An anti-gay pastor has been arrested and accused of molesting children in his congregation.
Matthew Dennis Patterson, led Nolensville Road Baptist Church in South Tennessee, resigned last year but his congregation quickly raised concerns to police over reports he was engaging in “strange activities” with children, including young boys.
According to the Tennessean, police found that he asked children to sit on his face and stomach “sometimes in their underwear” throughout his 20-year tenure with the church.
Patterson has been accused of eight counts of aggravated assault with each charge related to a different child.
James Thomas, a member of the congregation, said: “Anything we could ever do to help them, we would try to do.
“We wanted to see this all the way through because nobody should ever hurt a child.”
Back in 2003, Patterson vocally opposed LGBT+ equality and campaigned against an anti-discrimination bill and said at the time: “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.”
At the moment Patterson’s bond is set at $100,000 and police are urging anyone with information to come forward.