The megachurch pastor has declared his innocence of punching and choking his teenage daughter, telling his pulpit that the allegations are exaggerations.
Atlanta pastor Creflo Dollar, charged of misdemeanor counts of simple battery and cruelty to children, made his first public appearance at his Sunday sermon on June 10.
“I will say this emphatically: I should have never been arrested,” said the 50-year-old pastor at his congregation in a Washington Post report.
“The truth is that a family conversation with our youngest daughter got emotional,” he continued. “And emotions got involved and things escalated from there.”
The pastor is one of the most prominent African-American preachers in Atlanta, with 30,000 members in the Atlanta area and satellite churches across the U.S. He was arrested after his 15-year-old daughter called the police at about 1 a.m., June 8. She told authorities that she and her father argued when he said she couldn’t go to a party.
The girl told the deputy that her father charged at her, put his hands around her throat, began to punch her and started hitting her with his shoe. The deputy noted a scratch on her neck.
According to the Washington Post report, the deputy also interviewed the pastor’s 19-year-old daughter, who said her father grabbed her sister’s shoulders and slapped her in the face and choked her for about five seconds. She said her sister tried to break free, but did not fight back. When her father threw the 15-year-old on the floor, the older girl ran to get her mother, Taffi. Taffi told the deputy she did not see the fight.
Pastor Dollar told his Sunday congregation that the mark on his daughter’s neck had been there for about 10 years and was caused by a skin condition, eczema.
The pastor received “an enthusiastic ovation” from his church-goers at the World Changers Church International in the Atlanta suburb of College Park.
— Lorraine Chow
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