Sheriff Seeks More Victims in Holiday Abuse Case

By Kendra Conlon
June 24, 2015

[with video]

Huiell Denton Jr.

A local church is trying to keep the faith after a trusted parishioner is accused of molesting a boy in the church parking lot.

The Pasco County sheriff fears Huiell "Derk" Denton may have more victims.

The Adult Sunday School teacher is accused of groping and kissing a fellow parishioner, an 11-year-old boy, outside Calvary Baptist Church of Holiday. This isn't the first time he's been accused of a similar crime.

"Both of these families, and it doesn't just affect those two families, but the whole church are suffering right now," says Pastor Doug Kirk from Calvary Baptist.

Kirk tells 10 News that the arrest of volunteer Denton is tearing at the heart of the church. It became the focus of Wednesday night services.

"Evil has been in the world, it's going to come into the church," says Kirk.

The 65-year-old is accused of luring the 11-year-old parishioner out to his car with a promise of a gift, then molesting him.

"The 11-year-old reaches over, Derk grabs him with his hand on his buttocks, and he starts nibbling on his neck, and he starts making sexual gestures towards the child," says Sheriff Chris Nocco.

The boy ran inside the church, where Denton's wife worked, and told someone what happened.

Wednesday night, she didn't answer the door at the couple's Holiday home and has since resigned from the church.

This isn't the first time Denton has faced similar allegations. He spent a year in prison in South Carolina accused of sex acts with a child 25 years ago. Nocco says at the time, laws did not require him to register as a sex offender. That's why the sheriff worries there may be more victims.

"It's very strange for someone to have committed this offense in 1990, and then to do one just recently, and there is nothing in between," says Nocco.

Kirk doesn't believe Denton's secret may have surfaced, even if the small church had run a background check.

"This would not have been covered, because it's 25 years in the past," Kirk says.

"Through a background check, it probably should've come up," Nocco says.

Investigators say Denton confessed and tried to offer an explanation. "He just wanted to show the boy that he was loved. This is a sick individual," Nocco says.

The church is talking with kids about Denton, urging them to speak up about anything strange that's happened with him. The sheriff is asking parents to do the same.

Denton's facing a life sentence if convicted, because the victim is younger than 12. He is charged with lewd and lascivious molestation, and luring and enticing a child. He is being held in the Land O'Lakes Jail.








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