Priest Pleads Guilty to Child Sex Charges

By Miki Perkins
The Age

August 27, 2008

A Catholic priest from the Melbourne archdiocese has pleaded guilty to 10 child sex and pornography charges in the County Court.

- Guilty plea

- Videos, images seized

- 'Deeply troubling' charges

Father Edmund John Haines, 62, served the district near Geelong for 12 years, including the towns of Meredith, Winchelsea, Anakie and Bannockburn.

The Geelong resident, who is known by his middle name, pleaded guilty to six counts of committing an indecent act with a child under 16, committing an indecent act with a child aged 16 or 17 who was under his care, procuring a child to make pornography, and producing and possessing child pornography.

Haines was also a chaplain at St Joseph's College in Geelong and had worked as a priest in Papua New Guinea.

In 2005 he presided over the Winchelsea funeral for three children killed by their father, Robert Farquharson, after he deliberately ran off the Princes Highway and into a dam.

Prosecutor Susan Penhall said the offences took places between March 2006 and February 2008.

The Hamlyn Heights resident was arrested in mid-February 2008 when police seized images of children from his home.

The court heard these included seven videos and 30 photographs of child pornography.

The search followed a complaint from a member of the public in Colac.

After his arrest the Catholic Archdiocese placed Haines on administrative leave and withdrew his right to minister as a priest.

At the time Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart said he was deeply troubled by the charges and assured parishioners of his concern for them.

When asked in court what his occupation was, Haines paused and then replied "priest''.

He was bailed to appear in late October.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.