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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. Burbank

    "Praise the Lord and send me money!" With a name like Dollar what would you expect? I guess he doesn't practice what he preaches, that's for sure!

    June 8, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  2. Drew

    Most of the people on here supporting this man would not be supporting him if he weren't a pastor. F***ing sheep

    June 8, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  3. Antireligion

    Guess he's going to hell!
    Oh no, wait – on sunday he'll be forgiven and every bible thumper put there will try to turn the story around and blame it on the child.
    Real men don't intimidate or harm a child. I hope they stop showing his crap program on sunday tv! Lock his ass up – as they would do to another man who did the same.
    For those that make excuses for his behavior- you'll be going to hell with him too! We'll that 's if the damn place exists – and I guess in religious minds it does.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • BRANTICUS

      I bet you're licking your chops on this one liberal media.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  4. CJA

    This shouldn't harm is business in any way. His customers are not exactly capable of independent critical thinking.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • just sayin

      Sheep for Jesus rarely are...lol

      June 8, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  5. Bill C

    CNN will leave no stone unturned in its efforts to disparage religion.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Joe B-b-b-b-bob

      Yes, of course, this is all made up, just like all the other megachurch pastor scandals. The biggest scandal is their greed and exploitation of - indeed, preying upon - people in need of guidance.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Kevin

      CNN doesn't have to disparage religion. As this story clearly shows, religion tends to disparage itself.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      If they can't stand up to criticism, what good are your beliefs?

      June 8, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Primewonk

      CNN isn't disparaging religion. It's reporting on ignorant fundamentalist îdiot theists. It's your own fault.

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

      I'm glad about that. It's about time all these blind sheep woke up to the fact that these Emperors have no clothes!

      June 8, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Parfin Woodell

      Hey stoopid, if you dont do bad things you wont end up in the news.
      You too stoopid to unnerstand dat ?
      Yup.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  6. wow

    also ... five thousand dollars? that is shameful. he probably has that much in his pocket. and since his bail is $5,000, i think that means he has to only put up $500, right? that is absolutely ridiculous. but as part of the article implies, apparently dollar owns the justice in his hometown. wrong, wrong, wrong. and in the name of god? it's things like this that keep people like me from participating in any organized religions.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  7. Devon Dixon

    Now I am certainly not defending his actions; maybe he did go a little too far and one should never discipline a child when angry. But for those who seek to use this to judge the man and to argue against the biblical principle of "spare the rod and spoil the child", listen I am from NY and i've seen police officers backed by the law put some beating on our young people [male and female] whom I am certain, if their parents had beaten some sense into them [again I'm not advocating physical abuse THERE IS A PROPER WAY TO DISCIPLINE YOUNG PEOPLE] they'd stay out of trouble. I'd rather be beaten by my parents as a strong-headed child than to be beaten by law enforcement officers. There is a hypocrisy in our society!

    June 8, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      My parents never laid a finger on me and I've never been in trouble with the police (aside from the random speeding ticket).

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

      it'd be really cool if 'beating' had absolutely nothing to do with nurturing child-rearing.

      so he's an evangelist; that doesn't make him jesus – or Mayhem Miller. so his teenage daughter wants to go out and do some fun things that her friends are doing. big deal; let her be a teen. do you not have enough faith that you raised her well enough that she can make good decisions, even at a party you don't want her at?

      apparently 'cash-flow' hasn't learned that the more you try to dictate to a child, the less respect and cooperation you have from them. you cann't make up for that by beating them.

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

      i'd better clarify, because all i know of jason "mayhem" miller is the Bully Beatdown show (which i absolutely applaud and adore). i was not implying that Mayhem beats women or children, and i'd surely like to hear that he doesn't. his name reference was simply "somebody who can kick your A55 without breaking a sweat ...

      June 8, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Kevin

      I've never hit my kids and they are very respectful. I treat them like people and not property. Hitting your kids is no different than hitting your wife. It's assault and should result in criminal charges and loss of family.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • just sayin

      If you have to beat your child then you have failed properly communicating and failed as a parent. A parent takes a swing at their child because they are simply lacking and stupid.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Joe B-b-b-b-bob

      Yes, there is a hypocrisy (actually many) in our society. One of them being why kids aren't allowed to beat their parents (or the police) when they're doing stupid stuff. There's a whole lot of adults need some sense beaten into 'em.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Derigible

      spare the rod and spoil the child........
      Is not in the bible.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  8. Su Lynn

    Just brings to mind "a fool and its money are soon parted" and 30,000+ members are living proof!

    June 8, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  9. Joe B-b-b-b-bob

    Always thought this dude was more motherfuyer than holy man.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  10. wow

    i've caught his tv show before, and usually are unimpressed by these snake charmers. it always bothered me that his name was 'dollar' because i feel that church shouldn't be about making money (even though there is nothing wrong with being rich: rich people can do a lot of good with all that money). i thought 'why doesn't he change his name to get a better message across'? not realizing that apparently he already had done so.

    i send prayers of strength for his daughters and i didn't read far enough to know if he has a wife at home, but if so, she probably needs some prayers, too.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  11. Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

    This is a man who makes a fortune preying on the weak and little-old ladies. He should be in jail anyway.

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

      "praying" on the weak and elderly, i'd say ... never had a double-meaning been more valid.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Joe B-b-b-b-bob

      Hey Jacques Strappe, you seem a little uptight. Try hangin' loose.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  12. Drew

    It's funny, for all you Christians decry humanism, secular humanists rarely pull this garbage

    June 8, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  13. bbrooker88

    With a name like Creflo Dollar what else could you be but a Megachurch pastor??

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

      At first i thought it was cleefis, i had to read it again.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  14. Barry G.

    Jesus said: It would be better to have a millstone tied around a person's neck and for them to be thrown into the sea, than for them to cause one of these little ones to stumble.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Judas Priest

      Sure, but what do these preachers care about what Jesus said?

      June 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  15. nolimits3333

    Science flies you to the moon.

    Religion flies you into buildings.

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

      #TRUTH

      June 8, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Judas Priest

      #WILLFULLYBLIND

      June 8, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  16. Vartan

    @Just saying – you ain't saying nothing... people behave this way, christian, jew, muslim, aetheist... the whole lot. You christ-haters are ridiculously stupid with your remarks.

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

      Really the ONLY special thing about Christianity is that Jesus preached love. If you Christians can't even adhere to that teaching, what good are you?

      June 8, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Kevin

      I don't hate Christ. I think he was a good man who tried to make a better world. I hate Christian hypocracy, which is rampant in EVERY organized Christian church.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • pastafaria

      Aetheists (sic) do not try and force the rest of the world to pattern their lives around the teachings of a book written two thousand years ago (which doesn't contain a single verifiable fact, by the way) that, among other things, condemns violence. Judaism parallels christianity in some ways, but Jews are generally not judgemental, especially towards those outside their faith. So if you don't want your religion to be made an issue when something like this happens, then stop cramming it down the throats of the rest of us and maybe we'll start cutting you a little slack. By the way, "you ain't saying nothing" means that the person who you responding to did say something. It's called a double negative. Something you'd know if you hadn't been educated in a one room classroom somewhere in Appalachia that doubled as your town's communal outhouse.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Derigible

      Did you get your magic undies in a knot ?
      Ooops, sorry thats the Morons.
      Never mind.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  17. IslandAtheist

    He'll be back to selling snake oil in no time.

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

      Honestly, the whole megachurch thing doesn't seem much better than scientology

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

      Fast food religion.
      Drive up : 2 sins or less.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  18. just sayin

    Christian behaving as usual

    June 8, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  19. Billy

    Probably had some of Zachary Tim's crack in his system!

    June 8, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • JOE

      BIEBER WOULD NOT APROVE.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Harriet

      Clearly, you don't know what you're talking about. Not on that level at all. This is truly sad because when you raise your children with loving devotion, you do not expect them to react in certain ways. Evil is real, and can catch anyone on a bad day. I pray he is comforted that he trained her right and she may stray but she will come to her right mind!

      June 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Judas Priest

      @ Harriet:
      It's less about her straying than her loving father going completely donkey kong all over her. Pray instead for the soul of this berserk false shepherd, that he may get some good, competent help, honestly repent, and give up his life of fleecing the gullible and pretending to be a spiritually advanced human.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • wow

      @Harriet
      "Clearly, you don't know what you're talking about. Not on that level at all. This is truly sad because when you raise your children with loving devotion, you do not expect them to react in certain ways. Evil is real, and can catch anyone on a bad day. I pray he is comforted that he trained her right and she may stray but she will come to her right mind!"

      it seems to me that if he did in fact raise hils children with loving devotion and would therefore have reason to expect them to react in certain ways, then he should have given her the ultimate parental respect – trust – and let her go out and prove to him and herself that she is a good person capable of making right decisions.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Kada

      Seriously, the LATE Zach Tims came to your thoughts? How about praying for Zach Tims family and CHILDREN...smh

      June 8, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  20. Bill

    Anyone that believes any good thing about this imposter needs to examine themselves in a serious way. This man ,like 99% of TV imposters are worse than any crimnal that is presently serving time in prison.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:30 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.