October 8, 2007

Former Church Worker Arrested On Sex Charges

Tony Denton, former worker at Trinity Baptist arrested

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Allegations of sexual misconduct surround a former employee at a Westside church where the church's founder is awaiting trial on charges of capital sexual battery.

Anthony Denton, 56, of Jacksonville, was arrested Wednesday and is being held without bond in Duval County Jail on a warrant out of Fayettville, N.C.

The North Carolina-based accusations against Denton include sexual assault and 16 counts of felony indecent liberties with a child.

Authorities said the alleged incidents took place during Denton's employment at a North Carolina Baptist church where Denton was a physical education teacher three decades ago.

Denton and his family have attended Trinity Baptist Church for more than 10 years. Trinity Baptist, which is located in the 800 block of Hammond Boulevard, is the same church where Dr. Robert Gray was the longtime pastor.

Denton's arrest came on the heels of allegations first leveled in May 2006, when Gray was arrested on sexual battery charges. Since then, four people have come forward to say they were abused.

Gray is now accused of multiple accounts of sexual assault, and his first trial is scheduled for next month.

"He is a member here at our church and was a former employee here at the church," said Trinity Baptist Associate Pastor Gary Judd.

Officials at Trinity Baptist would not comment on how long Denton worked at the campus, what his position was nor how much contact he had with children.

Church officials said they were praying for Denton and his family, and also said answers needed to be found.

"Obviously, as a member of the community it concerns me a lot. We want justice to be done, and we don’t know all the details of that but would be interested in making sure that right is done and good is done out of that," Judd said.

Denton remained in Duval County Jail on Monday afternoon. He has waived extradition to North Carolina.

Previous Stories:

http://www.news4jax.com/news/14295552/detail.html (with video)

See also:

"Former music minister charged," Fayetteville Observer, 10/9/07

"Man still counseling at time of his arrest," Florida Times-Union, 10/10/07