NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A former Nashville pastor accused of molestation targeted children under thirteen years old, according to court documents.
NewsChannel 5 obtained the indictments against Matthew Dennis Patterson, also known as Denny, following his arrest on eight counts of aggravated sexual battery.
The indictments stated one of the victims was abused over a six year period.
Another indictment said that between April 6, 2007 and April 6, 2013, Patterson "did intentionally engage in unlawful sexual contact with N.B. (d.o.b. 04-06-2002)."
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.
Patterson reportedly resigned on September 24, 2017 and moved to Pennsylvania.
Church members learned of the allegations the following day, according to a statement, and reported it to police after speaking with Patterson and obtaining his cell phone and laptop to give to detectives.
A mother of three, who had attended the church on and off for two years, said she did not suspect Patterson of being an alleged molester.
"I didn't at first but when I look back at it, it kind of makes sense after watching some of the behavior and movements toward certain people now," said the mother who chose not to reveal her identity.
She added that Patterson event attended her three-year-old daughter's birthday once, although she does not believe she was abused.
"I can't really talk to a three-year-old about it because they don't understand what's going on. You get scared wondering if it was your child," she said.
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.
The church spokesperson said in a statement, "Nolensville Road Baptist Church want to let our community know that the sinful actions of one man does not reflect upon 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 alleged perpetrator."
Patterson was taken into custody on March 8th in Pennsylvania and was eventually extradited back to Nashville.
He is being held on a $100,000 bond, and is scheduled for an arraignment on Wednesday.