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The Rev. Creflo Dollar Jr.'s megachurch members vowed to support their pastor Sunday as he publicly denied charges he beat and choked his 15-year-old daughter last week.
"A family conversation with our youngest daughter got emotional. Things escalated from there," Dollar, 50, explained from the pulpit, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"She was not choked. She was not punched. ... Anything else is exaggeration and sensationalism," the Rev. Dollar continued.
Sheriff's deputies, however, believe otherwise.
Deputies arrested the Rev. Creflo Dollar Jr. on suspicion of family violence battery and cruelty to children after his 15-year-old daughter called 911 about 1 a.m. Friday, CBS News reports.
The girl told deputies she argued with her father about going to a party. Dollar allegedly put his hands around her throat, punched her, and hit her with a shoe. Dollar's 19-year-old daughter initially corroborated parts of her younger sister's story, deputies said.
But later on Friday, the 19-year-old retracted her statement, the Journal-Constitution reports.
Dollar allegedly admitted to spanking his 15-year-old daughter and wrestling her to the floor, but said she hit him first, according to CBS News. Dollar posted $5,000 bond and was released Friday after spending 12 hours in jail.
The Rev. Dollar's World Changers Church International, based in Fulton County, Ga., serves more than 30,000 members, according to the Journal-Constitution.
Under Georgia law, family violence battery is an offensive touching inflicted on a person living in the same household. It's a misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Cruelty to children can be more serious, depending on the type of alleged cruelty. If convicted of negligently inflicting cruel or excessive physical pain on a child, the Rev. Creflo Dollar Jr. could possibly face up to 10 years in prison.