Controversial Atlanta megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar Jr. has been arrested for allegedly assaulting his 15-year-old daughter, according to the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. The “prosperity gospel” adherent has been charged with simple battery, family violence and cruelty to children after an altercation in which he reportedly grabbed his daughter by the throat and choked her.
Police deputies were summoned by a 911 call to Dollar’s residence around 1:00 a.m. Friday. According to police spokesman Brent Rowan, the preacher’s daughter showed “superficial wounds” to the neck. She informed officers that she and her father had been arguing over whether or not she could attend a party.
“During the argument the father began to get physical with her,” Rowan told the Journal-Constitution.
Acting on what they felt was probable cause and the testimony of the Dollar’s 19-year-old daughter, which was consistent with her sister’s, officers took the head of World Changers Church International into custody, where he remained until he was released on $5,000 bond Friday morning.
Dollar has made fatherhood a cornerstone of his pastoral philosophy, with books and instructional CDs for sale through the World Changers website and at the World Dome, the church’s sprawling, opulently appointed facility in the south Atlanta neighborhood, College Park.
One CD, “The Fatherhood Principle,” asserts that because every man “carries the seed from which all life comes, and whether he has a child or not, he will always have the built-in need to father someone.” Fatherhood, Dollar wrote, “is the highest honor God can bestow upon a man, and He has called men to follow His example of fatherhood. In fact, God is the ultimate standard and the only true example of fatherhood men should look to for guidance.”
In 2011, Dollar made headlines when he stood in solidarity with fellow pastor Eddie Long, who was accused of sexual misconduct involving teenage boys. A week later, however, he warned parishioners of Long’s church that they were not welcome at World Changers.
“If you’re from that church that you know I’m talking about, you trying to join here, I don’t want you to join here,” Dollar said from the pulpit, “You need to go and join where you’re supposed to be.”
In 2007, Dollar and his wife Taffi were targeted along with other “prosperity gospel” ministries in a investigation by the Senate Finance Committee, headed by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA). Prosperity gospel is a belief that God favors the righteous with wealth and material success, and wants them to have the best in life.
During the investigation, Dollar was unapologetically uncooperative, refusing to hand over some documents and only supplying others after much delay and with great reluctance. He insisted that Grassley and the other senators were meddling in church doctrine, where they didn’t belong.
Dollar and his family live in a $2.5 million dollar mansion in Sandy Springs, a tony north Atlanta suburb, and own a property in Manhattan. The pastor drives a Rolls Royce furnished to him by the church. He claims that the church owns most of the luxury items he surrounds himself with, and that he has bought the rest with his own money.
World Changers boasts more than 30,000 members. Dollar strongly encourages members to tithe 10 percent of their income to the church and has said that if he could, he would have those who don’t meet at least that obligation taken away by security and shot rather than let them enter the church building.
In 2009, Georgia’s Department of Agriculture was called in to investigate charges of animal cruelty on property belonging to Dollar. A parishioner bought the horses and let them starve and sicken. Debi King, previous owner of two of the neglected horses, seized back the horses she had sold, although one eventually died.
“You just don’t treat horses like this,” she told WSB-TV. The horses were skin and bones when investigators found them. Dollar told WSB that the parishioner may have kept the horses on church property, but he had no knowledge of their condition.
While King got her horses back, she said that she felt that Dollar should have been aware of the situation.
“I mean, it’s his property,” she said.
World Changers representatives have indicated that they will release a statement Friday afternoon regarding Thursday night’s altercation between Dollar and his daughter.