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. Dena

    Folks of Christian behavior & tuff love
    A family that prays together will stay together, right? But not at a party style life too, at least not in this situation!! From years of me watching the Dollar family and the girls well care for especially with guidelines, it required a christian walk.
    The girls never look like hell breakers until peer pressure comes to the door especially when teens are inquiring. Many kinds of people know some teen personaities will test ya (provoke ya) Satan getting his way somehow & waiting for some day to cause division. (Bible). Role models are required and if it is time for boarding school to keep conflict of interest at a low, then boarding school it is.. The man looks after jail birds, hunger folks, etc. and the pressure is on. The child will learn with tuff love not anger or provoking people to anger. The young female requies structure / Pastor keep readin your memory verses regarding peace, etc. (power in his word)

    June 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • JWT

      Well her dad makles a cr appy role model.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  2. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    June 10, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • JWT

      If I ever do a non-coerced prayer in my life I'll let you know about that. But the evidence is clear that it helps the person paraying feel better but nothing else.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes its mind.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  3. GauisCaesar

    Thanks to CNN for telling us this guy is not a true believer of the faith. Many knew that already. CNN's job though is to make Christianity look stupid, evidenced by this story being a headline news story for the past 4 days. Virtually no story has been a headline for 4 days on CNN!

    June 10, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  4. Sam

    his goal at church: et the dollars creflowwww.

    June 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Sam


      June 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  5. Pat D

    You said it well A Cortez.

    June 10, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  6. Saxman

    What he preaches every Sunday is supportable by Scripture. His actions don't invalidate his teachings, they just invalidate his character, so don't crucify an entire faith on the very unfortunate bad actions of one man. Its a shame really, cause I found many of his insights into the Scripture enlightening, but now I will very likely avoid his program.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  7. Michael

    I would ground my child for life going to a party at that age where their is drinkig and drugs is againts the law, the question is not wheather he used force but wheather he is using enouth force The other question is if she were to go out and get drunk and kill someone will the courts then turn an blame him for his child action. As i see it a father is the fiirst a formost athority in the house hold.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Krista

      I guess you assume that all parties that kids go to have drugs and alcohol, so you don't let your kids get together with friends at all? How nutso is that? You think choking a child, hitting her with a fist, and beating her with a shoe isn't _enough_ violence? I only hope you're under surveillance by local law enforcement. You're a threat to public safety.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Sam

      i think the fact that he uses "is" in the wrong way and misspells every other word including "wheather" as a conglomeration of "weather" and "whether" is bad enough.

      June 10, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  8. memyselfnie

    A guy named Dollar, preaching prosperity gospel, and all cnn has come up with is a few thousand christian judges?
    No real comedians? Cause the material is not likely to get any better than this. Didn't catch the little girls name, it wasn't by any chance "Penny"?

    June 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  9. HFM17

    When will the morons of the world stop giving money to these self proclaimed, holier-than-thou fleecers of social security recipients? This hypocritical dirtbag just wants the money, nothing else. You would get more use out of paper money by using for toilet paper than to give it over to Creflow ' Gimme yo' Dollars....same for pat Robertson, Joel Osteen, etc....all of these charlatans are preying on the trailer park dwellers of America....because if a person had any brains, they could see through the charades of all of these self annointed clowns....no human being currently alive on this planet has any special magical or mystical powers, nor can they instantly dial up some deity and direct that deity's actions (should said deity even exist)....

    June 10, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • JWT

      Unfortunately some poeople feel the need – stuck at home or brainwashed into it. It's so sad.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  10. Cecil Nixxon

    Prosperity Gospel says it right there. Deceived! The only reason God might even want to bestow wealth on believers would be the expectation that every penny of it be spent on the poor. Creflo ought to hook up with my neigborhood MegaChurch Pastorette Joyce Meyers. They can exchange notes on how to funnel money from their flock and become rich, while at the same time conning their followers into believing that making Creflo and Joyce rich will somehow "trickle down" to them.

    It's the same old con game but with a different twist: God. That there Satan dude is pretty crafty, and sheep have higher intelligence than these "flocks." So sad.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • jbkorn02

      The whole religion is out to make money and start wars. People who blindly follow any faith are not very smart.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • jbkorn02

      Your God likes to keep his money himself it seems to build MEGACHURCHES. Even if a percentage of money these organized religions made went to the poor it still is nothing compared to how much they spend to have they're giant churches all nicd and shiny. Regular glass? NO WAY. They have to get the most expensive type out there and have designs put on each window. Take a look at the big Mormon church (not sure which state but its theyre big one) and there is no way you can tell me they are not out for money.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Blane

      Put aside whatever feelings you may have towards this guy's religion. At the end of the day, it is just a father disciplining his daughter.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  11. notbuyingitatall

    Fallen black hero number 4622.....

    June 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  12. mdc

    For someone who wanted to keep it a private family matter, he sure couldn't wait for Sunday morning to tell all of the congregation, hallelujia!

    June 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • trey

      Interesting. Is there an update on the topic of his today?

      June 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • trey

      ...what was his sermon topic today?

      June 10, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  13. opinion8it

    If the 15 year old daugher wanted to go to a party and get gang banged; it is her business.

    June 10, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Cecil Nixxon

      Nice. So violence is justified in order to protect the person being violated.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Krista

      Right.... because all gatherings of kids/teenagers end in 'gang bangs'. Gotta wonder about the kind of parties you participated in... but in any case, assault of a child is never 'discipline'. it's abuse.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  14. Lizzzie Borden

    Even his name is bogus. Bad dad!!!!

    June 10, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  15. spouse

    Lynn – it's very admirable that you support your pastor like this, but just a quick reminder, beating someone is still a crime (even if you're christian)

    June 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  16. Rick

    It's always the Christians who behave the worst

    June 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • nolongerarepublican

      "It's always Christians that behave the worst"
      Yeal, some famous ones include

      June 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  17. geckopelli

    One of god's con men beats his kid?
    Wow, what a surprise.
    Wonderful how "faith" allows deplorable behavior, whatever it's flavor.
    Bury this jerk.

    June 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • CHUCK

      Many Christians who truly follow the Bible, agree with you. Creflo Dollar is an embarrassment to almost any Christian I know, and no one I know follows his teachings. I wouldn't have expected this, though I know teens can be mind-blowingly hard to deal with, but he is NOT following scripture except for encouraging people to live debt-free. We are not all supposed to be rich; though money in and of itself is not evil– the LOVE of money is the Root of evil.

      June 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  18. lynn

    I feel she was trying to get her father where it hurt by calling the law on him to make him look bad as a mega pastor because she couldn't get her way. I'm sure she provoked him to anger to the point he layed hands on her for being disobedient..

    June 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • ott

      Come on , he preaches not to do such things , he preaches like he is a perfect guy . This is a good example , he is human .

      June 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • JWT

      If true that just makes him a complete idiot. Oh wait he already was one for runnign that kind of church.

      Ok it makes him a worthless father.

      June 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Creep

      He strangled her! Is that acceptable to you? The other child confirmed it. I don't care how late she was getting home or not getting home – nobody has the right to physcially harm, let alone, wrap their hands arounnd someones neck – do you think this will teach the child? do you think this is effective ?

      June 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Parent01

      You are what is wrong with this world if you think effecitve parenting involves strangling (so long as you are pushed to do it) What is wrong with you? Let us hope you have not added your genetic material to the human race.

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

      I'd love to hear your reasons for this. Because you're a Christian and you want to sweep any scandal under the rug? Are you running for Pope?

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

      the kid had no incentive to do this at all. Nobody wants to get choked. If you really want to punish this guy, stop going to his church. $18MM gold dome, this guy is a thief and child abuser, he is not a man of GOD, he is the devil in his deception.

      June 10, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • JD

      Always going to be someone trying to make an excuse for a pathetic human being, especially when religion is involved...because of course, all sins are forgivable each Sunday of the week....O religion, U so Funny...

      June 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • CHUCK

      Not okay to be abusive, and nowhere in Scripture do I see where that is allowed. She may HAVE pushed him hard, but he is the adult and the point is that he is supposed to practice the same self-control he teaches others, and expected her to have. Not easy raising teens, that's why Mark Twain said put them in a barrel and feed them through the bung-hole!

      June 10, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Krista

      Who's the child here? A parent should never lose control of a situation enough to be "provoked" to commit violence. The fact is that she had at least one visible injury and the other child in the house hold backed her up. Who do you expect to be the witness in situations like this? Whether or not the father was "provoked" does not excuse the fact that he physically _assaulted_ a child

      June 10, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  19. ott

    Now , the poor devil will get the blame .

    June 10, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • A Cortez

      Listening to people make snap decisions about someone they do not know personally confirms how stupid of decision it is judge a matter before hearing the evidence. The media is not to be trusted, but oh lord, p,ease let those who judge get exactly what your word says... Judged!

      Then please let it be publicized so they can bear the shame they so gladly throw onto someone else's name that they do not know...

      I guess it first starts with being jealous of this mans wealth... Lol. I'm praying he get another few jets.. I guess they know nothing of the few dozen 18 wheelers that truck food to the needy, the houses built in Haiti before the earthquake and the homes in brazil that have been built regularly in brazil. But they sure do find themselves full of judgement... Wow.

      I'd rather rock with creflodollar all day everyday... Because the works he does along With the partnership of the congregation... Is a blessing to those who do not have Internet access to spend their time slandering someone they don't know!!

      But once again, broke ass know it alls ... Hmmm no wonder they don't have money in the bank... Too busy spending their time here on these posts than to be working n a business plan and creating a life taking care of others!

      Guess it isn't a mystery why they have zero. Living check to check and hate anyone who has what they do not...

      Gotta love the haters....

      Rock on Pastor Dollar!!!!!!!

      June 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Krista

      Snap judgments? The kid had a confirmed injury (confirmed by police) and another child in the household was a witness. They charged him with multiple crimes. Trusting that the police know how to do their job is not a 'snap judgment'.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Satan

      Thank you for your sympathy.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  20. maggotfist

    Its not just a church,..its a @@@@@@@@********M E G A C H U R C H*************@@@@@@@@@!!!!!!!!

    June 10, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
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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.