Nashville pastor Matthew Dennis Patterson has been arrested for allegedly molesting a number of children over two decades.
The Nolensville Road Baptist Church pastor, a vocal opponent of anti-discrimination bills designed to protect jobs and housing for lesbian, gay and bisexual people, is accused of engaging “in strange activities” with children.
Detectives John Thomas and Jacob Masteller from the department’s Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Unit led the six-month investigation into the complaints.
After interviewing multiple church and staff members, police said the detectives identified multiple victims, most of them boys, who were molested from 1998-2017. Police did not say how old the children were at the time of the alleged abuse.
Patterson has been indicted on eight counts of aggravated sexual battery. Each count is linked to a different child, according to police.
Police said more charges relating to additional victims “are anticipated” as the investigation continues.
Nashville police arrested Patterson in Pennsylvania on March 8 and he was extradited to Nashville yesterday (Friday). His bond was set at $100,000.
In an interview Friday night, church member James Thomas, who is serving as a spokesman on this issue, said church leaders had no inkling of the allegations against Patterson until he resigned. Patterson abruptly left the church on September 24, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.
Thomas said in a statement:
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. Our hearts grieve for the families involved.