Megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar was back at his pulpit Sunday, addressing the allegations that he struck his teenage daughter in an argument inside their Atlanta home.
Dollar told his congregation the allegations made in a police report are nothing but "exaggeration and sensationalism."
In his first public appearance since police charged him with misdemeanor counts of simple battery and cruelty to children on Friday, Dollar was quoted: "I will say this emphatically: I should have never been arrested."
The pastor got round of applause from the packed church as he took the pulpit Sunday at the World Changers Church International in metro Atlanta.
He addressed the criminal charges head-on for several minutes, before moving on to his sermon.
"I want you all to hear personally from me that all is well in the Dollar household," he said.
Dollar was arrested after his 15-year-old daughter called 911 at about 1 a.m. Friday and told a Fayette County sheriff's deputy that she and her father argued when he said she couldn't go to a party. A police report says 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. The deputy noted a scratch on her neck.
According to the Associated Press, the report said the deputy also 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.
On the allegations, Dollar said:
"The truth is she was not choked, she was not punched. There were not any scratches on her neck... But the only thing on her neck was a prior skin abrasion from eczema. Anything else is exaggeration and sensationalism."
Dollar's 15-year-old daughter is the one who called authorities and told them her father punched and choked her. Her 19-year-old sister corroborated the story. But Dollar didn't publicly display any anger toward his children, saying:
"I will never put any fault on my children, as Jesus would never put any fault on me."
Dollar, who has five children, is a native of College Park, Atlanta and says he received a vision for the church in 1986. He held the first service in front of eight people in an elementary school cafeteria. His ministry grew quickly and the church moved into its present location: an 8,500-seat sanctuary.
The church has nearly 30,000 members and includes satellite campuses in 10 cities. Dollar’s weekly services are broadcast across the country.