A Nashville pastor who spoke out against gay rights has been arrested and charged with eight counts of aggravated sexual battery for molesting children at his church.
According to multiple reports, Pastor Matthew Dennis “Denny” Patterson was arrested for molesting multiple children, almost all little boys, at his church, the Nolensville Road Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee.
News Channel Five reports:
Officials with the Metro Nashville Police Department said he molested at least eight children over the course of more than 20 years as pastor of Nolensville Road Baptist Church in south Nashville.
The Tennessean reports:
Children at the church told adult members that Patterson had asked them to sit on his face and stomach, sometimes in their underwear, according to a police statement.
A statement issued last Friday from the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD) notes:
The former pastor of Nolensville Road Baptist Church who served for more than two decades has just been returned to Nashville by MNPD officers from Pittsburgh to be booked on a Davidson County Grand Jury indictment charging him with eight counts of aggravated sexual battery for the alleged molestation of children at the church.
Matthew Dennis Patterson, known as Denny, 45, resigned from the church on September 24, 2017. He moved to Pennsylvania shortly thereafter. On September 27, church members came to the South Precinct to report that children were saying Patterson had them engage in strange activities with him, including sitting on his face and stomach, sometimes in their underwear.
This isn’t the first time Patterson has been in the news. In 2003, when the city council was considering adding sexual orientation to the local anti-discrimination law, he vocally opposed it.
“We want to make sure we keep the pressure on, let them know that anytime they bring this up, we’ll be down here to oppose it,” he told The Tennessean in 2003.
The Nolensville Road Baptist Church describes itself as “an independent, fundamental, Baptist church,” which “cites the Bible as the only authority for faith and practice, belief in the sinful nature of man, biblical family roles and local church autonomy.”
James Thomas, a spokesperson for the Nolensville Road Baptist Church, said:
We here at Nolensville Road Baptist Church want to let our community know that the sinful actions of one man does not reflect upon the church as a whole. We remain committed to truth, transparency in all our operations, and for the care and support for the victims and family who have been victimized by the alleged perpetrator.
Police report that the Nolensville Road Baptist Church has been cooperating with the investigation.
Patterson’s bond has been set by a Criminal Court judge at $100,000.