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. Bootyfunk

    see if i can guess what happened...

    his daughter wanted to go to a party or whatever. daddy said 'no'. they argued. he punched and choked her. it wasn't the first time either. the cops got called. daddy got taken to jail. he made bail very very quickly. he spoke to his daughter and told her he was 'sorry'. he begged her to change her story. after all, think of how bad it would be if she didn't change her story. she would destroy not only the family, but the faith of thousands. and of course, he didn't mean to hurt her and won't ever do it again. 'please, baby, you know daddy loves you. now tell the cops it was just a mistake."

    sound about right?

    June 11, 2012 at 3:59 am |
    • robieez

      –baby you know daddy is just under a lot of pressure these days–now c'mon tell the policeman it was all a mistake–remember we're going to europe at the end of the summer and i'm buyimg you that Mercedes you wanted-remember?see daddy loves you,but you know how grown folks is--tell the policeman baby....Part 2 to come....Copelan,jakes,long,Dollar and Myers caught in a gay nightclub...Tafffi pole dancing? Graham junior...mc in the club???.....

      June 11, 2012 at 4:24 am |
    • mema

      The only thing that sounds about right is that she is 15 and wanted to go out at 1 am. And that after enduring being beat and hit with a shoe and being choked and thrown down by a grown man mind you she had only a scratch. Sound like sbe didnt get her way is more like it.

      June 11, 2012 at 4:31 am |
    • nope


      June 11, 2012 at 4:41 am |
    • John

      For a child cruelty charge, I doubt they'd let him anywhere near her until the court date.

      June 11, 2012 at 5:18 am |
  2. Richard

    He doesn't seem to take his daughter seriously, making a joke about it and acting like everything in the family is ok... why should anyone think he takes God seriously?

    June 11, 2012 at 3:58 am |
    • sam stone

      Because God is his cash cow

      June 11, 2012 at 7:27 am |
  3. fred

    As quoted from the movie Robocop: "I'll buy that for a dollar!!"

    Preaching the "Prosperity Gospel" – sure, that make sense. Especially after Christ said it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.

    June 11, 2012 at 3:54 am |
  4. Brandi

    He has the money and power to get off..I'm sure his lawyers have already handled it..

    June 11, 2012 at 3:39 am |
  5. josh rogen

    my guess is since his job is deceiving people, he's lying

    June 11, 2012 at 3:38 am |
  6. libsLIE

    In the days following The Sun editorial, several similar incidents were reported, some on video.

    While the editorial was still in the news stands, two groups of high school students left their bus in the Inner Harbor and beat a white person.

    “The 19-year-old victim was white and the attackers were all juvenile black males,” the paper grudgingly reported.

    It was just on May 18 when McDonough had called a news conference about the issue he had raised to Gov. Martin O’Malley “requesting the possible assistance of the Maryland State Police to work with the Baltimore City Police Department in order to prevent the consistent and dangerous attacks upon citizens by roving mobs of black youths. St. Patrick’s Day witnessed another out-of-control incident involving hundreds of young people in a mob-like posture, fighting among themselves, and attacking innocent tourists and visitors to the Harbor Area.”

    June 11, 2012 at 3:03 am |
    • Answer

      Let everyone know when your garbage ends.

      June 11, 2012 at 3:04 am |
  7. libsLIE

    “They should tell us,” said McDonough. “In the days before and after this editorial, the Sun has run articles referring to race more than 100 times. There were stories about black homesteaders, black ministers, blacks and illegal immigration, blacks and schools, blacks and gay rights, black tennis stars, blacks in the 1940 census, black school children, black criminal suspects, black criminal victims. The list goes on and on. All from the paper that pleads with us to ignore race. I’m confused. Do we ignore race or not?

    “Or is it sometimes yes and sometimes no?” he said.

    “If you pay attention to race are you a bigot or enlightened? These big city newspapers writers are just too bright for me.”

    McDonough’s supporters in and out of Baltimore noticed that despite the name-calling, no one questioned his facts.

    In the days following The Sun editorial, several similar incidents were reported, some on video.

    June 11, 2012 at 3:02 am |
  8. libsLIE

    Which is what the black columnist for the Inquirer said just a months before. No matter: The governor, mayor, elected officials and the media lined up to blast McDonough.

    “Race-baiting,” said a fellow legislator.

    “Racially charged publicity stunt,” said a spokesman for the mayor.

    The governor “dismissed” McDonough because crime was down.

    The former head of the NAACP in Baltimore said McDonough was guilty of bigotry.

    The editorial writers of the Baltimore Sun dutifully heaped on the scorn: “Bluster … Bombast … Bloviating,” they called it. “Why is the race of those involved in criminal behavior pertinent?,” they asked McDonough.

    Fair question, McDonough said.

    June 11, 2012 at 3:01 am |
    • Answer


      June 11, 2012 at 3:01 am |
  9. libsLIE

    In the spring of 2012, McDonough and his wife saw it for themselves while visiting the Inner Harbor for a charity dinner: Hundreds of people marauding through the streets, fighting, wreaking havoc.

    With not a cop in sight, the McDonoughs noticed the rioters were black.

    A few weeks later McDonough issued a press release, calling for the mayor and governor to declare a “No-Travel” zone in the area because it was not safe. The headline on his press release read: “Black Youth Mobs Terrorize Baltimore on Holidays.”

    June 11, 2012 at 3:00 am |
  10. libsLIE

    One hundred miles down the road, mob violence at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor may have been less manic and less reported, but it was at least as widespread.

    Most famously, on St. Patrick’s Day 2012, a group of black people beat and stripped and mocked a drunken tourist. Videos they posted went viral.

    Police officials said the incident was small and limited. The Baltimore Sun would later release a study showing the violence was far greater and more widespread than city officials reported.

    As to the race of the criminals in this and other incidents? That’s not something reporters in Baltimore wonder about.

    June 11, 2012 at 2:58 am |
  11. libsLIE

    Nutter was “Disgusted by the mobs of African American youths who have been terrorizing folks in City Center lately, he gave the black community a good old-fashioned whipping,” said Annette John Hall, columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

    The tough love had weak results: Violence continued – as did the local media’s willingness to ignore its racial component.

    June 11, 2012 at 2:57 am |
  12. libsLIE

    Let’s start with Philadelphia: For three years, the black mayor, Michael Nutter, said race had nothing to do with the dozens of violent episodes of black people marauding through older neighborhoods, stealing, beating and destroying property.

    “There is no racial component to stupid behavior,” Nutter told the New York Times in one of the few stories to even raise the topic – if only to dismiss it.

    Despite their denials, the violence continued. Sometimes daily. Injuries mounted. So did the explicit videos on YouTube and pressure to confront the obvious.

    June 11, 2012 at 2:55 am |
    • Answer

      So you want to blame someone for you being so miserable in this life. Gotcha.

      Just sit in your corner and stew over your misery because we love it when you are miserable. XD

      June 11, 2012 at 2:58 am |
  13. Mike H

    "Paul ... Jesus ... and Creflo." To a huge cheer? Really? Too bad the folks of the congregation aren't wise enough to go find a REAL church that talks about the REAL message of the Bible....

    June 11, 2012 at 2:54 am |
    • Answer

      More nut talk again?

      REAL? TRUTH? You bunch of clowns wouldn't know 'real' nor truth' even if a truck of truth or real hit you.

      June 11, 2012 at 2:56 am |
    • James

      Worshipping the "almighty dollar"!!

      June 11, 2012 at 3:45 am |
    • James

      Paul–Jesus–creflo?? MAN, TALK ABOUT AN EGO TRIP!!

      June 11, 2012 at 3:53 am |
    • Nidal

      Hello, My daughter Stephanie took some protsripcien drugs, I was told, and died in her sleep. Her birthday is tomorrow. I just saw on channel WGN a message to parents to watch out for their protsripcien drugs from Partnership at Drugfree.org. I had seen it before but did not know what it meant. I grew up in the 70 s and had know idea about perscription drugs. The message needs to be more clear. Please add Prescription drug abuse is of critical concern in the Commonwealth, devastating families and communities and killing more people than car crashes each year. I can tell my story. It must be why it happened. Please let me know how I can be involved. Sincerely, Lauren Brennan

      July 29, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  14. libsLIE

    By Colin Flaherty

    Let’s say thousands of people riot in your upscale downtown neighborhood. And it happens a few dozen times in just a few years: Not just partying, but violence, destruction, theft and serious injuries.

    Question: If people notice that most of the criminals were black and most of the victims were white, does that make them racist?

    Depends. In Philadelphia, it makes you a hero. In Baltimore, a bigot.

    June 11, 2012 at 2:52 am |
  15. libsLIE

    Let’s say thousands of people riot in your upscale downtown neighborhood. And it happens a few dozen times in just a few years: Not just partying, but violence, destruction, theft and serious injuries.

    Ads by Googlevente-privee Sweepstakes
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    http://www.instantcheckmate.comMuch of it on YouTube.

    Question: If people notice that most of the criminals were black and most of the victims were white, does that make them racist?

    Depends. In Philadelphia, it makes you a hero. In Baltimore, a bigot.

    June 11, 2012 at 2:50 am |
  16. Charles

    God is real and so is His teachings. It does not mean that everyone who is called by His name follows, or at times misguided , or even at times prove to be corrupt. It does not mean some will fall or fall on hard times. If you stand too long in the Sun and get burned, it does not mean any less that it gives off light and gives forth life. Everything is weighed by the sincerity of the believer and their faith. Now many of those that don't believe, yet they-often demand Society to owe them everything according to lack there of. This is one man, maybe right or wrong depending on truth. Fraud or Brother it shall brought to due Light and process. Yet it does not lessen or will not ever decrease the power of the living God.

    June 11, 2012 at 2:29 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      no such thing as god.


      June 11, 2012 at 2:33 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Anyone claiming to know for sure that god is real is a liar.

      June 11, 2012 at 4:49 am |
    • sam stone

      TruthPrevails: Now, be fair. They could be delusional rather than lying

      June 11, 2012 at 5:56 am |
  17. Mudman

    I have a feeling this isn't the 1st time he beat her

    June 11, 2012 at 2:17 am |
  18. Thade76

    I did not choke her but I did punch her with my bare fists. Well that makes it all better.

    June 11, 2012 at 1:53 am |
    • John

      It's the tough love beat down for having lower than average grades, crying when grounded for it, and then asking to go do something fun with her friends during the summer. She's not a person to him, she's a show peice that either performs well, or she'll get beat into submission until she does.

      June 11, 2012 at 2:00 am |
  19. Karin

    Unbelievable how he's excusing himself. Abusers always blame someone else. The Devil. The Child. The Spouse.

    June 11, 2012 at 1:45 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      yeah, that mark on her neck the police found was from a rash. suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuure it was...

      June 11, 2012 at 2:34 am |
  20. bezerkur

    False prophet and a hood rat ho. What you guys dont have real news to report about?

    June 11, 2012 at 1:38 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.