NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A former Tennessee pastor accused of molesting several children while he was a Nashville church leader has pleaded not guilty at his first court appearance.

The Tennessean reports a public defender accepted the case against Matthew Dennis Patterson and entered a not guilty plea on his behalf Wednesday.

Nashville police arrested Patterson on March 8 in Pennsylvania, where he moved after resigning Sept. 24 from Nolensville Road Baptist Church. A police statement says children told adult church members Patterson asked them to sit on his face and stomach, sometimes in their underwear.

Police say investigators identified at least eight victims, most of them boys, who were molested from 1998 to 2017.

Patterson has been indicted on eight counts of aggravated sexual battery. More charges related to additional victims are expected.

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Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com