist, 'beating' a child of any age. If a 'child' of 15 cannot discern between good and bad, he/she must find out for him/herself what the world is all about. Painful for the parent? Sure. Painful for the child? You bet. But if you've raised your kids with the love of God and they still go off the rails, they need to find out for themselves what the consequences of the world are. Beating them won't make them see something you want them to see. AND ... to say that Dollar is only human, to excuse this kind of behaviour, is letting off the hook a man who should be kept to a higher standard simply because he is 'out there' leading other human beings. Shame on him.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • AB207

      Amadea, shame on you! Were you in the house when this incedent supposedly happened??? Furthermore, apparently you do not listen to his ministry enough to get the just of the message, if you had then you would know that Mr. Dollar does speak of reaching eternity, but while you are alive there is no reason to live on this earth broke either. I use to think that Creflo Dollar ministry wasn't this or that until I actually began listening to the fully ministry on a regular basis and having my very own personal relationship with God, yes, I was raised in church and I got plenty of whippings growing up, it may have been called abuse now days, but I tell you what, when I look back, of course I would not want those same punishments, but I do know that those punishments made me respectful of my mother and elderly people as well and I am still alive after those whippings, I did not call the police or whatever because there would have been consequences for that as well. People like you are one of the reason kids are so out of control now, kids are nothing like when I grew up, some kids have no respect for their parents nor anyone else, they are TOTALLY OUT OF CONTROL! Creflo is NOT a false teacher, and who are you to judge, its said when we form an opinion before knowing the full details. Kids get punish and get upset, and some of them, the first thing that they do is call the police because they know that the law forbids parents punishing their children, it is kids getting there butts whipped all the time, everyday people, ok...and the word of God does say (MR. SMARTY), spare the rod and spoil the child. Like I said, everyone criticize children today because of their behavior, but when they are punished the for things most people do is cry foul, if my child would disobey me and I have tried reasoning with them, before I allow you to run my household and do as you please, I will whip your butt as well, and yes IT IS an excuse for whipping a child's butt, my son got his whipped...has he been in jail NO, has he been in any trouble NO, is he a respectful young man, YES.....

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

      And a promotes another generation of violence.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • paris


      June 10, 2012 at 10:52 am |
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About this blog

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.