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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. Kevin

    I need a couple of Dollars. What a bunch of BS, use the Lord to get yourself rich, that is not going to get him into the pearly gates.

    June 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  2. Frank

    People of the United States of America,
    Look, bottom line is if the 15 YEAR OLD would have listened to her Pastor Father and did what she was told to do in this case ,this incident would not have happened.I believe a good majority of teenagers that still live at home think they know it all and can do whatever they want whenever they want regardless of what a parent expects from them.The Judge should just let the Pastor off with a warning.He should send the daugther off to boarding school as punishment for calling 911 and be done with her,the party could have been full of Gang Bangers and he was trying to keep the daughter out of trouble.If something had happened to the daugther at the party ,the Pastor would happen ripped a new one for letting. the daugther go.

    June 10, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Frank: Child abuse is not acceptable, even when it's done by a man who claims to speak for god.

      June 10, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • GauisCaesar

      No pastors "speak for God," nor do they claim that. The Bible speaks for God, and pastors simply disseminate that information out.

      June 10, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @GauisCaesar –

      Then why the hell do you need a pastor? Or is church just a social group?

      June 10, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • donn juan

      Frank, decent, responsible adults don't beat their kids – of all people, wouldn't you think that a religious leader should be able to reason with his daughter instead of resorting to violence? I sincerely hope you don't have kids of your own.

      June 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Thade

      So beating underage females with your fist is okay if they dont do as they are told? Is it cool if I beat your daughter with my bare fists if I were her stepdad or only you. Or hey would be cool if I married your daughter and then beat her with my fists when she does not do as she is told. Go back to the BRONZE AGE FRANK

      June 10, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • JWT

      Well Franks you make me glad that I don't know you.

      June 10, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  3. GauisCaesar

    This has been a headline for CNN now for 4 days, while every other headline has been moved out of the headlines. CNN surely hates pastors!

    June 10, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The fact is that the story draws reaction from people like you and me. That's why it's continuing to be highlighted. Ignore it and it will go away. Or don't. Something else will come along and the mob will completely forget about it.

      June 10, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • GauisCaesar

      While I agree with you Tom, it is just obvious that CNN tries their best to completely misrepresent everything about Christianity, including keeping mundane local stories as national headlines to somehow prove that all Christian pastors are bigots or hatred persons. meanwhile, this strange story of Obama joining the New Party (socialists group) in 1996 doesn't even get a mention in any of their stories.

      June 10, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Thade

      No I think that the general population looks down on beating underage females with your fists. Has nothing to do with him being a pastor.

      June 10, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, baloney, Gauis (sic). Go join Keef on the conspiracy morons' bench.

      June 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • CNN

      Darn, you busted us! It is true, we hate pastors and christianity and mom and apple pie. We just hope that there aren't more people out there as perceptive as you or we will be in big trouble!

      June 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children or other living things

    Not too many black people in the bible. Coercive persuation + low intelligence = religion.

    June 10, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • find an atheist

      Find an ident ity thief

      June 10, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Bob Bales

      Coercive persuasion + low intelligence = an untrue stereotype that, if it were said about any other group, would be labeled as bigotry.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:21 am |
  5. Tyler1Durden

    If he's not careful he might accidentally beat the bejesus out of her, defeating his entire purpose.

    June 10, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  6. Atheism is not healthy for children or other living things

    Prayer changes things. And by that, I mean in the vast recorded history of mankind, there is not one instance that has occured proving that prayer does anything. I'm a zealot.

    June 10, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • daneste613

      Of course, prayer is another big-time faux. When a religious person prays to god and coincidently obtains what asked, says god gave it. When the same person prays and does not obtain what is asked, says that god is wiser and maybe what is asking is not for him/her. Another good one: if you obtain what you ask for, you are rewarded because you have faith (or behaved well). When you are ignored in your prayer, you have not enough faith or you behaved badly. Religious folks love to make things up so there is always a "good" answer.

      June 10, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • hallelujah

      Prayer has caused an atheist to steal the name and try to discredit prayer. Prayer changes things

      June 10, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children or other living things

    The doctrine will make you docile like me

    June 10, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • find an atheist

      find a moron

      June 10, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      find a moron, chances are he'll believe in a vengeful god.

      June 10, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • hallelujah

      I found a moron Tom Tom showed up

      June 10, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    June 10, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Brad

      Nonesense.

      June 10, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • WOw

      Sure does change things like your wallet when you send Sow the Seed of Gods Grace money to Benny Hinn or any number of christian crooks.

      June 10, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Prayer is usually a sign that you don't think god is doing a good job running things.

      June 10, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Prayer for the country

      Prayer is the act of having a conversation with God

      June 10, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
  9. daneste613

    I used to be somehow religious long time ago, when I was very young. When I grew up I learned I can still believe in God (or not) and I get rid of religion and religious hypocrisy. But these religious nuts (and many, many more out there) always serve to me as a reminder to avoid religion and religious folks as the pest.

    June 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Just Sayin'

      Typical trash. Wouldn't be surprised if it came out that his daughter said "no", and that caused the beating. These preachers live above their congregations and they feel the law and humanity do not affect them.

      June 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  10. Sad

    A man hitting a women is wrong period. Hey pastor be a man not a piece of garbage.

    June 10, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  11. DA

    Obviously the young lady's behavior was REALLY out of control. But MOST modern parents don't understand or agree with what he did. And honestly – there is a correlation between how kids & yound adults behave these days and the way a MODERN parent or MODERN society raises children these days. You see it frequently theses days – kids or young adults behaving in a disrespectful manner. Most times – it's hard to see who is the parent and who is the kid.

    I'm 48 years old and GENERALLY...that did not happen in my generation. I have a 19 year old Step-Daughter who I became her father when she was a Freshman in High School. I attempted to instill order in her life/stabilize her mentality and properly prepare her for life by exposing her to the principles I was raised with. It was too hard for her, her Mom and Grand-Parents to accept this way of parenting. I eventually make a HUGE mistake and toned it down & conformed sort to speak to MODERN parenting practices. I continued to say how it SHOULD be done and what I SHOULD do...but let it go. Well....lets just say after her leaving college after (1) semester and more importantly...the way in which she did it has shown the entire family that I was RIGHT. They see that they didn't give her the proper direction & discipline because they "loved her so much." This has been a very painful period for all of us and I feel terrible for my Wife!!! But now she is all in on not being "to easy" raising the 2-year old we have together. I've been told by all that they now understand why I am so hard on my 2- year old.

    Obviously there are numerous ways to raise a child and some kids are just easier to raise than others! But GOD knows if my kid steps over the line at ANY time in the next 16 years....it will be dealt with in accordance to the level of disrespect that was shown. It appears in this case we have a 16 year old who felt she was grown and probably said she was going to "do what she wanted to do." The Father regulated the situation accordingly and the daughter reacted as a MODERN kid might....they called the police! WOW...in my time...I would NEVER do that!

    It appears to me the family has not raised her totally by the principals I am speaking about. It appears she was exposed to these "old school" principals, but more MODERN parenting practices were used. The Father realized at that moment he had let things go entirely to far and reverted to old practices & procedures trying to bring order back to his family. Now he has to clean up this mess and at the same time let his daughter know that he is still the parent and as long as he is responsible for her...things are goingto be done a certain way. If he does not do this now...he will lose control of the family. But the more important fact is....he will lose the respect of his kids. Because one day they will understand what he is attempting to do as a responsible parent.

    June 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • J

      You need therapy. Just because you were abused during your youth.

      June 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • John

      DA. His daughter didn't do as well in school as he wanted her to do. It happens, some kids are not as intelligent as others, it's random, and she ended up with lower scores. To most people, they expect it could happen, to him, he was furious and grounded her. When she wanted to go to a party, and she kept asking, he exploded and attacked her, read the police report.

      My take on all this, if your kid is below the average in school, don't sweat it, 50% of the kids in school are below the average, and 50% are above it... it's random, and just accept it. Your kids are just fine as they are, encourage them to do their best, and please, don't beat someone crying about what they wanted to do, after punishing them for being who they are, and doing what they can, with what they've been given. That's just wrong and awful.

      June 10, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • WOw

      You right like an expert. Uh I grew up in early 70's my mom would not hesitate to use a paddle if me or my siblings were bad and deserved it but it was always on the behind. My dad rarely paddled because my mom took care of it before he usually got a chance but my dad taught me and my four brothers that men do not hit women ever only cowards hit women, I am confident my dad would have beaten any one of us soundly if he found we hit a woman. This guy went way past simple paddling he beat his daughter there is a big difference.

      FYI I turned out okay, I have three sons who I never paddled but they might surely thought I might if they pushed and that was all that was needed was for me to be stern.

      June 10, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • WOw

      I meant Write not Right

      June 10, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Mike

      actually there are many studies that show a positive correlation with corporal punishment, and violent behavior in adolescents/young adults. You are just making things up, but the actually studies show the opposite of the misinformation you're spewing.

      June 10, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Max Powers

      Oddly, today it's the kids that are beaten and humiliated that turn out crappy. Modern practices work, if they are used consistently. Parenting is still required. But the prisons are full of people who where beaten, belted and whipped.

      June 10, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @DA –

      You can't teach respect by being disrespectful.

      June 10, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      It's amazing how much you think you know about a situation of which you have no real knowledge. You must be quite proficient at mind reading.

      June 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  12. daneste613

    The world will be finally way better when all the F $#@ christians and religious folks cease to exist or depart to their loved heaven.

    June 10, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • John

      I can understand what you're feeling, I feel it too, but not for your reason. I think he was wrong, absolutely wrong to attack his daughter like that, and worse still, when she's crying about something she really wanted. It's sick. It's said it's cultural, but I think it's wrong no matter how it's justified. I really wish I could have stepped in his way before he got to her, I wouldn't have let him pass, and I wouldn't have attacked him either. But I'd have let him know he wasn't going to get to her. She's a human being, it's not her fault that she didn't get the best grades at school. 50% of the people at school, don't get better than the average grades, it happens, he should accept it and not punish her for being who she is, his daughter.

      June 10, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • dave

      I am thinking of becoming an atheist - where do I go to learn how to be obnoxious

      I saw a story about a bad preaching - so I decided God does not exist
      I saw a story about a bad teacher - so I decided education does not exist
      I saw a story about a bad cop - so I deide right and wrong do not exist

      People can choose to do bad things, that has nothing to do with the existence of God

      June 10, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It does when they use his supposed word as an excuse to behave badly.

      June 10, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @dave – "I am thinking of becoming an atheist"

      Some education would be a good start. Good luck!

      June 10, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Dave, the reason that most atheists don't believe in a god is because there isn't a shred of evidence to support the existence of any god. You list a bunch of emotional reasons for being an atheist, but in reality atheism is a rational choice. Belief, on the other hand, is the emotion-based choice.

      June 10, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • dave

      I could have made a point – but I decided to be insulting instead.

      I see that others have opinions that differ from mine – so I call them obnoxious.
      I could argue reasonably – but prefer to throw generalizations around because reason is difficult.
      I cannot prove god's existence – but faith is belief despite any evidence to the contrary.

      People can choose to do bad things, but even though God created everything and knows everything that will ever happen, I cannot bring myself to believe that God is ultimately responsible for evil since He created it.

      June 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Bob Bales

      tallulah13: Since you don't believe, how can you know the reasons people believe?

      June 11, 2012 at 1:30 am |
  13. ipmutt

    More anti christian rants. They just keep coming

    June 10, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      When some Christians worship the almighty Dollar and support corrupt 'preachers', what else would you expect?

      June 10, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • T. Lee

      When they are as deserved as these are by these sorry excuse for a "Pasto/Ministerr" – then they are deserved unfortunately.

      June 10, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  14. James Gentry

    Christians are people that deal with all people with love. Creflo Dollar is not a Christian. He has a last name of "Dollar"? He is a man who worships money. Don't juge all Christians by this heathen.

    June 10, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Really-O?

      @James Gentry –

      Really James?...because Felicia Conley (a christian from PA), on this very blog, claimed "Creflo Dollar is a very smart educated man of God, he is an author, music producer, and a very savvy business man", yet you call him a "heathen". Perhaps you christians should have a pow-wow and get your stories straight.

      June 10, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Matt

      How convenient that once a Christian does a very unchristian deed, he can be labeled a non-Christian by another Christian. Wy don't we go further and just say he isn't human and en we'll all feel better. I got news for you, not all Christians are good people.

      June 10, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      James, when did god appoint you as arbiter of who is or is not christian?

      June 10, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  15. rabbit one

    goodness gracious – these churches are the stomping grounds of the debased – you are better off just reading the holy books in your own homes with your family and friends – away from the money grubbing loons

    June 10, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  16. Jonathon Taylor

    Barrel-Chested? lol

    June 10, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  17. blondie

    Eeeech. Christians. The South. Eeeech.

    June 10, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • James Gentry

      How unfair the say "Eech. Christians. Eech. The South. We are the most wonderful, loving, and warm people on the planet. Please don't judge us all by this one man.

      June 10, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Buckwheat

      @James Gentry – "How unfair..."

      O.K....how about if we judge ya'll by – Jim Baker, Jimmy Swagart, Ted Haggard, Paul Cain, Kent Hovind, Paul Barnes, Lonnie Latham...shall I continue?

      June 10, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  18. WEP

    *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.*

    Reading the above statement, sounds like Creflo might have gotten some police training. At least the daughter didn't get tased

    June 10, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  19. JT

    I am so not surprised that a "megachurch" pastor would behave this way. They are all charlatans and hucksters. Anyone who falls for their line of baloney is a dolt.
    Looks like Chica would be one of the sheep to follow such a con artist.

    June 10, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  20. chica

    I did and they're grown now...they thank me everyday for being a good parent....they are off finishing college and military about to go to officers school...the cops didn't have to handle it ...i did...they were taught disciplined, consequences and accountability...

    June 10, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Chica's conscience

      They secretly hate you and your beatings. One day they may retaliate, thinning the herd of an animal like you.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • JWT

      I feel sorry for you chica. Sucha sad way to live.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I doubt the troll has any kids. It IS a kid.

      June 10, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Sue

      What Tom Tom said. Easy to claim anything about your kids in a blog comment, but just as with religion, no evidence presented = no cred.

      June 10, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Thade

      Cool if its acceptable for your husband hitting your daughter with his bare fists, then im sure you will have no problem with your husband hitting you with his bare fists, I'm sure after he does this you will have no problem not letting the police get involved.

      June 10, 2012 at 1:34 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.