June 10th, 2012
02:07 PM ET

Megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar on his daughter: 'She was not punched'

By Steve Almasy, CNN

Atlanta (CNN) - Telling thousands of parishioners that he should never have been arrested, Pastor Creflo Dollar said at his Sunday morning service he neither choked nor punched his 15-year-old daughter, as she claimed in a report to police.

Dollar, senior pastor of World Changers Church International in suburban Atlanta, told congregants in the sprawling megachurch and listening at one of more than a dozen satellite churches that when the facts of the case come out, they will be "appalled."

"The truth is, she was not choked. She was not punched," Dollar said.

On Friday, deputies responding to a 911 call photographed a scratch on the daughter's neck and arrested Dollar on charges of simple battery, family violence and child cruelty. Dollar said the mark on his daughter's neck is more than 10 years old, the result of eczema, a skin condition.

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"I want the church family to know that all is well in the Dollar household," he said, in his first public comments since spending more than 12 hours in jail. He immediately addressed the issue upon taking the pulpit Sunday, speaking for nearly eight minutes about the challenge of raising children and denying he had hurt to his daughter.

After Dollar told the crowd about the skin abrasion, one man yelled, "Case dismissed!"

Dollar's daughter said she argued with her father over attending a party, investigator Brent Rowan of the Fayette County Sheriff's Office told CNN on Friday.

Rowan said the daughter 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.

Deputies also spoke with another daughter, 19, who corroborated her sister's account of what happened.

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Dollar blamed the devil for causing the controversy, saying that to discredit his message of "prosperity gospel," the enemy must discredit the messenger.

Prosperity ministers preach that God rewards the faithful with wealth and spiritual gifts. Pastors such as T.D. Jakes, Dollar and Joel Osteen have become the Prosperity Gospel's most well known preachers, building megachurches and business empires with a message equating piety with prosperity.

Dollar's church claims about 30,000 members and has an $18 million, 8,500-seat sanctuary about 15 miles from downtown Atlanta.

Friday's incident was emotionally charged and escalated from an argument, Dollar said Sunday. But he never intended bodily harm to anyone, he assured the audience.

"I love her with all my heart," he said, shaking his head with conviction.

Creflo Dollar's Prosperity Gospel finds followers and critics

He cited a Bible verse from Psalms that talks about malicious witness against the good man, and evil men delighting when he stumbled.

He later, during his sermon, also joked about the arrest, saying that being a religious man sent to jail "upped my resume."

"Paul ... Jesus ... and Creflo," he said to a huge cheer.

The pastor, known for his pinstriped suits, laughed at being clothed in a yellow jumpsuit and sandals while being handcuffed and being held in a cell.

For most of the service, Dollar spoke of the people being "the righteousness of God by faith," the third in a series of sermons he prepared weeks ago, he said.

"No weapon that forms against you shall prosper," he reminded the audience, citing scripture.

At the end of the more than hourlong appearance, he said that he was persevering thanks to God's love.

"And we couldn't do it without the love of you brothers and sisters."

After the service, congregants declined to comment on Dollar's appearance.

Since he started his ministry in an elementary school cafeteria in 1986, Dollar has earned praise and criticism.

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," and say his message perverts the Gospel.

CNN's John Murgatroyd and John Blake contributed to this report.

- Producer/Writer

Filed under: Christianity • Church

soundoff (2,056 Responses)
  1. goodegyptian

    Two words: bad father.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  2. Tom

    chibidw all girls are liars.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  3. martyy

    He didn't say, "I didn't choke her". That says it all.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  4. God

    When you're preacher and your last name is DOLLAR you're not going to be very believable.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Mrs. A

      That"s goofy....

      June 11, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  5. thedude

    "Creflo?" I guess his mother was named Crisco and his father was named Afro.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  6. LEPsun

    I think we're all missing the point here... He's black.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • stwebb

      You lost me on your point...

      What's skin color got to do with this???

      There are tons of white pedophiles, but it has no bearing on this story...

      So let's put aside irrelevant notions!!!

      June 10, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Mark of Tennessee

      Lepsun idiots come in all races... You have just proven that!!!!

      June 11, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Mt.

      Color don't have anything to do with it!

      June 11, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Mrs. A

      You are a fool.... that's MY point!

      June 11, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Silent Majority

      C'mon people stop feeding the troll........

      June 13, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  7. you say what?

    This man, who loves his children, in essence is calling them both liars. Why would a national figure go an call his children liars? It is not this mans first run in with the law, and my guess is that it will not be his last. Has anyone ever heard of a preacher admit to sin... until it is caught on tape? Nope, they try using their so called ministry as a coverup. Hope he loses his girls for life.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Canopy

      He's identifying them now as liars so that when they come out later and spill the truth about life with him people will be less likely to believe them.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Mrs. A

      That's a stupid comment... you are immature. In a few years (hopefully when you grow up with SOME sense) you'll see how silly your comment was.

      June 11, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  8. KB

    I have a 3 year old daughter and it is scary how much power a teenage silly girl has in this country...all because of the past stupid abuse from crazy parents...sigh...

    June 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • yourlogicisflawed

      would you prefer that we automatically assume they're lying, and let children be beaten?

      June 10, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • say what??

      "a silly teenage girl". Really? That's all you think of them? It's the hardest times in their lives and they surely don't need some bully father pushing his rich butt around

      June 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • KOi

      Your Christian faith precedes you.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  9. mary

    I have a tendency to believe the pastor, the daughter sounds like a drama queen. I have known a few preachers' daughters displaying very similar tactics as a rebellion. Mosly it's showing off.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • sam stone

      yeah, not like pastors are given to excessive displays of drama

      June 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Ken

      You beileve this pastor based on what? Because he's behind the pulpit? Oh please... drama is what pastors are all about. Its all show and this guy has to save face now, because he's been found out.

      June 10, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • pam

      People like Dollar get away with abuse because others assume that because of their position that they must be trustworthy. A position of authority is one of the best ways to hide abuse.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Seriously?

      If he knows what really happened between himself and his daughter, tell me WHY does he HAVE to read from a PREPARED SCRIPT?! Watch his actions, CAREFULLY. He's lying.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • KOi

      Then why would both daughters lie? I'll speculate that he likely had inappropriate contact with them when they were younger....since we're speculating. Men that become preachers do so because they're trying to deal with their own demons.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Mrs. A

      Oh my gosh... all the comments on Mary's initial comment are SOOO goofy and idiotic. Mary > you're the only one with a legitimate comment. Sorry Mary... you got stuck with dummy's.

      June 11, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  10. nvmature

    Since none of us were there, we can only speculate from our favored seats.

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

    just pray for the family unit

    June 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • OTOH

      ... or wish upon a star for them - same outcome.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • sam stone

      i would rather hope next time she pulls out a 9mm

      June 10, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Same Same

      Yes, you can also cross your fingers for them, or knock on wood, or burn some incense, or gee, maybe even get a voodoo doll!

      June 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • KOi

      Pray for all....or none at all.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Kevin W. Clark

      take the spoils garnered from all your prayers in one hand and defecate in the other. Tell me: Which hand fills up first?

      June 11, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  12. Dan

    Her sister backed up her story.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  13. JLundy

    very refreshing to see a megachurch leader in trouble for something that did not involve young boys

    June 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • LEPsun

      Greatest post ever.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Mrs. A

      Ugh.... stupid post ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      June 11, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Silent Majority

      Greatest post ever.

      June 13, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  14. nolimits3333

    Science flies you to the moon.

    Religion flies you into buildings.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • sol

      Yeah, and

      Religion has turned ppl away from crime

      Science made the atom bomb.

      What's your point?

      June 10, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • KOi

      Religion was used to enslave people.
      Science was used to kill populations.

      All things have positive and negative traits dependent on the recipient of the message. The key to experiencing LIFE is not being swayed by things....find balance.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Silent Majority

      Religion almost wiped out the entire new world and has started countless wars, killings.

      June 13, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  15. Kirk Cameron

    Not many black people in the bible. Docile uncle toms.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • The other shoe drops...

      In the Bible, Ham looked at his father naked, and God turned him black to punish him. And that is where black people came from.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • satanlovesvulva

      All the characters in the bible are Black!

      June 10, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
  16. tallulah13

    This is from the original article on this story:

    "Deputies also spoke with another daughter, 19, who corroborated her sister's account of what happened."

    So either both daughters are lying, or this man is. Either way, something is up that makes these sisters stand together against their father.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • KOi

      I would speculate that he had inappropriate relations with them and this they saw as an outlet.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  17. Claire

    Imagine if that 18 million was invested in the community.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Bryan

      Imagine if our elected officials weren't wasting all the money we pay in taxes and were actually using it to invest in our communities, rather than giving it to those generational welfare recipients...

      June 10, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  18. Sudhir Kumar

    If he doesn't do this now. She will be few guys baby's moma by the time she is 18.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Or because of this, she will seek affection outside the family and become pregnant.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  19. MadMoh

    Why didn't she kick him in the nuts, set his hair on fire and poisoned his dog?

    June 10, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • you say what?

      a man who hits a young girl has no nuts, and setting his greasy hair on fire would have killed them all.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  20. chibidw

    On the one hand, it's not a surprise for an ultraconservative pastor to do exactly what they preach not to do.

    On the other hand, teenage girls are liars.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:17 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.