ATLANTA (AP) — Megachurch pastor and televangelist Creflo Dollar 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 50-year-old 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.
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 since he’s involved in an ongoing criminal matter, but he is expected to preach Sunday, Bonner said.
Dollar leads Creflo Dollar Ministries and is the pastor for World Changers Church International in College Park, which serves nearly 30,000 members, according to the church’s website. World Changers Church-New York hosts over 6,000 worshippers each week, the website says. There are also four satellite churches in Georgia and 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 website.
Known for his pinstriped suits and charismatic sermons, Dollar was among a group of high-profile ministers whom Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley urged in 2007 to answer questions about their spending, board oversight and involvement in for-profit businesses.
The six televangelists targeted in the investigation preach some form of the prosperity gospel, which teaches that God wants to bless the faithful with earthly riches. Ministers in this tradition often hold up their own wealth as evidence that the teaching works.
Dollar resisted answering questions, comparing Grassley’s inquiries into church governance with questioning churchgoers about their prayers and confessions. The investigation wrapped up in January 2011 with no penalties for the pastors who refused to cooperate and no definitive findings of wrongdoing.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.