June 8, 2012
Megachurch Pastor Creflo Dollar Arrested on Battery Charges
Witnesses told authorities he grabbed his 15-year-old daughter around her throat.
Update (Jan. 25): The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the assault charge against Creflo Dollar has been dismissed in return for the pastor completing a program that required him to "enroll an anger management program, report to a probation officer and pay $1,072 in court fees."
Police arrested megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar Jr. on battery charges in Georgia on Friday, according to WSBTV, a local TV station. Officials booked Dollar into jail at 2 a.m, and a judge set a $5,000 bond during a morning hearing, according to the report.
Police arrested Dollar at his Fayette County house after receiving a 911 call from his 15-year-old daughter. She told a dispatcher her father attacked her after an argument over her attendance at a party.
A witness told police Dollar grabbed his daughter around her throat and choked her, creating a scratch on her neck, Fayette County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Brent Rowan told the TV station.
“Discipline my kid. Love ‘em,” Dollar said as he was leaving jail Friday morning, offering no comment for his congregation to the reporter. (Video)
Rowan told the Associated Press that deputies responded to a call of domestic violence at the home around 1 a.m. Friday when Dollar "got physical" with his daughter, leaving her with "superficial injuries." He faces misdemeanor charges of simple battery and cruelty to children.
Dollar, who is 50, is the founder of World Changers Church, which has around 30,000 members and satellite campuses in 10 cities.
Earlier this year, CT published an editorial on discipline suggesting that spanking could turn into a form of abuse. Dollar was included in a larger investigation by a Senate committee over megachurch pastors' finances.
Update: The AP has an updated statement from Dollar.
"As a father I love my children and I always have their best interest at heart at all times, and I would never use my hand to ever cause bodily harm to my children," Dollar said in a statement released by his lawyer Nikki Bonner. "The facts in this case will be handled privately to further protect my children. My family thanks you for your prayers and continued support."
Dollar will make no further comments since he's involved in an ongoing criminal matter, but he is expected to preach Sunday, Bonner said.