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. The meek...

    Another fine "man of the cloth".

    June 11, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • John

      I would replace "fine" with "horrible" in that he beat his crying daughter for being less intelligent than the average child there at her school, when she complained about being grounded because of it and wanted to be with her friends to have some fun during the summer at a party she was invited to.

      He is a monster.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:34 am |
  2. Michael01

    What I find appalling about Mr Dollar rather straight face call the word his 19yo Christan daughter that witness the beating a lie and the word of the 15yo Christan daughter that took the beating a lie too, This sounds like Mr Dollar would like his daughters be arrested for giving a false police report ,and maybe lieing under oath and re-change their stores just to fit his lie before God. I hope his daughters don't use Jesus to hide behind in a court of law like their dad dose in his church.

    June 11, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • AB207

      Michael...you are so sad so sad, were you in the house when everything went down? Huh?, I am waiting? Oh, I think you are getting your information from the same source that we all got our information from, THHHHHE news media...hello, that says it all!

      June 11, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Evelyn

      Have you ever been to school? What is re-change? You seem to have strong feelings about this incident but way off in articulating them. The truth will come out, but not from the media.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  3. brian

    I so gald to see that nobody questions the legitimacy of a 15 yr old claims. Because teenagers never lie or embelish the truth to get what they want.

    June 11, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • AB207

      Exactly Brian, most of them on this issue only condemn Mr. Dollar, which only shows hatred! B/C none of us were in the Dollar household, we can only go by what the news media said, and most times the news media add juice to make the story worth reading.

      June 11, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • usarmyoverlord

      I'll give Creflo the benefit of the doubt until some hard evidence comes out.

      June 11, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  4. PoBoy

    Any man with the name 'Creflo Dollar' is immediately suspect in my book. Especially if he calls himself a minister!

    June 11, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • AB207

      PoBoy, I'm sure you do feel that way, like your name says, "PoBoy", you are just jealous...get a job, get a business, handle your business...then change your name! Trust me, you'll feel better about yourself and ya want be angry at Creflo Dollar, oh as a matter of fact, most blacks got their name from a white slave owner, have ya ever thought about that?

      June 11, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  5. WASP

    what happens when a cult of a few dozen followers balloons into thousands? what happens when a cult leader is able to spread "his word" without being questioned? curious? it becomes a religion and a staple of their life, without them even knowing it's true origins.

    June 11, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • The Taught Police

      Whose who's are you hewing into hues? There are two tu's to your tutu too. It's time for its correct usage.

      June 11, 2012 at 8:36 am |
  6. The other shoe drops...

    I guess it all depends on "what the definition of choked is." Let's ask Bill Clinton about that. This holier than thou child beater should be sitting in jail.

    June 11, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • Iceman6161

      Y some of you white people are funny, 15 at a party her daddy didn't want her to go to!!! She needed her azz whooped I don't know the facts of what happened nobody do unless you were in that house. If he choked her then that is bad , it shows that he can go farther than just a choke. He should go to jail to think about his life and where his anger is taking him.

      June 11, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • AB207

      The other shoe drop, you sound completely stupid, you should be in jail just because you are alive and breathing air! Am I going to win the lottery? Surely you can tell me since you have already come up with the conviction of Creflo Dollar saying that he need to be in jail, obviously you were there when everything went down or you have some type of ability to see and know things that others don't know or can't see, are you a voodoo king or queen, will I be winning the lottery since you already know exactly what happened in the Dollar household?

      June 11, 2012 at 8:30 am |
  7. John

    The devil def. got to the daughter but making her do that. He wants to stop this man from doing god's work and of course used the daughter to.

    June 11, 2012 at 8:20 am |
    • Mirosal

      So what's next? Is the daughter going to turn her head 360 degrees and spit out pea soup? Do we have to call in the special Vatican exorcism team? Yes, there really is one, it does exist, unlike your "god" or "satan". I hear burnings at the stake work wonders. Is that on your a'ge'nda as well?

      June 11, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I'm assuming facetiousness, if not, Science help us.

      June 11, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Prosperity Preacher indeed.
      I do beleive the Sermon on the Plain states rather explicitly:
      "Blessed are the poor: for yours is the kingdom of God" and "woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation."

      June 11, 2012 at 8:25 am |
  8. johnquepublique

    Oh, I got it...the child lied. Assume more coporal punishment is on it's way...

    June 11, 2012 at 8:17 am |
  9. Iceman6161

    @ WowBlackPeople, We have came from nowhere!? We came from greatness. Don't think our history started from slavery thats what that white supremacy wants you to think. Just a lil note for your info We been in america thousands of years before the white man even thought the world was round.

    June 11, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • John

      There is no such thing as a white person, or a black person. It's dark brown, to beige, we're all somewher inbetween that range. If someone imagines their great or supreme in being "white" or "black", no, they'd be painting their skin to be those and they'd look silly in either case.

      June 11, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • E

      Point in case. Do your research. We did come from greatness. Go to your bible and read about the people Moses took out of Egypt. About the people who Christ came to save because what they was doing and still is was wrong! Learn about Israel and God's promise to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel). And then look at all of these people in this nation who are blinded to who they really are. These are the lineage of the same ones who built the pyramids. The same ones that took that flight from their homeland to western Africa and sold into slavery. Research it out!

      June 11, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • ChrisS

      @E. As a scientist I have to ask a favor of you. NEVER again refer to reading the Bible as 'doing your research'. Research and the Bible don't go together. When I want to do research, I don't go reading True Blood or Harry Potter, nor should you be recommending others to read the Bible. If someone is looking for a good, suspense-filled fictional story, then I would HIGHLY recommend the Bible.

      June 11, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  10. Doc Vestibule

    Anyone who charges a fee for salvation is a con-man.
    All shamans should be considered scam artists until they prove otherwise.

    June 11, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • Iceman6161

      @ Doc you are right , this was the same thing the RCC used to do but they just came out and told you what they were doing. These Churches today try to be slick but are the copies of the RCC.

      June 11, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • E

      @John, come off it. Color is not an illusion like many want to make it out to be. It is as real as the sun that shines each day. Shades are not false. It's man who places value upon those shades that the issue comes into play. There is such thing as color because it runs deeper than the shade. From the voice sounds of various people to sayings to various other items. It is what it is.

      June 11, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  11. Richard

    Raising children is NOT police business. Minor children MUST abide by parents' rules when they live at home. Shame on the so called authorities. You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free.

    June 11, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • Primewonk

      Not when those "rules" include physical, mental, and emotional abuse.

      June 11, 2012 at 8:20 am |
    • sam stone

      Assault IS police business, Richard

      June 11, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • John

      If you do the same things as the pastor did, you will be put in jail too, just like him.

      Think about it, in or out of jail, take your time and think it over.

      June 11, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • AB207

      Thanks Richard, well said...like I said some of these idiots on this site only read what they want to read, most of them obviously haven't seen or heard of killer children, yes we are suppose to raise our children to respect and receive respect, but there are rules that will be adhered to and some of them do not want to listen, especially when they get to the teenage years, for some reason as well have done at some point, become a teenager and all of a sudden we can do as we please, we know everrrything, we want to do everything our so call friends do, stay out late whatever and when you can't do as you please you holler foul and run to the police for refuge b/c the government has invaded the families. l don't care what anyone says, every since the law became involved in raising our children, they have totally gotten out of control, and some child WILL tell a parent that if you hit them they are going to call the police, therefore the parent is afraid to punish the kid for fear of going to jail, then this brat knows it too, then this little brat has a hold over your head, thanks to the law. Even teachers can't do their job without some outrage parent running up to the school based on some brat running home whinning and complaining to his or her parent about the teacher this the teacher that, yet, kids/brats spend more times with the teacher than with the parent or parents, at least 7 hrs at school and 5 at home, that's if they get home, do their homework, eat their dinner and go to bed in a timely manner, but of these brats stay up as long as they please and then try to sleep in class and disrupt the class room, please get your head our of the sand, unless you were there in the Dollar household, shut up!

      June 11, 2012 at 8:42 am |
  12. Yeoman

    It what ever and how ever you want to take it... RL. No one debate a fool!

    June 11, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      "Never debate a fool".

      How else can we highlight their foolishness? The fool hath said in his heart that there is a God, who loves genocide and infanticide.

      June 11, 2012 at 8:23 am |
  13. stonedwhitetrash

    Oh sweet jesus and his virgin mother!!!!!!!!

    June 11, 2012 at 8:12 am |
  14. Get Real

    Riddle me this....Over the years I have disliked the Pope, He has a bullet proof car, a gold encrusted coat, a diamond studded hat and access to more real estate holding than anyone on earth, He also lives in his own city/state on the Italian Riviera , His minions have year after year have been accused of molesting boys and children, and yet millions give to this charlatan. His claim to his followers is that you can't talk with Jesus/God directly, but have to come to a priest to gain access. And yet he flourishes. .IN comparison to Pastor Dollar, he is several time over more the con artist, and yet.........See how silly this argument gets! How about we let the law do its thing...

    June 11, 2012 at 8:11 am |
  15. Andrew

    Just another charlatan among many. We use Christ as a mascot for money and war. Christianity is officially a joke, thanks to Umeriku.

    June 11, 2012 at 8:08 am |
  16. Bdert

    This guy's a charlatan. period!!

    June 11, 2012 at 8:06 am |
  17. Wow,black people!

    Well life never seem to amaze me, one day we got a brother eating the flesh of a white man, and now another brother child calling the white man on him, wow it took this brother many, many many years to builder a reputation in a mega church  and it took his fifteen year  old daughter one hour to destroy his reputation. 

    Where are we going black people we came from nothing, and we had respect for our families than.  Now we are accepted as equals and we have the same opportunity afford to us as any other race.  What is it when a pastor of a community that has served God by his works, yet his daughter has created him to be monster in his  home?
    We black people have lost more Celebrities in the last ten years than we care to remember.  What is going on and were will we end up when we have no control over our children.  Who is our God now, material things, who are we  truly serving now, big homes, and many, many other gods.  Black America wake up before it is to late! 

    We, Parents must love, love, love, hard our children they need more than richest which is good but they need our love and attention.  We must show love and give it to our children and we can start by just saying "I love you" on a daily basic.  God be with us all!

    June 11, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • Iceman6161

      @ WowBlackPeople, We have came from nowhere!? We came from greatness. Don't think our history started from slavery thats what that white supremacy wants you to think. Just a lil note for your info We been in america thousands of years before the white man even thought the world was round.

      June 11, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • AB207

      I totally agree and I am with you on all you said!

      June 11, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  18. Jesus Jones


    -check that out!

    June 11, 2012 at 8:03 am |
  19. Sad

    Remember, this is a guy that openly supports Eddie Long.

    June 11, 2012 at 7:58 am |
  20. Jesus Jones

    Jesus...Lord Have Mercy ! ! !

    The funny part is -he's got his followers so Brain-washed-they would believe anything he said.

    June 11, 2012 at 7:56 am |
    • Average Joe

      Have you ever listened to his messages? give a listen and then comment, if you did and are still against a man of God, let God be the judge because he alone is pefect.

      June 11, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • Mirosal

      So why would a "perfect being" create imperfect beings, then judge them based on those imperfections that "god himself" gave them? Your "god" is the ultimate hypocrite and sad'ist.

      June 11, 2012 at 8:17 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.