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. Martin

    False comparison: Jesus and Paul were arrested for preaching a message, not for violence toward and individual, let alone your daughter.

    June 11, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Rbnlegnd101

      Also, check me if I am wrong on this, Jesus did not stand up in court and say "I didn't do it!'

      June 11, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • Ahzan

      I've done this for all 3. You are missing one more.. I can't reemmber their name.Anyway, it just shows you your bank accounts, credit card accounts, your name, address and employer (last known).No credit score, but basic info on there.

      July 30, 2012 at 3:07 am |
  2. Lilith

    He will sell his daughter out without batting an eye. He is #1 afterall and cannot afford doubt from his flock of zombie followers.

    June 11, 2012 at 9:45 am |
  3. RCBinTN

    All isn't too well in the Dollar household if a 911 call is made from there!!

    June 11, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  4. A Serpents Dump

    I heard he stripped her naked before smacking her fine teen booty up with a shoe...thats hot.

    June 11, 2012 at 9:34 am |
  5. The BLESSED

    Where is the media when all the wonderful testimonies are being reported ... the thousands and thousands of people that have been blessed by Dr. Dollar's ministry have seen great success in the midst of a failing economy. All I can say is, I have three grown children who were once teenagers. It took God to help me through that!!!! Dr. Dollar, I can identify with you.

    June 11, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • MK

      All I can say is that I have two grown children and two teenagers and I've never hit them and they are all great kids. I can also say that I never had to have "god" help me get through it. All the money in the world wouldn't have helped me either.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • MNTaxpayer

      You people are the blindest of the blind.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • MNTaxpayer

      These con men fall, one by one.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  6. newsjunkie

    Sounds and looks like a typical abuser to me. So no one else saw or heard where the older daughter corroborated her sister's story? What would be her reason for going along with her sister on this "lie"?

    June 11, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  7. Amazon

    I've been browsing on-line greater than 3 hours lately, yet I by no means found any interesting article like yours. It's lovely value enough for me. In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made just right content as you probably did, the web will likely be a lot more helpful than ever before.

    June 11, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  8. MXD

    So his story is that his daughter's story is a complete lie, that she called 911 and accused her father of beating and choking her, and had him arrested, because he wouldn't let her go to a party?? This is how she behaves towards her father? That's more messed up than him beating her. Either way – SERIOUS issues there.

    June 11, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • MXD

      And if Creflo Dollar is lying, then he's completely throwing his own daughter under-the-bus to save himself. Must make for some very intersting dinner conversation.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Jean Malloy

      Fact, no one, repeat no one lies more than 15 year olds (except politicians). They are also drunk on hormornes/the male version of them and knows ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING! Plus they are crazy. I would say that the girl is lying and merely trying to have her way. She will only get worst, by the time she is 18, she'll have a rep worst than a 35 year old. I've seen it too many times. While they are being wild, they fail to learn anything useful. They leave school practically illiterate and unable to hold a job. Then, guess who will have to clean up her mess, One guess, her Dad. In our case millions of othes on pay payer dollars.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • MK

      Why do you think she's acting that way to begin with, Jean?

      June 11, 2012 at 9:50 am |
  9. russ


    June 11, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  10. jaysmot

    This guy pushes his kids around and def mentally abuses them. What a pos. I have worked for mega churches. Behind close doors its money this money that. Funny thing is money wont make him happy maybe easier but he will die a lonely pos like the rest of them. Why would he say money is greed and evil when they live luxury themselves. Look up the http://www.coolchurch.com guy has a mullet drives a vet around with his perfect blonde daughters and wife in a 250k home its pretty disgusting....

    June 11, 2012 at 9:13 am |
  11. NB

    Prosperity gospel is not found in the Bible. There's nothing wrong with being prosperous, if God so chooses you to be prosperous. But, many faithful people around the world, and throughout history, are not rich, nor will they ever be (at least not in monetary things). Dollar, Jakes, and Osteen preach heresy... and they will be held accountable.

    June 11, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Hogarth

      And who will hold them accountable? The only accounting is right here on earth, in this lifetime. If the law doesn't put these bloviating snake oil salesmen behind bars, they will go on living the life of riley until they die, comfortably in bed – they very well know there is no afterlife or judgment to come. They are playing the people like a celestial harp, just to make themselves rich.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  12. Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

    It’s very sad to see some many black people supporting child abuse. And they wonder why so many of their children turn out to be thugs.

    June 11, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son


      June 11, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Wow black people!

      Yes, you may be right about our thugs children but at least our children are not taking out children in schools and killing up their parents. Our thugs kids are not the ones who are run aways, and our thugs children are not on havey drugs at the age of 9 and our thUgs children's are better citizens than you will every be. So sorry I can't say that for your nationality of thugs, every time I turn around one missing stolen and it your people who steal and kill the children, do you not watch the new stay toon for the Nancy Grace show! It tells it all so shut up thug!

      June 11, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      Crime statistics say otherwise. Blacks disproportionately commit crimes.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  13. Meia

    I believe him...they probably had an argument and it escalated and she called the cops. I am sooo glad don't have children... I feel for them, and I a not christian. Of course he is putting his christian spin on it, but really his daughter obviously has a problem, multiple problems that their family should look at realistically and stop blaming the "devil" or whatever. She may have some serious issues ahead of her. All that for a party? I think not...other issues are afloat there for sure. It could be teenage hormones and confusion...some have a worse time of it than others, but I don't know... But I feel for them nonetheless.

    June 11, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • EagleEye2

      Yeah his daughter has a real problem. An abusive hypocritical bully of a father. He's a pos.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  14. Mopery

    We should leave Pastor Dollar alone because he's worth twice as much as Fifty-cent!

    June 11, 2012 at 9:10 am |
  15. Bill

    The daughter probably deserved it.

    June 11, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      No-one deserves a beating. Violence does not resolve anything.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • MK

      What person deserves a beating? Do you, Bill?

      June 11, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • Hogarth

      I am continually appalled at the levels of depravity displayed by people in this country. The concept of "blame the victim" is alive and well.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • Ish Chits

      The daughter deserves discipline............kids in America are spoilt and the system encourages this nonsense which comes back to bite them as these are the very criminals in training with no respect for authority.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • MK

      @ish Chits -Do you think all the kids who are productive members of society and are not in jail have been hit by their parents?

      June 11, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  16. wjchucklebutt

    "Dollar blamed the devil for causing the controversy"

    He's telling his congregation that his own daughter is an agent of the devil.


    June 11, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • John

      ... and that is why he beat her.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • Huebert

      It's known that an @ss beatin' is the best cure for demonic possession.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • John

      Jail time will cure his demonic pocession.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  17. Willyd

    If this 15 yr. old girl was the product of a loving, christian home, this article would not have been written. The incident would not have happened. There is something not right in the Creflo Dollar household. Jesus taught that violence was not the answer. Somebody missed it.

    June 11, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • Meia

      Neither you nor Jesus raised a teenager. religion...wacko.... Didn't the bible say something about not judging? And all you christians just judge everybody particularly your own, like crazy. Do you even read the bible? I read it...found it to be a bunch of nonsense...but there are some things....."you shall know them by their fruits" I LOVE that one...and it is true....look at the comments on this board from the great christians! Maybe y'all should start over again...Genesis....

      June 11, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  18. Roger

    Disclaimer : I'm neither black not white and I'm not biased.
    Whatever the truth is, one fact, which remains unchallenged, is that this man, who calls himself a preacher, has not been able to provide a good direction to his own child. On top of that, to resort to physical violence to his own daughter – appalling!
    Now – either he is lying or his daughter – oh – I'd be ashamed of myself if I were in this situation – facing my own daughter!
    If he wants to maintain any credibility, he must accept that he made mistakes – if you raised your child right, you'll not be facing such a situation – period.

    June 11, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • Bill

      Evidently you never raised a teenager.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • John

      He will never admit it, because to do so, he would have to admit he punished her for being less intelligent than the average student at school, which is actually common, 50% are less intelligent than the average. He would also have to admit that when she tried to get him to see this, crying and begging to go with her friends later in the week to a party, he ignored her tears, and then violently slapped her face, choked her, threw her to the ground and started hitting her with his shoe. This to most anyone looks like a violent lunatic, not a loving father. The older sister confirming it happened, just looks like a fell in a pile of manuer, and doesn't want to get out of it, because he'd be seen to be covered in it.... so he stays in it and hopes you'll ignore it.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Wow black people!

      Miea if this does not concern you, don't worry about it! Miss no children go get a life!

      June 11, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Roger

      Its ironic how biased people can be.
      Yes – I've a daughter and I never had to resort to physical abuse. And to make you even more ashamed of yourself – my daughter is on top of her class, more intelligent than 95% if the population (that includes you too), and whenever she speaks, she makes sure that she is knowledgeable about it.
      And no – I never had to face a situation where she was crying to go to friends – we've made sure that she has good friends and that way we never had to say no – Get it!

      June 11, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  19. Wow black people!

    We came from no where here in the states before than yes! Some how our greatness got our ancestors caught up in slavery? Then came the hanging of brothers, and still to this day the hanging are now shootings, the kkk are the cops! The reason why our brothers are hated by so many white men because they never want to see their daughters with black men, so they are shot down like dogs, and many black men don't take care of their children for whatever reasons! Here in the states we came from nothing! Whatever we have build from living here came from God, many of us are living the American Dream!

    June 11, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • Meia

      What in God's name are you talking about or referring to? Really? What wacko juice are you drinking? Crap...really crazy here.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • russ

      koo koo, koo koo

      June 11, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • doublellnfl

      You talk about the shootings of your brothers, to start your own people with there greed started slavery, go on look it up find how many tribal leaders sold there men off to be slaves, and how many hate crimes against whites are committed each and every day, whites murdered in their homes or in the streets by blacks, take your righteous indignation and look in the mirror, you might not like what what you find..

      June 11, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • John

      You have wasted both your time typing that, and my time to read it, because there is no such thing as a black person. Your name as well, it is a waste of typing. You can be anything from beige to dark brown, anything inbetween, but no one on earth is white, or black, such just doesn't exist. Sorry.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • Hogarth

      It is a fact that most African-Americans who are murdered are killed by other African-Americans. You have far less to fear from the KKK than from your own people.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:42 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.