The Bible preaches using the rod sparingly to subdue and “train up” an unruly child.
But Fayette County police allege that Creflo Dollar, the charismatic founder and leader of World Changers mega-church in Stone Mountain, skipped the rod and, instead, used his bare hands and fists to beat his youngest daughter into submission.
What should have been a private family discussion exploded onto the national headlines and fueled debates on how far parents can go when disciplining their own children.
Dollar, 50, was arrested early Sunday morning after his 15-year-old daughter, Lauren Dollar, called Fayette County police at 1 a.m. to report that her father choked and punched her during an argument that escalated out of control. Police noted “superficial abrasions” on the teen’s neck.
Dollar admitted he “restrained” his daughter after she “became very disrespectful” when he told her she couldn’t attend the party.
Lauren told police the altercation wasn’t the first incidence of violence in the Dollar home, and that she felt threatened in the home.
The altercation began when Dollar told Lauren she couldn’t attend a party due to her bad grades. According to the police report, Lauren said Dollar pursued her into the kitchen and asked her why she was crying.
“That’s when he went off,” Lauren told police. “He came and put his arm around my neck and choked me and bent me over the table. And I pushed him off of me, and he threw me on the ground and punched me in my face.”
But Dollar denied Lauren’s version of events, telling FOX 5 News:
“As a father I love my children and I always have their best interests at heart at all times, and I would never use my hand to ever use bodily harm to my children.”
Dollar’s 19-year-old daughter who witnessed the attack supported her sister’s version of the events in a written statement to police.
Police say the 19-year-old gave conflicting statements because her parents were in the room. Dollar and his wife, Taffi, have 5 children, 3 daughters, Jordan, 22, Alex, 19, and Lauren, and two adopted sons, Jeremy and Greg, who are both Caucasian.
Taffi, a co-pastor at World Changers Church, is a typical submissive wife who doesn’t intervene when her husband assumes the role of disciplining the children. Taffi told police she didn’t witness the fight.
Pastor Dollar received a standing ovation from his loyal flock when he took the podium on Sunday.
Dollar denied hitting or choking his daughter. He discussed the difficulties of disciplining black children in today’s society.
“Like all of us who are parents (know), there are times when discipline and training our kids can become pretty intense,” Dollar said. “The truth is that a family conversation with our youngest daughter got emotional, emotions got involved, and things escalated from there.”
He added: “The only thing on her neck was a prior skin abrasion from eczema,” he said. “Anything else is an exaggeration and sensationalism.”
Dollar said he spanked his daughter and wrestled her to the kitchen floor after she raised her hand at him. “I never should have been arrested,” Dollar said.
Dollar’s flock told the media assembled outside the church that they stood behind their leader and supported his version of the events.
They expressed shock and dismay that their pastor was arrested for trying to control his unruly teenager who had no business partying like she was grown.
But a judge was not so sympathetic towards Dollar. The judge released Dollar on $5,000 bail, but told the minister he could not so much as argue with his daughter or he could end up right back in jail.
An earlier version of this post was updated to correct Lauren Dollar’s name.
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