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. EdL

    It is the devil's fault! That ouhta sell. As one of his endearing church members yelled, "Case dismissed!" And now back to shepherding his flock. Onward, Dollar! I wonder if he changed his name when he began his 'ministry'.

    June 11, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  2. DaVinci64

    Unbelievable! Well, at least he has his scriptures - some people believe that all they have to do is be able to recite them - to hell with living by them, just memorize them so that you can use them when you need em.

    June 11, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  3. C5aviator

    At what point does anyone understand that the PARENTS are supposed to be in control. I am not going to live in a house where my children are telling me what to do, or what they are going to do against my wishes. If the STATE doesn't want to take them, I will find the legal way, and means to get them out of my house. I will not, I repeat, will not live in a house where children will tell ME.... what they are going to do. Again I state....this is what is wrong with America today.....the damn children are in control.

    June 11, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • xyz

      Who cares what you think?

      June 11, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Ohreally

      You hit it right on the head C5aviator. I told my daughter when you live under my roof, you will abide my rules. If you feel you are grown and don't want to follow the rules, then we have to make arrangements for you to start providing for yourself like grown ups do.

      June 11, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • JWT

      Dictating rules 1 ided to a teenager – you negotiate with them, end up with something all can live with.

      June 11, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • TR6

      @C5aviator, You should seek professional help deal with your excessive hate, especially how much you hate children. I hope you don’t have any of your own. Do you realize there is a difference between strangulation and discipline?

      June 11, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
  4. snowdogg

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

    Both his daughters are lying?

    June 11, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  5. The truth

    This is why the highly educated are having less or no children and poor stupid people are having them all.

    Smart people know when something is a bad idea.

    June 11, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  6. zap

    Hey, it's just a little Bible discipline. Get over it.

    June 11, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  7. Pro Death

    ...but she was beaten

    June 11, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  8. Blane

    I see liberals are busy again today calling corporal punishment "abuse" and "assult."

    June 11, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • sam stone

      I see that Morton Downey Jr. wannabes are calling anyone who disagrees with them "liberals". He struck her (according to her older sister)....how is that NOT assault? Tell us, Blane, are you the official spokesperson for conservatism?

      June 11, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • TR6

      What part of strangulation is not "abuse" and "assult."

      June 11, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • pattysboi

      That's because it is ABUSE, blane. Plain and simple.

      June 11, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  9. Evangelical

    How do you know when a teenager is lying?
    His lips are moving.

    - Judge Judy

    June 11, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • sam stone

      Judge Judy is a bitter old cvnt who appeals to the bitter old cvnts in her viewing audience. Evangelical here is proof of that. Bark, little doggie

      June 11, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  10. C5aviator

    It is utterly ridiculous that children in this country can get away with anything they want .......with their parents. But, the local law enforcement can beat, punch verbally assault, handcuff and throw in the back of the car and book for minor infractions. But PARENTS are not allowed to reprimand their own children. The reason our children are out of control, not because of bad parenting, but because the law arrests us for doing our parenting job. This happened to me one time and I informed child protective services they could come get my daughter and they said no. But if something happens to her, I will be held liable. In my growing up parents, relatives and even some neighbor had the wherewithal to keep me in line. I am a better person for it today. Some form of corporal punishment should be allowed to keep these out of control children in check ........or the POLICE are going to kill them all, not the parents!!!!!!

    June 11, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • TexAnne

      You told CPS they could come get your daughter??? Wow, as a parent myself, I would say you were an epic FAIL.

      June 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • sam stone

      Wow, you call assaulting a child "reprimanding" them?

      June 11, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Primewonk

      So you were beaten as a child, and from that, you learned that it is good to beat children?

      What a putz.

      June 11, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • GAW

      So should parents be allowed to beat their kids? Even if the cops do it two wrongs don't make a right. If you feel you have to resort to bodily harm in order to discipline your kids then you don't have the right to be a parent. Again if violence can be used by parents to discipline their kids then the cops should be given the right too. Hypothetically speaking.

      June 11, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • C5aviator

      The four of you idiots are probably NOT in control in your own house. My youngest, 30 years old still lives in my house. So you say I'm a bad parent???? I'm willing to bet none of you even have children. The middle daughter thanks me quite often for keeping her on the straight and narrow and steering her from the street urchins that came to my door. The oldest daughter lives in Texas and calls me often to say she appreciated my stern advice......................And you say I'm a bad father??? Ill be glad to give you their e-mail addresses and see what they say.!!!!!!!

      Don't be judgmental if you don't know the facts!!!! If your parents let you get away with what you wanted is why you respond the way you do!!! If you don't have children............SHUT THE HELL UP!!!!!!

      June 11, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • sam stone

      Hey there.....you speak of not being judgemental until you have all the fact, but you make assumptions about the four of us.

      June 11, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • TR6

      It sounds to me like your own abusive behavior of your children has its roots in the abuse you suffered as a child.

      June 11, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
  11. Norm

    Every parent knows that a 15 year old girl will lie when she doesn't get her own way.
    Reverend for a father or not.

    June 11, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • sam stone

      Everybody knows that people will lie to protect lucrative income streams

      June 11, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • basketcase

      15 yr old girls will certainly lie, pout, and throw tantrums at times when they don't get their way, but falsely accusing their father of assaulting them is far beyond what most will do.

      June 11, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Samuel

      I would say that nearly every person who beats their kid lies about that as well. Pick your poison, cuz it's toxic out here.

      June 11, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • GAW

      If she knows how to lie then she must have learned it from someone....Perhaps from dad.

      June 11, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  12. W.G.

    Who can believe this flim flam man ? His Daughters older sister even said she saw her younger sister
    beaten and choked by this CON ARTIST. I guess people in Atlanta need a hero soo much they´ll even
    take this wolf in sheeps clothing .

    June 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Mister

      dumb world, dumb america, dumb devil and not so wise creator, creating souls flesh was not fair, creating lucifer and allowing him to rule over the world teeters on stupidity, causing trillions of women pain, because the obvious apple that the creator tempted her with is mean !!! I call on God to undue his stupid evil creation and make our world a better place, God you are only as great as your actions, and though I believe you are Good. your desire to be love and admired is obtained in a foolish manor, your Son Peter , but I love you anyways God

      June 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  13. Samuel

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

    June 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  14. Samuel

    HAHAHAH 30,000 people follow a priest called "DOLLAR?!" They should be choked.

    June 11, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  15. Evangelical

    If you've read a more informative source with details that you all are overlooking, you would see that these harlots are lying.

    June 11, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • sam stone

      Please, Evangelical, inform us of this "informational source".

      June 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • sam stone

      Come on, big mouth......

      June 11, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • EagleEye2

      It's okay guys. Evangelical was speaking of his own daughter's and his wife or more likely his husband.

      June 11, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Jesus was a capitalist?

      so his daughters are lying and they "are harlots"? and yet THIS FRAUD LIES every Sunday to 30,000 dopes...i'd say the proof is in the proverbial pudding....BTW Dollar$$ has a private jet, a condo in NYC, a mansion in Atlanta....hmmm... he did how much time in the state prison ? SUCKERS....find your faith elsewhere....not in frauds...lose the crutch people–THINK, listen and learn...

      June 11, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Evangelical

      Here is one source that is better:


      June 11, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Madtown

      Yes, of course. And, you'd "know" this how? Oh, I forgot, this guy is a "man of faith", which for you means he can't possibly do any wrong. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      June 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Evangelical

      No, I disagree with him profoundly on doctrine. However, I hate to see a man railroaded.

      June 11, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Fox? Seriously? You freaking cite FAUX News as a creedible source?

      Hey Evangelical – only one of these news networks – CNN, FOX, MSNBC, CNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS – went to federal court and the FCC claiming they had a constîtutional right to lie to the public during their newscasts. Wanna guess which organization it was?

      June 11, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • fred

      What are you a political operative? CNN MSNBC ABC CBS NBC are far left bias news stations. Thank God we have one (Fox) that at least attempts to give a different view other than liberal.

      June 11, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  16. Billy

    "I love her with all my fist", he said shaking it in the air. Close the "megachurches." Turn over the exchange tables!

    June 11, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Jesus was a capitalist?


      June 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  17. Jesus was a capitalist?

    This guy is a complete FRAUD with a congregation of total IDIOTS...it makes you wonder...is it a right to be a MORON? Put Dollar$$$$$ back in PRISON where he belongs and send his FLOCK to therapy....simpletons....total simpletons...Same people who followed Jim Jones to Guyana...FREAKS....

    June 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  18. Rick

    Lose-lose situation. Either he's a liar or he's a preacher raising a liar.

    June 11, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Haa

      Two liars. His 19 yo daughter witnessed it and confirmed the story to the police.

      June 11, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  19. Zigma

    Female daughters of rich and famous Blacks are prime targets of a lot of very hopeless punks, who do not mean them any good. For someone like President Obama, the Secret Service is around to keep flies away from his daughters. Less privileged mortals like Dr. Creflo Dollar do not have that kind of protection, and so will have to try their personal best to keep flies at bay.

    June 11, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • sam stone

      Children of the rich and famous are targeted regardless of their skin color

      June 11, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • sam stone

      Only the female daughters, Zigma?

      June 11, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Jesus was a capitalist?

      Zigma- are you stoned? or just simple... THE GOOD DOCTOR BEAT his child !!...Not any flies, not any wrong doers, not any white punks-YOUR REV BEAT HER!!....her sister verified the story to the police... yeah EVERYBODYS in on it.... and Crefalo $$$ isn't MORTAL–he speaks to GOD..."Aw Lordy gimme more money!!!!" .....You people are nuts...you remember Heavens Gate? Yeah take the cosmic leap....

      June 11, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  20. joe

    Ahhh. the "Devil made her do it" defense

    June 11, 2012 at 3:11 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.