ATLANTA — Megachurch pastor and televangelist Creflo Dollar – who has drawn scrutiny for his flashy lifestyle – was arrested early Friday after authorities say he slightly hurt his 15-year-old daughter in a fight at his metro Atlanta home.
Fayette County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call of domestic violence at the home in unincorporated Fayette County around 1 a.m., investigator Brent Rowan said. The pastor and his daughter were arguing over whether she could go to a party when Dollar “got physical” with her, leaving her with “superficial injuries,” Rowan said.
The 15-year-old was the one who called authorities, and her 19-year-old sister corroborated the story, Rowan said.
Dollar faces misdemeanor charges of simple battery and cruelty to children. He bonded out of Fayette County jail Friday morning.
“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 because he’s involved in the ongoing criminal matter, but he is expected to preach Sunday, Bonner said.
The 50-year-old leads the Creflo Dollar Ministries and is the pastor for World Changers Church International in the Atlanta suburb of College Park, which serves nearly 30,000 members, according to the church’s Web site. World Changers Church-New York plays host to more than 6,000 worshippers each week, the Web site says. There are four satellite churches in Georgia along with others in Los Angeles, Indianapolis, Washington, Cleveland, Dallas and Houston.
He and his wife, Taffi, a co-pastor at the church, have five children, according to the Web site.
Dollar is a native of College Park and says he received a vision for World Changers Ministries Christian Center in 1986. He held the first service, in front of only eight people, in the cafeteria of Kathleen Mitchell Elementary School in College Park, the Web site says.
His ministry grew quickly, moved into a modest-sized chapel and was renamed World Changers Church International. The church moved into its present location, an 8,500-seat sanctuary called the World Dome, on Dec. 24, 1995.
Dollar said in a 2007 interview with The Associated Press that he renounced his salary from the church, and his income only comes from personal investments, including a real estate residential property business and horse breeding company called Dollar Ranch. He’s published more than 30 books, focusing mostly on family and life issues, including debt management.
He said in the interview that he sometimes got up to $100,000 for a single appearance on his packed schedule of speaking engagements.
“That tells you where my money comes from,” he said.
Along with Bishop Eddie Long, Dollar is one of the most prominent black preachers based around Atlanta who have built successful ministries on the prosperity gospel, which teaches that God wants to bless the faithful with earthly riches.