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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. Ann Wilson

    As my neice used to tell her fundamendalist Christian Cult mother: God and religion are two different things!

    June 8, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • nightsun2k7

      Amen...for lack of a better word.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • sleepytime

      True, religion actually exists.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  2. bilbo

    HALLELUJAH!!

    THANK YA JESUS!!!

    June 8, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  3. RAN

    Fayette County, GA Sheriff's office does not have a arrest record of him listed yet? May be already expunged!!!

    June 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  4. DCinAllen

    Criticism about his doctrine notwithstanding, his previous infractions with the justice system are much ado about nothing. 1st, contempt of court in a personal divorce proceeding is a small offense, especially to the public at large. and I hardly think giving away $100k can be associated with the downgrading of two traffic offenses. The amount is so rediculously large, he'd (and we'd) have to be mentally challenged to consider it a bribe.

    However the problem with his family still remains. I hope he is able to make it through it, and should his daughter wish to continue to do her own thing, then hopefully he'll let her – on her own dime of course.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Petercha

      Good points, DCinAllen. I wish there were more posters in here who were taking the level-headed view.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Boink

      $100k can be associated with bribery .
      Why give this money to cops instead of some poor family ?
      I smell bull.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  5. Ross

    What? Religious hypocrisy? No way!

    June 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  6. boocat

    ANother "christian." If Jesus came back today he'd be puking his guts out over these "christians."

    June 8, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Drew

      Jesus: "I've made a huge mistake..." (diction a la arrested development)

      June 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Petercha

      Paint with a very broad brush, don't you, Boocat? Have you considered that maybe it's the media taking the tiny number of pastors who do stuff like this and blow it up big time?

      June 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • nightsun2k7

      To Petercha:

      You're so funny. Do you do stand up?

      June 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Boink

      *** Have you considered that maybe it's the media taking the tiny number of pastors who do stuff like this and blow it up big time?

      ------------------------------------------------------
      Pastor commits crime.
      Media reports crime.
      Defenders of paster blame media.

      Dont like the message, shoot the messenger.
      Hey idiot, if these people arent doing bad things, they wont get in the news.
      Pass it on.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  7. Smako

    If he choked you, why didn't you kill him? Clearly an assault, plead the Zimmerman defense and you get his money.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  8. Theistville Dog

    A 15 year old daughter staying out past her curfew,,,,, Then when she gets home , her father already steamed up confronts her. It doesn't take much for the daughter to push her father's buttons to the boiling point! Kid's nowadays are given way too much freedoms and the laws are too weak!

    June 8, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Petercha

      Good point, Theistville. No teen has any business being out until 1 AM. Especially not a girl.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Drew

      So you think it is excusable to choke out a child?

      June 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • nightsun2k7

      So choking and beating her is the way to go? Wow, please do not breed.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Colby

      So this is called victim-blaming....and it is one of the things that perpetuates violence. What you SHOULD be saying is that no matter what–there is never an excuse for this man to put his hands on his daughter–not finding a way to make it the daughters fault....nobody asks or deserves to be abused–especially by someone who is supposed to protect you.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Petercha

      No one said that, Drew and Night. You two must be liberals – they are known for twisting statements that way.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Theistville Dog

      Drew and nightsun2k7

      You two have no idea about a father's feelings when his daugther stays out past her curfew time! A father who told their child to be home by a set time and they don't makes the parent worry. Finally when the child gets home, a father's worry turns toward anger and then in confronting their child, the child pushes their father's buttons to reflect being scolded and not wanting to feel shame! If I were Dollar. I would ground her till she reached the age of 18 or she left the home she was raised in! Let her suffer then maybe she'll know the angusih of her staying out past curfew that she put her father thru!

      June 8, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • nightsun2k7

      Petercha:

      Not twisting anything, just reading what is clearly right in front of my face. You conservatives always seem to lack that ability.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • nightsun2k7

      You couldn't be more wrong, i have a 22 year daughter that i never ever laid a hand on in anger......NEVER! Respect is a two way street, she got mine so therefore i got hers. If you don't give it, don't ever expect to get it in return.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • derp

      Beating a child does not ever, ever teach them respect. It only creates animosity, and teaches them to accept violence.

      Hitting a young female child is the absolute worse thing you can do to them. It lays the groundwork for future abusive husbands. Every study on abusive relationships ever done shows a direct connection to corporal punishment and acceptance of abuse by women.

      The next time you think about hitting your daughter, just remember that you are making it far easier for her to be a victim of abuse by her future husband.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "I would ground her till she reached the age of 18 or she left the home she was raised in"

      that would have been fine. however that was not even close to what this guy did.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Boink

      *** Kid's nowadays are given way too much freedoms.....

      And where would this kid get that freedom ?
      From her parents , no ?
      You blame the kid for being out of control, but dont hold the parent responsible.
      Idiot.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  9. Adam

    I just wonder what his sermon this Sunday will be about? I just wonder!

    June 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Silly Side Up

      The truth shall set you free !!!
      A couple of extra bucks on the plate wont hurt.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Adam

      "Love one another"?

      June 9, 2012 at 5:09 am |
  10. Troy

    Yeah, well, thats what you get from a book that teaches violence. The Bible.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Petercha

      Troy, please quote even ONE scripture where Jesus taught His followers to be violent. You won't find it, trust me.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Adam

      I guess he didn't spare the rod.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @petercha
      Luke 22:36
      "He (Jesus) said to them, 'But now if you have a purse, take it and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one."

      June 8, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Petercha

      Doc – And that advocates violence how, exactly? Tons of people purchase guns, nowadays, but never shoot anyone with them. Most folks in the town I grew up in have guns – hunting was a big thing in my town – but I only remember one murder, and that was back in the '70's and was done by an escaped prisoner from out of state. It's a huge leap from buying a weapon, to using it for violent purposes.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Petercha
      So you don't think there's any implied violence in a call to arms?

      June 8, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • nightsun2k7

      To Petercha:

      I guess you missed the entire old testament. God couldn't have been more violent.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Boink

      Petercha

      Troy, please quote even ONE scripture where Jesus taught His followers to be violent. You won't find it, trust me.
      -------------------------------------------------–

      If you want to defend the book, it sorta helps if you actually read it first.
      Its full of violence.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  11. nightsun2k7

    oh religion......lol

    June 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  12. Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

    People saying "Why would you trust a 15 year old child? She was probably lying!" The 19 year old sister corroborated the story.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Boink

      They are both lying.
      And the cop who saw the bruise is lying.
      And the medical technition who examined her is lying..............

      June 8, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  13. Jesus

    Dollar beat up a fifteen year old female who wanted to attend a party. Choked her, slammed her into the ground, punched her and then proceeded to beat her with his shoe. Any christian that condones that sort of violence against a woman or a man is a sick twisted individual.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Drew

      Christians would be alright if they followed the actual teachings of Jesus rather than the tangled, violent mess that is the bible

      June 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  14. southernwonder

    this is a republican priest, isn't he?

    June 8, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Drew

      probably. He loves jesus and he loves money

      June 8, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      yeah the whole prosperity gospel nonsense isnt a liberal idea, its purely a conservative twisting of gospel.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Boink

      this is a republican priest, isn't he?

      They all are.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  15. Tee

    This is THEIR God!

    June 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  16. AGeek

    Creflo was just following OT teachings! If they don't behave, beat them senseless. But don't wear mixed fabrics or consume shellfish.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  17. goodgrief

    "humans" as a species are a deplorable lot.

    religion and politics are the downfall of modern society.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  18. SDAChatt

    There is no good reason to choke your daughter, beat her with a shoe, etc.. If she was telling the truth, the Mr. Dollar needs Anger Management classes. Pastor or not, there must be reactions for every action. Plz get this straight- It's NOT because he claims to be a CHRISTIAN that he supposedly abused his child, flew into a rage!! I saw a post that we "all fal short..." Good grief!!! We have the ability to restrain ourselves!! Don't whine about forgving him for child abuse because "we all make mistakes." The Bible says to abide under the law of the government. No where does it give permission to choke & beat your child. Christians, get some backbone and call "wrong, WRONG." It gives all Christians a bad name. We don't all act and react like Creflo Dollar did. It's against the Christian law as well!! Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath....

    June 8, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  19. Seriously

    Those of you who find any credibility in anything this charlatan says have my pity. This guy is the poster child for fleecing human sheep. "Prosperity Gospell"?? Seriously?? Not to mention that Deborah Torres's entire post says a lot more about her lack of parenting skills than it does about "todays teens". Time to cast off this excuse for a religion and think for yourselves!

    June 8, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  20. Gospel Diva

    What was she doing at 1:30 am? She is only 15. She needed just what she got. Probably smart mouthing!!

    June 8, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      I'm sure he could have kept her in the house without choking her.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • AGeek

      So it's acceptable to choke and beat a child in your world? Please, don't breed.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Adam

      Worship a first century book, and you get first century morals. Welcome to the future and this project we call civilization. Join the modern conversation, or remove yourself altogether.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Jmm

      actually what you meant to say Mrs. "Diva" was you wanted him to choke her. That's the gospel you cheer too. Glass houses.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Tee

      Anything is acceptable as long as they're black. Anyone that has to call themself a diva must be a real nappy haired dog.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Jo E

      I agree–the daughter should be reprimanded for not abiding by the rules of the household– however no choking or kicking should be allowed either. Sad situation for all concerned!

      June 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "She needed just what she got. Probably smart mouthing!!"

      people that support beating women also say the same thing.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Parfin Woodell

      He was pimpin her, but she spent the money.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:17 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.