Police Arrest Chester County Priest Amid Sexual Abuse Investigation
October 24, 2014
Westtown Township - Police in Chester County have arrested Mark Haynes, a priest assigned to Saints Simon & Jude Parish in Westtown, Chester County, PA. He was charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse of children for possessing and disseminating child pornography.
Haynes, 55 resides at Saints Simon and Jude Rectory, 8 Cavanaugh Court where served as Parochial Vicar at Saints Simon & Jude since September 3, 2013. He was ordained in Philadelphia on May 18, 1985.
Since 1985, Haynes has been assigned to eight different parishes, including: St. Ann, Phoenixville; Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Doylestown; St. John of the Cross, Roslyn; Our Lady of Good Counsel,
Southampton; St. Pius X, Broomall; Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Morton; and Annunciation B.V.M., Havertown.
Chester County Detective Joe Walton received information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children ("NCMEC") that an Instagram account was disseminating photographs including child pornography. Instagram is a social media site that allows users to publish and share photographs.
The investigation in this case revealed that the user name on the account referenced a young female.
Under that name the user had posted two photographs of a female child under 14 years old. One photograph was of the child posing nude. The other photograph was a close-up of the child's vaginal area.
Detective Walton traced the Instagram account to the email account registered to SS Simon and Jude, 8 Cavanaugh Ct., West Chester, PA. Initially suspecting that the account might belong to a student at the parish school, Detective Walton interviewed the pastor at Saints Simon and Jude Parish.
The pastor was fully cooperative and identified the user of the email address as Rev. Mark Haynes, a parish priest who resides at the rectory.
During a follow-up portion of the investigation, Detective Walton confirmed that the Haynes had posted the child pornography to Instagram.
Detective Walton also discovered that Hayne shad received and posted a multitude of other images of child pornography and had been exchanging lewd emails with a still-to-be-identified 14 year old girl.
Haynes had been posing as a 16 year old girl in these exchanges.
District Attorney Hogan stated, "Every person who possesses child pornography is violating the rights and dignity of these young victims. Every person who disseminates child pornography is continuing the cycle of depravity that makes children around the world vulnerable. No matter whether you are rich or poor, young or old, clergy or layperson, the possession of child pornography will lead to arrest, shame, and jail."
Haynes electronic devices were seized and are being reviewed. The investigation to identify the 14 year old girl is ongoing.
Mark Haynes has been charged with felony counts of Sexual Abuse of Children -- Child Pornography and Criminal Use of a Communication Facility.
Bail was set at $200,000. Haynes was committed to Chester County Prison after failing to post bail. The parish immediately excluded him from the parish property when the crimes were discovered.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the parish have been fully cooperative with law enforcement authorities.
District Attorney Hogan added, "This investigation is ongoing. Given the number of parishes to which the defendant was assigned and his close proximity to children, we are concerned that other victims are out there. Anybody with information should come forward immediately."
Anybody with information should call Chester County Detective Joseph Walton at (610) 344-4625.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia release the following statement in response to Haynes arrest:
"The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has learned that Father Mark Haynes was arrested by Chester County Police. He was charged with two counts of dissemination of child pornography, two counts of possession of child pornography and two counts of criminal use of a communications device.
These charges are serious and disturbing. The Archdiocese is cooperating fully with law enforcement regarding this matter and remains fervently committed to preventing child abuse as well as protecting the children and young people entrusted to its care. Child pornography is a scourge that must be eradicated.
There were no prior indications that Father Haynes was involved in activity of this nature. Additionally, no allegations of sexual abuse of a minor have ever been lodged against him.
Father Haynes was immediately placed on administrative leave following his arrest and is no longer residing at Saints Simon and Jude Parish in West Chester, where he was assigned. Priests on administrative leave are not permitted to exercise their public ministry, administer any of the Sacraments, or present themselves publicly as priests.
Biographical Information on Reverend Mark J. Haynes
Father Haynes is 55 years old. He was ordained in 1985. He served at the following parishes, schools and offices: Saint Ann, Phoenixville (1985-1989); Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Doylestown (1989-1991); Chaplain, Archbishop Wood High School, Warminster (1990-1991); Office for Youth and Young Adults (1990-1992); Saint John of the Cross, Roslyn (1991-1994); Office of the Metropolitan Tribunal (1992-2001); Our Lady of Good Counsel, Southampton (1994-2000); personal leave (2000-2001); Saint Pius X, Broomall (2001-2005); Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Morton (2005-2009); Annunciation, B.V.M., Havertown (2009-2013); personal leave (2013); Saints Simon and Jude, West Chester (2013-2014); arrested and placed on administrative leave (2014).
To Make a Report
If you would like to report a violation of The Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries, contact the Archdiocesan Office for Investigations at 1-888-930-9010.
If you would like to report an allegation of sexual abuse, contact your local law enforcement agency and/or the Office for Investigations at 1-888-930-9010.
We recognize that this public notice may be painful to victims of sexual violence and exploitation. If you need support or assistance, victim services are available to you through the Victim Assistance Office of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at 1-888-800-8780 or firstname.lastname@example.org."