Former music minister charged

By Nancy McCleary

Staff writer

The Fayetteville Observer

October 9, 2007

A Cumberland County grand jury has indicted a former pastor at Berean Baptist Church on sex-related offenses that happened 30 years ago, according to court documents.

Anthony Phillips Denton, 57, of Jacksonville, Fla., is charged with 16 counts of taking indecent liberties with children, according to the indictments.

The alleged incidents happened between 1977 and 1981, indictments say.

Denton was serving primarily as a minister of music at the time, said Steve Wilson, executive pastor at Berean Baptist Church.

The incidents involved the children of church members, Wilson said, but are not believed to have happened on church property.

Denton left the church in the early 1980s, Wilson said.

The three girls named in the indictment have married and have families of their own, Wilson said.

“If there is a positive thing ... they may have been able to overcome and make something of their lives,” he said.

“If the allegations are true, our hearts go out to the girls.”

Denton reportedly was working at a church in Jacksonville.

He was arrested last Wednesday on a fugitive extradition warrant, according to records at the jail in Jacksonville.

Denton is being held without bail and is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 2.

North Carolina is one of several states that has no statute of limitations on most sex crimes involving children.

Staff writer Nancy McCleary can be reached at or 486-3568.

See also: 

"Former church worker arrested on sex charges," News4Jax, 10/8/07

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