Metro police have arrested a pastor accused of molesting several children across two decades while he was leader of a South Nashville congregation.
Matthew Dennis Patterson, known as Denny, served as pastor of Nolensville Road Baptist Church for more than 20 years. He resigned on Sept. 24.
Days later, members of the congregation came to the police precinct on Harding Place with complaints about his requests to "engage in strange activities" with children, authorities said.
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.
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 — he refused to talk to investigators. Patterson was extradited to Nashville on Friday, and his bond was set at $100,000.
Leaders at Nolensville Road Baptist have been "fully cooperative" with the investigation, according to police.