Local News

Ex-minister pleads guilty to molestation

Posted November 6, 2008 12:16 p.m. EST
Updated November 6, 2008 3:46 p.m. EST

— A former minister of a Fayetteville church pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges he molested young girls who attended his church 30 year ago, authorities said.

Anthony Phillips Denton, 56, who now lives in Jacksonville, Fla., pleaded guilty to 13 counts of taking indecent liberties with a child. The charges stem from incidents involving three girls between 1977 and 1981, when Denton was music minister at Berean Baptist Church.

Denton also entered an Alford plea to three counts of taking indecent liberties with a child. An Alford plea allows a defendant to avoid admitting guilt while acknowledging there is enough evidence to convict him.

As part of a plea agreement, he received three three-year prison sentences, which were suspended to probation. He also must register as a sex offender.