Abuse charge against pastor dropped after he seeks help
ATLANTA (Reuters) - Prosecutors have dropped a simple battery charge against the pastor of an Atlanta mega church who completed an anger-management program after being accused of choking and hitting his teenage daughter, an official said on Friday.
Creflo Dollar, founder of the World Changers Church International, a Christian congregation which boasts nearly 30,000 members, took the course and paid about $1,000 in court fees as part of a pretrial intervention program, said Fayette County Solicitor General James Inagawa.
Dollar, 50, was arrested last June after his 15-year-old daughter said he attacked her during an argument at their home. Police said a scratch on the girl's neck was evidence of a fight.
Dollar denied the allegations of domestic violence from the pulpit of his church last summer and said the marks on his daughter's neck were from a skin condition.
"The truth is, she was not choked, she was not punched," he told congregants.
On Friday, Inagawa said Dollar had complied with all the conditions placed on him to resolve the case.
"As a result, the case against him is over," Inagawa said. "Although this defendant may be of particular interest to the public, this case was treated like any other case that comes through my office."
The wishes of Dollar's daughter were taken into account before prosecutors allowed the pastor to participate in the pretrial intervention program, Inagawa said.
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 an $18 million, 8,500-seat sanctuary known as the "World Dome" in the College Park suburb of Atlanta.
(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Bernadette Baum)