*The Rev. Creflo Dollar Jr. took to the pulpit of his south Fulton County megachurch Sunday to proclaim his innocence of charges that he choked and beat his 15-year-old daughter, says AJC.com.
And those in the congregation say they believe him.
“He did not commit the crime,” former World Changers Church International member Naomi Lyles told Channel 2 Action News.
Thousands of congregants at World Changers Church International gave Dollar a standing ovation — and remained standing as he talked for 10 minutes about his arrest and the events preceding it. Dollar had not spoken in public since his arrest early Friday.
“I want you to hear it personally from me: All is well in the Dollar household,” he said. “A family conversation with our youngest daughter got emotional. Things escalated from there.”
But he said: “She was not choked. She was not punched.” What a police report described as scratches on her neck were remnants of a long-ago case of eczema, he said.
“Anything else is exaggeration and sensationalism.”
Lyles said she thought he was sincere.
“It was what I thought it was,” she said. “It was blown out of proportion, and I believe his word.”
A church member, Alton Stephens, said he could identify with Dollar’s plight.
“I’ve raised children of my own, and being a parent is not easy,” Stephens said. “I’m 100 percent behind my pastor. He’s human.”
Fayette County Sheriff’s deputies arrested the 50-year-old minister on simple battery charges after initial reports from the teen, his youngest child, and from his 19-year-old, Alexandria Dollar.
Read the full story at AJC.com.
Watch Creflo Dollar’s explanation: