By Justine Espersen
Megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar took to the pulpit yesterday denying the punching and choking of his 15-year-old daughter.
He told his congregation of 30,000 members that the allegations made in a police report is nothing but “exaggeration and sensationalism.”
Dollar addressed his congregation at the World Changers Church International of the Atlanta suburb College Park. He discussed the criminal charges before moving onto his sermon this past Sunday.
“I want you all to hear personally from me that all is well in the Dollar household,” Dollar said, according to Associated Press.
Dollar was arrested at about 1 p.m. Friday after his 15-year-old daughter called 911. She reported to a Fayette County sheriff’s deputy that she and her father argued after he said she couldn’t go to a party. The police report stated that the girl told a deputy her father charged at her, put his hands around her throat, began to punch her and started hitting her with his shoe. There was a noted scratch on her neck.
The report continued to say the deputy interviewed Dollar’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 their mother. Dollar’s wife, Taffi, told the deputy she didn’t see the fight.
Despite these allegations, Dollar denied each of these accusations before the pulpit. “The truth is that a family conversation with our youngest daughter got emotional,” he said. “And emotions got involved, and things escalated from there.”
Father of five, Dollar didn’t publically display any anger toward his children.
“The truth is she was not choked; she was not punched. There were not any scratches on her neck,” Dollar said. “But the only thing on her neck was a prior skin abrasion from eczema. Anything else is exaggeration and sensationalism.”
His congregation appeared supportive Sunday as they gave him applause as he took the stage. People in the sanctuary yelled encouragement as Dollar spoke. Cries of “We love you!” and “We’ve got your back!” could be heard through the congregation.
As people left Sunday’s service, The Associated Press asked for comments. Most declined to comment, but those who did expressed support.
“When I first heard what he was accused of, I didn’t believe it. I knew there had to be more to the
story,” Phyllissa Wolley, daycare worker who has attended the church for about five years, said. “I felt like he addressed the accusations today, and I believe what he said. To hear from him personally, I really appreciated that. I was glad to hear his side of the story.”
According to The Associated Press, others said the media blew the accusations out of proportion without having all the facts and they felt vindicated after hearing Dollar speak.
“I think you’re looking at a bunch of sensationalism,” member for eight years George Blake said. “It’s not up to me to be satisfied with what he had to say. This is a man of God spreading the word of God.”