Atlanta megachurch pastor denies abuse charges from pulpit
(Reuters) - An Atlanta megachurch pastor who is accused of domestic violence on Sunday vehemently denied the charges from the pulpit, telling his congregation that he never attacked his teenage daughter.
Creflo Dollar, who was arrested on Friday on charges of family violence, child cruelty and battery, called the accusations "an exaggeration and sensationalism."
"The truth is, she was not choked, she was not punched," he said at World Changers Church International, which boasts nearly 30,000 members and numerous satellites.
The sympathetic congregation responded with applause and shouts of "Yes" from the seats.
Police arrested Dollar after his 15-year-old daughter reported he choked and hit her during an argument at their home.
Dollar's 19-year-old daughter corroborated the story, according to reports, and police said a scratch on the girl's neck was evidence of a fight.
Dollar, who was released from jail on $5,000 bail, said on Sunday that the mark on her neck was a skin condition.
"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," he said.
He said investigators didn't "have enough intelligence" to ask him what it was, and he called the omission "appalling."
Dollar has been preaching for nearly three decades after starting his church in 1986 at an elementary school and growing it into a multimillion-dollar operation with a weekly radio broadcast, four services every Sunday, and an $18 million, 8,500-seat sanctuary known as the "World Dome."
(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Eric Walsh)
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