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. Joshua

    A named "Dollar" – that's just too good.

    June 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Nii

      A named "Joshua" being uncharitable. Three main Joshua's-the prophet, the High Priest and the Christ. See where u fit!

      June 11, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Burbank

      As in Praise the Lord and send me money! Send me your Dollahs! All of them!

      June 11, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • mema

      If its not y©ur money why do you care!

      June 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • sam stone

      mema: it just illustrates the gullibility of some believers

      June 11, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  2. Total Disbelief

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

    Oh, well in that case, clearly the injuries are the child's fault!!!!
    -Religious cultist freaks

    June 11, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • mema

      By injuries I assume y©ur referring to the SR@TCH. Most get much worse from tripping on a rock.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • ernestly

      Meme – they get choked and punched by tripping on a rock?

      June 11, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  3. db

    People do not want the truth. That is why they jumped on him so quickly. They really hope it's true so they could let out their anger. Iether way he was going to be pounded by the media. Had she gone to the party her picutres would've been in the media and her video gone viral. He would've been accused of not keeping his little girl in check. I do not agree with violence but the media these days is 10% true. This incident was good to expose all those people that are waiting with stone in hand ready to see him fall. For all those pointing the finger keep the speck in your eye in check. You need more prayer that Creflo.

    June 11, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Total Disbelief

      You, sir, are a blind gullible lamb for Mr. "Dollar" and his fellow wolves. Enjoy your finances being turned into their dinner.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Lisa

      Explain why he gets blessing through others finances? You work hard for your money to give it to him!??!

      June 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      Ah.. the Christian victim complex, you never get old.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  4. What EV

    Notice he said" she was not choked, she was not punched"...
    He never said," I" did not...

    June 11, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  5. Total Disbelief

    The fact that the little "Dollar" kids' college funds are being fueled by his corrupt "ministry" is all the incentive the little ones need to recant the story. Right after Mom and Dad remind them of that, suddenly the kids will refuse to speak to the cops anymore about this matter and the evidence will be nothing bu the cops' testimony, 911 recordings if any, and a crappy polaroid of the injuries. Jesus saves...everyone but the victim.

    June 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • mema

      I guess y©u have already had a trial and looked at all the €vidence, if any, and find him guilty? Yes that cr@ppy polaroid of a scr@tch. Like thats tough to capture on film. If the allegation is factual dont y©u think sh€ would have been taken in for a m€dical evaluation? Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill!

      June 11, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Annrafnk

      MEMA: You must be part of the flock. And, why do write with a "@" in your words. What the heck does that mean?

      June 11, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • ernestly

      Mema looks like you have already held the trial and determined him to be innocent and his daughters to be guilty (guilty of something – I guess wanting to go to a party or something like that)

      June 11, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  6. Joey


    June 11, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Thade76

      Hey dude where do you live? If its near me I can make your little song a reality, using you as 1 of the 2 props for your cute little song.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      Oh no! Joey you made an internet tough guy angry! I’m sure you’re shaking in your desk char.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Dee Dee

      Should the KKK take his baby away?

      June 11, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  7. Total Disbelief

    Remarkable that his "flock" refuse to discuss what he allegedly did. Truly all "God"s want is sheep.

    June 11, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • mema

      If its ©nly all€ged why would they need to? Even the cops say sh€ only had a scr@tch.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      @ mema
      You seriously don’t understand why deliberately ignoring a violent crime (alleged or not) by your religious leader would be a bad thing?

      And that ladies and gentleman are why they are called a flock.

      June 11, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  8. Caliban

    Of course he is innocent, men of god never do bad things. In the end if found guilty he will ask to be forgiven and say the devil made him do it, and if it was 1500 he would say his neighbor placed a spell on him.
    Religions are great!
    "God wants a porsche and he wants me to drive it!"

    June 11, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  9. Doug in NYC

    Dear Jesus,

    Please start the rapture now. Your alledged followers are driving the rest of us crazy. I'm sure these alledged followers will be shocked they are still here after the rapture.

    And if Dollar is truly a christian, he should have stoned his daughter to death as the bible says, but I guess the shoe was the only available stone?

    Doug in NYC

    Note to all, the above is sarcaism!

    June 11, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  10. Spoken4

    Time will tell but be careful who you put your mouth on because when something bad happens to you, youre going to be thinking what did I do to deserve this the Bible says it is better to tie a millstone around your neck then to harm the least little one of mine. So be careful who you offend. So he didn't spare the rod and spoil the child the bible says not to spare it it and spoil the child. If she did go and ended up something bad happened to her yall would still criticize the man of God. They did it to Jesus! In all the good He did!

    June 11, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Lisa

      You poor lost souls who believe in this man. This should be under entertainment instead of religion. Creflo claims God blesses him with material things and that shows he has holy spirit. Jesus did not have a foxhole to live in. Does that mean he was not blessed by his father? Did he not have God's holy spirit? Creflo is a hypocrite. He does not believe in God or he would not be able to lie and scam people without conscience.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      >Time will tell but be careful who you put your mouth on-

      Do you expect people to take you seriously with sentences like this?

      June 11, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      "the bible says not to spare it it and spoil the child." Another example of a moronic bible thumper who doesn't even know their own bible, because the bible does not say this. It says "He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly." Proverbs 13:24

      Besides that, your almighty Dollar is a shameful excuse for a father and Christian and I hope he spends some time getting choked and beat with shoes in jail so he can understand the cycle of violence he and many other wannabe "Christian" fathers perpetuate through their arrogance and ignorance.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • ernestly

      Well he was apparenlty hitting/choking his daughter. Maybe he should have thought about that "hurting the least of us" stuff - becasue now he kind of has a millstone hanging around his neck.

      June 11, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  11. Nii

    the people singing the abuse anthem are barking up the wrong tree! In the real world pimps and madams will beat u to be at their side if a father disciplines his child it is hardly news! If my dad hadn't I will be where my friends who were given free range are now-Nowhere! RIP Dad!

    June 11, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • MK

      Funny, my parents didn't lay a hand on my siblings and I and we are all successful, decent human beings. How does that work?

      June 11, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Thade76

      Yea dude cause its totally acceptable for a grown man to punch an underage females with his fists. BACK TO THE BRONZE AGE WITH YOU.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • JeffJ

      Nii, my parents never beat me, much less choke me, and I served in the military, got my college degree and now have a great paying job. How are you better off? Pure stupidity on your part!!!!

      June 11, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Nii

      My parents never beat me! So are u all saying there was never a time your Dad had to strike u for anything! Well then all I can say is that u had it good!
      However where I grew up if u let ur kids do what they want they are not going to college, period! Its a competi.tion where if u sleep u fall back

      June 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      So wait… he had it good because his father didn’t strike him. But you are saying it’s good to strike teenagers. You sir seem very confused.

      June 11, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  12. N. Silva

    There was a previous comment that I cannot seem to find now where somebody defending the pastor's expensive lifestyle and said it was alright because he has given more to charity than any of us.

    Well, when the rest of us donate to charity, we do not use money that was given to us hand over fist for free. This pastor lives a large life because of his followers. And that's not right. That's exploitation. But go ahead and defend it because I'm sure there are a few on here that are excellent at mental gymnastics and twist it so that he isn't the bad guy here.
    Regardless whether he is a man of cloth or not, he is using money donated to him to get what he wants.

    But then again, silly me, I thought men of God were suppose to live modest lives as a reflection of the lessons in the bible. You know, a practice what you preach sort of thing

    June 11, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • BBCC

      Wow! I thought the story was related to his current situation? How crazy, people will sue any opportunity to take a jab! Can we all just get along! NO PUN INTENDED

      June 11, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • ernestly

      BBCC – the guy has an over the top lifestyle paid for out of charitable giving, his last name is Dollar and he preaches about money. I think the subject is fair game.

      June 11, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  13. Bmac

    Church of the Almighty Dollar. 'Nuff said.

    June 11, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  14. The truth

    Choked, punched, and hit with a shoe with no marks but a little something that didn't look like a finger mark. She must be the man of steel's sister. For the sake of the child the first thing they do is throw the Father under the bus. These issues should be investigated to the inth degree then if the Father is guilty, punish and publish. If the report is false or exaggerated to a damaging level to the parent it should be a felony for the child then punish and publish. Let's get the truth before ruining a poor guy.

    June 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Kevin W. Clark

      So, her sister backing up her story isn't enough for you? I bet you send Dollar a check every week, moron.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      "ruining a poor guy."

      Penny rich and Dollar poor...

      June 11, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Lisa

      Get a clue. Creflo claims God blesses him with material things and that shows he has holy spirit. Jesus did not have a foxhole to live in. Does that mean he was not blessed by his father? Did he not have God's holy spirit? Creflo is a hypocrite. He does not believe in God or he would not be able to lie and scam people without conscience.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Bmac

      Dang Right, Lisa!

      June 11, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • BBCC

      To Kevin Clark:

      Obviously you have not raised kids let alone a teenager. At certain points, it becomes a by any means necessary, sort of raising kids.

      Additionally, have you never lied to parents taking the side of one of your siblings?

      June 11, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      Do you legally have to register on any federal data based websites?

      June 11, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  15. Norm

    What kind of media ruled society do we live in where people are going to believe a lying 15 year old girl that didn't get her own way and go to the drug party.
    Arrest a man without proof and ruin his reputation and carreer.
    You people are morons.

    June 11, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • MK

      Right, Norm, cuz god knows pastors never lie.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • ii2bcnii

      What are you retarded?
      He did choke and beat his child with his shoe.
      He did punch his daughter.

      It was not just the little girl's story. One of her sisters CONFIRMED THE DETAILS OF THE STORY

      June 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Kevin W. Clark

      Yeah, Einstein...because it's much more likely that his TWO daughters were BOTH lying and the police were too dumb to be able to see through tween-age liars? It's members of the American brain-trust like you that keep evil men like Dollar in Armani and Rolls Royce style.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • sam stone

      the 15 year old's story was corroborated by her older sister. read much?

      June 11, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • sam stone

      Also, Normy, were you there? How do you know she is lying? If the police did not believe her, or her sister, he would not have been arrested.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Carosi

      Norm, you are a moron. Do you not know that the law requires that in order to arrest someone, evidence must be present. Also, did you not read that the other daughter also agreed with the situation? Yes, continue to be one of their sheeple, for they cannot survive without your cult-like drive to follow the greed. Down with organized religion!

      June 11, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Thade76

      Normoron. I am glad you think you can do a better job at deciding on whos telling the truth over the cops, having not been at the scene, and the cops were, and you hearing the story third person. You must be one of those psychic detectives.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Bmac

      Well if that isn't the pot calling the kettle black, moron. You obviously don't have the brains God gave a republican. Did you even read the story?

      June 11, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • BBCC

      Thanks, NORM for your reply. EXACTLY!

      June 11, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      Norm, BBCC, Dollar

      Child abusers will always defend each other.

      June 11, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  16. Canopy

    Then why would both his daughters lie on him?

    June 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      Lot's did...

      June 11, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      How do you lie ‘on’ someone?

      June 11, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  17. SAC

    My sister-in-law is an evangelical Christian. she suggested that men like Dollar should be given a "pass" because they are men of God. She was a victim of physical violence from her own father growing up. Essentially these churches are cults.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Canopy

      She believes he should be given a pass not because he's a "man of God" but solely because of what she was exposed to by her father.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      @ Canopy
      Unless you know SAC’s sister-in-law then you have no idea why she does or doesn’t do anything.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  18. Stella333

    I don't know what is more amazing: The fact that some people really are as Narcissistic as Dollar, Jakes, Osteen, etc.; or that people are actually crazy enough to follow them. What a mess.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      "people are actually crazy enough to follow them"

      You wouldn't call a sheep or a cow being herded into a pen crazy, just stupid morons who have no clue what awaits them inside the butchers shed...

      Thouch to be fair, I'm sure his parishioners are more akin to sheep getting their woool sheared every so often, it's all about the comeback...

      June 11, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  19. Rich

    The fact the man's daughter has accused him of this and his other daughter corroborated the story says a lot about how they feel about their father. Whether he did it or not, clearly things are -not- well in the family, as he claims.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Canopy

      Makes me wonder what issues they harbored and now possibly feel this was an outlet for what they endured for years.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  20. carlyjanew6


    June 11, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • ii2bcnii

      You have to be the stupidest people on earth to believe ANYTHING from this website.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • MK


      June 11, 2012 at 1:52 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.