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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. 2 say it happened!

    Had the older daughter not came forward I would be skeptical of these allegations. IMO he is guilty, In my family. we have some super religious folks who won't let there children watch or listen to NOTHIN but the word. But how does that effect the kids when they growing up in public school system? All kids want to fit in with their peers so if u strap them down eventually they will rebel. All that do as I say cuz I said it don't work in reality. Once u out the picture the kids will do what they want. Instill in them MORAL VALUES & RESPECT. The only way u get respect is if u give it, NO MATTER WHO U ARE TO THEM!

    June 11, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  2. DORIS CLARK

    I AM THE MOTHER OF SIX CHILDREN AGE FROM 41 TO 28.THE ONLY REASON I AM MAD WITH MR DOLLAR .IS HE LET HER CALL 911.

    June 11, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Yeah, if he'd only hit her a little HARDER or CHOKED her a little stronger, she would have been unconscious and unable to dial.

      June 11, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Doris: What he did was abuse, not discipline and if you think he was right, you need to take a parenting course and find out other ways to discipline children that works. You should not be allowed near children or left alone with them until you have taken the course and taken an anger management program. Anyone who lays a hand on a child has no place near children.

      June 11, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • sam stone

      Hopefully, next time the big man decides to beat a little girl, she pulls out a weapon and arranges a meeting between him and Jesus

      June 12, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • JWT

      Your poor poor children.

      June 12, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  3. DORIS CLARK

    I AM THE MOTHER OF SIX CHILDREN AGE FROM 41 TO 28.THE ONLY REASON I AM MAD WITH MR DOLLAR .IS HE LET HER CALL 911.

    June 11, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • JWT

      How sad to be you.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  4. Rev. Seymour Hylton

    Did you notice this modern day hypocrite comparing himself to Paul and Peter? First neither of these Apostles ever did beat-up anyone in or out of their family. Second of all these men were persecuted for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ .
    If the story is true, the police call his charge Child Abuse. Congregation wake up there is plenty of CREFLO DOLLAR AND EDDIE LONG IN OUR CHURCHES. Let us pray for them and stop treating them as if they are God Almighty, ENOUGH!

    June 11, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  5. DT

    Hint: When your megachurch "pastor" lives in a megamansion, you might be a fool to believe his motives are all about God.

    I believe the daughter's allegations, and she should receive support unless and until she is proved untrustworthy. Shame on all the blind followers. I can't stand all these evangelical leaders who brainwash their "lambs" of God. Such fools...

    June 11, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  6. bob

    tax the megachurches, tax the h3ll out of them

    June 11, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  7. Happyperson

    Abuse is wrong, but you rather let the police beat them to death, then I telling my child to stay home. Children need to stay in children place. When you think you're grown and start pating some bills, then you can go as you please. But for me in my house, will abide by my rules.

    June 11, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • JWT

      Any of your rules – no matter how wrong ?>

      June 11, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  8. A loving parent

    I don't care what a parent do in their adult life, they have to answer for there mistakes, and your children are to respect you at all times...You do not know what is going on in his home. If he told her to stay home...... that is what she was suppose to do. Kids these days think they are grown and can come and go as they please. The government should let parents be parents as long as they are not killing there child let them be the parent............. If he did what they say he did; that is going a little far. We were not there so we are getting it second hand. It may be true and it may not. (and this is coming from a person who do not support his church)

    June 11, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • JWT

      I trust that your children ended up in foster care !

      June 11, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  9. Doug

    I just have to say... holy balls, there are some messed up people that fanatically support this clown. A dollar sent to the church is a dollar wasted on a Rolls Royce you will never drive, but you can watch your pastor arrive in.

    Flippin' psychos!

    June 11, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  10. Iris

    Who knows what really happened. It's all allegations. I do know that there appears to be nothing terribly pressing in this man's criminal record that makes me fear for his kids. I know what domestic abuse is from the inside out. I'm not saying this kid didn't experience it, I'm just saying that with the minimal evidence that has been presented in this case, this may well be the case of a teen who didn't like the strict rules at home and made mountains out of mohills. I have a fourteen soon to be fifteen year old daughter. It can be a hard age in a strict Christian home. None of us will ever know exactly what's up with Mr. Dollar and his family, but I see a lot of judgemental statements and very little critical thought....just judgement.

    June 11, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Linda

      Call Jackson and Al they will get to the bottom of it!!! Oh they are just like him and they will help cover it up becuase it is black on black.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  11. Robert

    Just another greedy man, fleecing the ignorant for his own personal gain. They say a fool and his money are soon separated. Well there's no bigger fool than a mega church attendee.

    June 11, 2012 at 7:08 am |
  12. maria

    I pray to the lord of mighty .for his precence to bring peace to the family and united .creflo dollar.and I pray that the lord for give Dollar’s daughter
    .to report this incidents .as you know pastor Dollar that we living the last day and the time is near .so the devil has use your daughter .to be against you to damage your name .the devil is a lier he look for anything to blame and bring a embarrassment to the public about a man of God like you I pray that the lord have hes way in Jesus name

    June 11, 2012 at 5:12 am |
    • Robert

      So the devil is the innocent child and not the man with his hands around her throat?
      Is there anything you can't delude yourself into believing?

      June 11, 2012 at 7:10 am |
    • chipndale

      You are a mentally disturbed lemming. Jim Jones sends his regards.

      June 11, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • yvonne

      the devil has not use his daughter , he is a man not God . you dont live in the house so you dont no what happen . he not God ,so stop making his daughter the bad one.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  13. Denver

    Hey, black man first. Then Christian and pastor. And, oh yes, DOCTOR.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:06 am |
  14. Marshall

    Paster Dollar, like so many Mega-Preachers before him long ago began believing all the wonderful things about himself those around him were saying. He may have forgotten who he is. Jesus urged those with wealth to give it to the poor and urged the poor to trust in God and to go forward in that trust and belief.
    I am a Christian man. My wife and I reared 4 children. We never beat them, or abused them at all and they are all good citizens and humble Christians. Perhaps for a moment during his turbulent time with his daughter , one could say about Pastor Dollar...... "Jesus has left the building". Nevertheless, if he is called of God, then he is Gods man and God will see to it.

    June 10, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  15. C. Dasilva

    I agree with Mr. Dollar and his parental concern for his daughter however the fact remain that this man time and time again goes against the commandments of God. This is the problem with society today as they blatanly forget to "remember" the Sabbath of the Lord for the counterfit Roman sabbath. His concern for His daughter in such case should be the same concern of every parent. Had she been taught from the sure Word of God to keep His commandment, she would not have wanted to attend a party or any party for that matter for she`d know that friday at 1am is in fact already the Sabbath of The Creator God. I know someone will come with all kinds of acrobatics to try to desecrate this biblically easy to prove FACT and this is indeed sad. I pray that this man come to repent today so he doesn`t have to hear from the lips of the Lord ..."Depart from me for never knew you.."

    June 10, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Ms. J

      Do you really think the Sabbath had anything to do with this situation??? Maybe you need to STUDY Col. 2:16 which says and I quote "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:". EVERY day is holy unto the Lord. Sabbath means rest and our rest is in Jesus every day, 24/7 not just one day that begins at 1 a.m.!!

      June 11, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  16. Tmh528

    I just want to say that despite Creflo Dollar's name, he is not a "prosperity preacher". He does not spend his surmons holding his hand out, he has and will always be a invaluable man of God. Furthermore if he chooses to discipline his daughter no one except the mother should have a bit of input on the matter!

    June 10, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • Richard

      The Holy Spirit did it.

      June 11, 2012 at 4:42 am |
    • Robert

      So in your world, choking and punching are "discipline"?
      I always knew that christianity attracted a special kind of ignorance but quite frankly, some of you people are down right scary. I fear there's a far greater threat to America than radical Islam, and that's fundimentalist christians.

      June 11, 2012 at 7:13 am |
    • chipndale

      Choking and beating your children. Such a display of mercy!

      June 11, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  17. Jacob

    Dear all,i wish to say the following;Any time you strictly stand for God in regard to anything,you are in for attachs from any corner primarily from the enemy,persons very close to you,family,friends and the world.Iam the most strongest supporter of this dear brother called Pst.Creflor Dollar.He is a darling to me.If only we could have a bunch of Dollars around,the Christian church would be much stronger in the knowledge of God through Christ Jesus.Iam very proud of you brother,i can only keep you lifted up before the Lord to grow much more and more stronger in the Faith of the Lord God of heaven and earth.

    Regarding this case,i will say this;evidently a 15 yr old girl is ofcourse mature enough to make the right decisions when it comes to simple things about going to a party.It does not matter what time or where,it simply matters that even if the party was called by an angel in church,it is common sense that she should apply right judgement that her father loves her beyond the partys' love for her and that the father is for the best no matter what!!This daughter would have shown respect for the greatest man figure in her life for now when she is legally under age.I was not there but iam convinced that she called the police not because she was choked/punched,but she got mad all of a sudden simply because she was denied permission to go where she demanded to go.My prayer for her is this,may the Lord tenderize her young heart and mind,to love and cherish her dad,understand how to minister to him by making him happy in listening to all of his instructions even when it hurts.That way she has the parents commanded blessing as promised in the 5th commandment.If obeying right now is too hard for her,hey,big deal,wait patiently for less than 2 yrs and be 18yrs old so you can 'claim' your 'rights' to go anywhere you please at any time as you please.My question to you oh young girl,"Why do you have to attempt ashaming such a respectable man of God?"Would you be humble enough to realize that you have some deep pride issues inside of you?And would you humbly repent and agree to move forward?Thats your only way forwards which i dearly pray that God will help you embrace.We would love to see you take after your dear parents.You do not call police to punish ot scare your parents to subdue them unto quickly letting you do what you demand to do dear sister,just be humble.I encourage you right now,iam so sad and crying after reading this piece of disturbing news.Even if you do not agree with your dad regarding afew issues in your life now,just flow with it darling,you may suffer some'temporary' frustrations but not for ever!Do not touch the annointed of the Lord like this.This man of God has so much budden and lots of asignments on his plate such that you need to be his 'helper' at your age right now,praying for and with him,being on his feet asking him for teachings and advise because he is a total success in this life.Young darling,please understand that you live 98% way above all the 15yr olds in the whole glope.Remember you are way above interms of wealth and access,great parents,great church fellowship and the righful exposure.Please trend slowly and carefully consulting with your parents,making them a second god for your life Jesus being your first God.The truth is,Jesus was not calling you to go to this doomed party that you fought your dad for.I believe that party was not ordained for you.I do not want to judge that party but even if it was a good safe party,at this time,God had not ordained it for you and so you w'd have gone in the wrong place and who knows.The pointer is,Your day did not agree with it,and he is your god in biblical terms.That would only apply if you really want to go an extra step with the Lord.God will never over rule your parents ok,He works with them and through them for your benefit.I kindly call upon you to repent to God, apologize to your parents,the church family and to the police for causing them unnecessary waste of resources running all the way to try to solve problems that you can solve yourself by just alittle action of obedience to God.Please,understand me,you are an important girl,ordained and destined for the greatest darling.I pray for heart that you be healed of this mess and move forward as fast as possible pushing this behind.Do not let the enemy use it to toture you at all darling.I believe you know what to do.Iam praying for you dear,i love you and finally all is well with you.Amen.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • chipndale

      Jim Jones wants his type writer back.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  18. Mimi Miami

    Is it just me or is there an awful lot of anger and marginal literacy in many of these comments? It is obvious that Dr. Dollar disciplined his daughter. What parent wouldn't take a stand if their 15 year daughter demanded to leave the house at 1a.m.? It's dangerous for a young teen to leave the house at that hour. If you restrain your child for his/her safety, you should not be arrested. Any parent who doesn't take a stand is leaving their child vulnerable to a tragic outcome.

    This arrest was unnecessary. People who restrain or discipline their children are not abusers. Christians who follow the Biblical instruction to discipline their children are not "ultra-conservative" or "right-wing conspirators." Experienced parents know it sometimes takes confrontation to get children in line.

    June 10, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So you equate 'discipline' with "choking"? Thanks for playing, dumbazz.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I was withholding judgment and giving him every chance to act in the right way on this issue. When he brought it into the pulpit, despite his comments about it being an internal "family matter" yesterday, and when he bragged on his time in jail and compared his imprisonment to Jesus' and Paul's, I lost every bit of respect for him.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Richard

      Christians who follow the Biblical instruction to discipline their children are not "ultra-conservative" or "right-wing conspirators."

      Maybe, maybe not....But choking a child and slamming her to the floor, as confirmed by an adult witness, is generally classed as child abuse.

      June 11, 2012 at 4:45 am |
    • chipndale

      Restraint through chocking and shoes. The new black.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:03 am |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    June 10, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Richard

      I'm still waithing for the headlines about athiest leaders molesting children and having multiple affairs.

      June 11, 2012 at 4:47 am |
  20. Robin Foster

    Maybe he can send his daughter to victory christian academy and offer her time in a psych ward and drugs like lithium. They're all the same.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • GauisCaesar

      Comparing Lithium to a christian academy? Wow, don't call you fair at all. I bet you are liberal. Those are the only ones that can call someone closed-minded for not considering a world without God while you insult those people at the same time!

      June 10, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Robert

      Gauis, Is it really that much easier to dismiss someone after you label them? I guess it's just laziness that motivates you to say liberal instead of offering a rebuttal.

      June 11, 2012 at 7:20 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.