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Atlanta megachurch leader punched and choked daughter, police say

June 09, 2012|By Laura J. Nelson
  • Atlanta megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar faces misdemeanor chargers after a scuffle with his 15-year-old daughter.
Atlanta megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar faces misdemeanor chargers after… (Fayette County Sheriff's…)

Atlanta megachurch leader Creflo Dollar choked and punched his 15-year-old daughter, then spanked her with a shoe, during an argument over whether she could go to a party, according to a police report.

Dollar told deputies he tried to restrain his daughter when she became disrespectful. When she began hitting back, the report said, he wrestled her to the floor and spanked her.

Dollar, 50,  is one of the most prominent African American preachers in Atlanta, a well-known exponent of the prosperity gospel, which teaches followers that God will bless the faithful with material rewards.

His church, World Changers Church International, has nearly 30,000 members. The church has 10 satellite churches in half a dozen states.

“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. "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’s wife, Taffi, said she saw her daughter lying on the floor, but did not see a fight.

The church leader faces misdemeanor charges of simple battery and cruelty to children. He has been released from jail and his lawyer told the Associated Press he was expected to preach Sunday.

At 1 a.m. Friday, Dollar’s 15-year-old daughter called 911. She told a Fayette County sheriff’s deputy that she and her father argued about whether she could go to a party the following night. She left the room with her 19-year-old sister.

When Dollar followed her and asked her why she was crying, she responded, “I do not want to talk right now,” according to the report.

"He charged her, and put his hands around her throat and began to choke her," the report reads. "...He then slammed her to the ground and began to punch her and took his shoe off and started whooping her with it."

Deputies noted a scratch on the right side of her neck.

Dollar said his daughter could not attend the party because of bad grades. Then he said she became very disrespectful when he asked her why she was upset, according to the report. He tried to restrain her. They wrestled. He spanked her. Then, Dollar told deputies, she began to calm down. He sent her to her room.

The 19-year-old daughter initially gave two statements, a verbal one that corroborated her sister's story, and a written one that corroborated her father’s story.

When asked about the discrepancy by deputies, she said her parents were with her when she composed the written statement. When separated from her family, she wrote a second statement that matched her verbal statement, deputies said.

laura.nelson@latimes.com

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