- (Photo: World Changers Church International via The Christian Post)
Creflo Dollar Jr., the well-known megachurch founder and pastor of over 36,000 churchgoers, was arrested Friday in connection with the assault and battery of his 15-year-old daughter. The pastor was charged with simple battery after his attempt to discipline his child spun out of control in his Georgia home.
Creflo Dollar's attorney, Nikki Bonner, said that despite the charges, he doesn't think Dollar believes he is guilty.
"I think anyone who gets arrested doesn't believe they deserve to be arrested," Bonner told The Christian Post. He is adamant that his client is innocent until proven guilty.
Creflo Dollar's two daughters alleged that Dollar physically choked, punched, and wrestled the 15-year-old girl to the ground, with Fayette County authorities responding to the domestic dispute at around 1 a.m. However, Dollar's own statement to police differs from his daughters' accounts; the 50-year-old minister claims he was simply disciplining and spanking the girl.
All the accounts of what happened Thursday night at the Dollar home reflect the beginning of the altercation the same: Dollar had denied his 15-year-old daughter's request to go to party. She became upset, and after that, accounts differ significantly.
Dollar's daughter claims that she was abused. After she told her father she didn't want to "talk right now" about his decision to ban her from the party, she claims he became violent, Fayette County spokesman Brent Rowan told TheCitizen.com.
Dollar "slammed her to the ground and began punching her and took his shoe off and started whooping her with it," investigators' reports read. Corroborating her story was a scratch on the girl's neck.
However, Pastor Dollar's account of the story left out many of the more violent elements. He told authorities that he restrained her, then wrestled her to the ground, spanking her on her buttocks and thighs. The middle-aged man also told police that his daughter struck him back, which is how the two ended up on the ground.
Dollar's older daughter reported to police that Dollar slapped his daughter, choked her briefly, then wrestled her to the ground- at that point, the witness went to get her mother, Taffy, to help. The 15-year-old called 911 soon after.
The pastor was charged on simple battery-family violence and cruelty to children at about 2 a.m. Friday morning. He was released from Fayette County Jail on $5,000 bail.
No court date has been set, said Bonner. Georgia Judge Carla Wong McMillian will most likely preside in the court appearance.
Creflo Dollar has prospered over the course of his 30 years in ministry, with his Changing Your World telecast reaching over a billion homes across the globe, according to his website.