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. MaryM

    Thats not what your older daughter said. You dbag pastor

    June 10, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  2. Joseph

    He is a Kenneth Copeland wannabe ! They are ALL thieves and liars and Monsters.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • WOZ

      Wow, such an off based, hate filled comment that has nothing to do with this story. Another closed minded bigot that hates people of faith. Where's the tolerance???

      June 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Not here, I have to agree with Joseph on that one.

      June 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • sam stone

      tolerance? you got to be kidding. review the posts saying that people who do not believe in (the poster's view of) god are going to hell. there is your tolerance

      June 10, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Jessica W

      we are only supposed to tolerate "alternative lifestyles" or anything that is NOT related to religion or faith. people enjoy putting down christians and don't make a mistake, they come down hard. christians are NOT allowed to be human.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  3. Pat D

    Doctor Creflo Dollar is guilty of one thing. His reaction to his daughter wanting to attend a party at 15. He is the righteousness of God. As a father he is to protect and lead his children to always know they are the righteousness of God. Pastor Dollar, keep on preaching the GRACE MESSAGE!!!!! The enemy is a liar and you and your family will get through this..The world doesn't understand. I used to attend a church that ridiculed me for watching you on TV. I no longer attend that church. Judgment, condemnation is not a part of grace. Lets keep our focus on Jesus as Doctor Dollar and his ministry would want us too. If we focus on the love he has for us, we will not worry about this form of persecution by the enemy. Remember todays message. WE ARE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD. Thank You Dr. Dollar for the years of informing us how important it is to renew our minds. Thats why my family and I here in NC and SC will continue to watch and pray with you and your family.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Krista

      You're calling two children a liar, one of whom had injuries that the police noted... in order to protect a simple _man_. You act like he's the second coming. Sounds like a cult to me.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • MaryM

      Pat D you are just as much a Dbag for trying to take the side of the dbag pastor. The Older daughter gave a statement to the police.

      June 10, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • hlime

      you should try to make your point with less sanctimony and punctuation.

      June 10, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • sam stone

      Righteousness of God? What pompous bloviating

      June 10, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  4. CNNBot

    At last a honest last name that fully explains what these swindlers are all about.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  5. Stan


    youtube . com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0

    June 10, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  6. Chris

    Man these kids are so disrespectful, lazy and delinquents...HEY..do not beat your kids butt when they miss behave, just talk to them......ROFL....that works!

    June 10, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Krista

      Nobody has the right to _beat_ a child, or any other human being. Discipline does not equal violence.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • skulker

      Chris, you are one the out of touch folks that believe that only talking to your kids work. When they misbehave at an early age (ages 2 thru 5) its time to start then. Get your "bluff" in so that when its time to talk they we heed your warning. Kids misbehaving at the supermarket, doctors office or on plane ticket is NOT CUTE!!! We try to get away from you and your bad a$$ kids.

      June 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot


      You are so clueless that you don't even see that @Chris was being sarcastic. She/he agrees with you, and guess what?... you are both brutes. Go back to your cave.

      June 10, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Jessica W

      all these people who believe that all children are the same, and only need a good "talking to" should take these rebellious kids into their home for a while, sense they are so advanced at raising children. some kids will comply when you reason with them, but rebellious kids cannot be reasoned with with just words. so, maybe parents should stop whipping them butts, and just let the cops do it.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  7. me

    To Jon O:
    Your remarks about black people are unacceptable. Yes, I am black and very proud to be black. I love and enjoy the company and friends of all cultures and races. I happen to have a MASTER DEGREE IN ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING, in addition to a degree in mathematics and another degree in Physics. I am also an Inventor which means: you are likely using something I invented or had a part in designing. Dropouts is an unfortunate problem facing America across racial spectrum. Of-course you would not know that, I summit. Liberal or conservative, it matters not to me. Everyone has a bit of liberalism and conservatism in them. Again, I summit you would not that, would you? YOU ATTACK ON BLACK PEOPLE, AND PARANOIA OF BLACK HAS BLIND-FOLDED THE USE OF YOU BRAIN.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • nobody important

      "YOU BRAIN"? Glad that degree is not in grammar.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Why are you proud to be black? You didn't choose it. You didn't make it happen. The fact that you are black doesn't help anything or anybody. You were born black. Big deal. What is to be proud of?

      June 10, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Robin

      I think you mean submit not summit which you used in two places in your response. Submit means to present. summit means the highest attainable level of achievement. In the case of your response you were SUBMITTING a theory about someone's state of mind and/or ability not SUMMITTING.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • me

      If it pleases you: correct "YOU to "YOUR", and "summit" to "submit". I'm pleased to know you get my point.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      You did not answer my question. Additionally, "blindfolded the use of your brain".....huh???

      June 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  8. PreachingFromTheChoir

    Spiritual Leaders families are no different from other families. They experience the same ups and downs. Just because your parents profession is religious you do not get a free pass from living in the world. Now add to that the visibility aspect and there goes another dynamics to this situation. Evidently The Dollars are your all-American family. Work it out Dollars, just like the rest of us do,

    June 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Pimp Daddy Dolla' is different because he is a criminal. Now is exposing that he is violent too, not just a thief.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Jessica W


      you are so right. half of these people talking probably have so much going on in their own lives that it is a relief for them to attack someone else for a change and not deal with their own reality.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  9. serious

    some of you are just so stupid! I cant believe what i am reading. the comments you people are posting. the girl probably neede to be choked out, her grown ass. were any of you there? while you are opening your damn mouths! let it be you and lets see how you would react to a smart mouth that you are taking care you who wants for nothing and want to disrespect ,throwing fits, ALL OVER A PARTY!!!! i wish a mutha.....fu....would.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Hey serious, you are brilliant. You should join a religion the shares your beliefs, say...Christianity? Enjoy!

      June 10, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Jessica W

      @ Serious

      LOL! I know the feeling! Have a child (14) tell you that they will do as they please, and then think they will reside under your roof a moment longer! i tell my teen, anytime you feel you are grown and can do as you please, you can kick rocks. my children know they need the protection and leadership and guidance of their mother and father. anytime a child rebels against that, it is unacceptable.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Janet

      The problem with choking a person when you're angry is you can accidentally kill them. She is the way she was raised to be.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  10. Howard

    For all you Creflo Dollar "followers" go to YouTube, search (money come to me now) dance and you will see your integrity filled Pastor dancing on a pile of money while his parishioners are "entranced".... what a joke..

    June 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Janet

      Wait until you see the pile his daughters are going to be dancing on after they write the: "Daddy Dearest" book & appear on all the talk shows. Yes, the show must go on because it brings in the beans.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  11. Scott Free

    imaging that, a televangelist whose name is money. sounds about par for the course.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Lady

      it does seem ironic.

      Think this publicity is hurting him? I, who have never hear of him, have now been on his website several times, know all the books he has written and have watched a few of his sermons on youtube as well as watched his live sermon this morning to see what he would say from the pulpit.

      Maybe it was an elaborate plan? Are we this easy of an audience? thoughts?

      June 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  12. Writer Girl

    Jon O- Jesus said..True love Overides the law..Imperfect people, we are all flawed people. Jesus was out loving on everyone , except the white washed tombs who had no grace for anyone. When you put your politics and prejudices higher than your heart is the place you go blind!

    June 10, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • GP

      Don't bother trying to be reasonable with Jon O a.k.a. Archie Bunker....set in his warped ways.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Dam man, where dat mu-fukin' Dolla be at? I am jones'n like a mofo and can't find my man!

      June 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  13. John Henson

    Continued support is the key here.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • William

      Hey John Henson
      Support who? Creflo Dollar? Stop brown nosing a mega pastor who is corrupt, and if convicted, will be a child abuser. By the way the way if he is convicted, he will have to move out of the house under georgia, and children are then allowed to sue their parents for the abuse. If this case is real and not a publicity stunt or anything other than what his daughter says, then he should be taken to the cleanres. In fact I would like to see this guy do time if convicted. Bubba will have a hayday with a child abuser. BY the way read the police report, this is not the first time there has been an incident between Creflo and his daughter.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  14. Lady

    Lets have a grown up discussion:

    Did his sermon surprise anyone?

    Who thought he would go a different route? (i.e. "The devil was testing him through his daughter.") which one of his followers said in an encouragement message to him on another blog...

    What would have surprised you to hear him say?

    June 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  15. Mauricio Zuniga

    Pastor Creflo Dollar: 'She was not punched'...just pimp slapped and strangled XD

    June 10, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  16. ed

    He should have kicked her in the ass. Our laws are full of BS. Children have more authority than parents. This is what we get for having too many liberal idiots in this country.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Um.....ed......he did kick her in the ass. Did you read the story? Another right wing genius hard at work doing nothing worthwhile.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Bozo finder

      Yeah you seemed to have turned out great, a real benefit to society from getting your ass beaten. And now you're just as bad as the rev. Maybe if your parents had tried talking to you instead of beating your ass for dropping their malt liquor bottle you wouldn't be filled with hate now?

      June 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Janet

      Are the children being unruly because the parents are prone to outbursts of anger & violence?

      June 15, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  17. Howard

    Thank you FYI for correcting (youngwoman) some of these people clearly need to return to elementary school before publishing anything.....lol

    June 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • FYI

      Thanks, Howard.

      I try not to be too pedantic about it on a casual forum like this one; and sometimes I just ***sigh*** to myself about the lack of literacy and communication skills that I see.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  18. Not A Creflo Fan

    I find it hard to believe that she was truly choked if the only evidence is a small scratch. Choking leaves bruises. I'm not taking anyone's side here because I am certainly no fan of Creflo Dollar. However, I am a parent of teenagers and I know how situations like this ( a kid wanting to go to a party that the parent refuses to allow) can quickly become volatile, emotionally charged power stuggles. I am not judging the kid or the Dad, I'm just saying I know this situation very well, and more often than not, things are not what they seem. I do wonder, though, where Taffi Dollar was during this incident. My prayers go to out to their entire family. Because regardless of his heretical teachings, they are a family in crisis and I wish the best for all involved.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • sally

      It wouldn't have bruised that quickly

      June 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • me

      I concur! The so called "medical experts on-line" have failed to realize "choking" leaves finger marks that turn black and blue, but takes more than 12 hours to appears.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Really?

      Agreed. Discussions with my children can, and often do, escalate into volatile screaming matches that become physical, even over simple things, such as chocolate ice cream. Its a reflection of their teenage temperament, not of my parenting abilities.

      As for choking, I also agree. There are always immediate bruises from choking, and the two cannot exist without one another, just as there is always s per m when someone is ra ped. I've tried gloves and pillows, but gloves leave fabric fibers, and I'm tired of washing saliva and bl ood off my expensive silk pillow cases.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Leigh2

      I agree entirely with your observation of there being no 'bruising'. I don't care for T.V. evangelists in general, but whatever happened, may the truth come to light.

      June 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Jessica W

      @ Really?


      June 10, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Janet

      Hah-hah! They should do a reality show or a children swap with the Copelands.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  19. me

    This is not a question of "genius" or the lack thereof, as depicted by my good friend "Break". So, please do allow me to break this down for you: Sister's so-called collaborative statement is nothing but hear-say, and certainly not a confession, but written on a piece of cop's paper which may or may be worth anything. All she may have witnessed is an argument between father and daughter, which I believe is not the first time they have argued. As such, this case goes nowhere but a dismissal, otherwise the bail would have been much higher if the Judge felt there was sufficient evidence beyond reasonable doubt. Further, there is nowhere a black child is going to testify against her father, especially given the father's status and caliber. The cop certainly didn't sound like there was anything there, but he had to do his job given today's position on DV after OJ.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  20. ThatDude

    There's always sides to the story – however, why is it that one of the witnesses (his other daughter – age 19) corroborates the report of choking (also slapping and hitting) within the arrest report: http://www.theroot.com/sites/default/files/96436578-Creflo-Dollar-Arrest-Report.pdf

    Are we to believe that the arresting office made up these details for no good reason whatsoever? Or is it more plausible that this televangelist is attempting to protect his empire by denying all accusations until the end?

    June 10, 2012 at 3:24 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.