PHILADELPHIA >> A former priest with ties to Montgomery and Chester counties was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years in federal prison for child sexual abuse and exploitation.
Mark J. Haynes, 56, of West Chester ,was a parochial vicar at Sts. Simon and Jude Parish in Westtown for about a year, until the time of his arrest, in February 2015.
Haynes pleaded guilty on June 8, 2015 to using the Internet to entice a minor to engage in sexual conduct, transfer of obscene material to a minor, distribution of child pornography, possession of child pornography, and destruction or concealment of evidence.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge R. Barclay Surrick ordered 10 years of supervised release, a fine of $15,000, and a $700 special assessment.
Around 2010, Haynes posed as a 15-year old girl named “Katie” on a teen pen pal site on Instagram. As “Katie,” Haynes would meet young teenage girls online, engage in sexual chats, and send them child pornography photos and videos in an attempt to entice them to take and send sexually explicit pictures of themselves. Haynes is also charged with distributing other images and videos of children being sexually assaulted over the Internet in 2014.
After his arrest by the Chester County Criminal Investigation Division, Haynes was released on bail. While under court supervision, Haynes duped an 86-year old friend of his mother into retrieving his computer from his apartment at the rectory at Sts. Simon and Jude. Haynes then destroyed the computer, discarding the hard drive in a dumpster in New Jersey.
At sentencing, Surrick heard testimony from victims regarding Haynes’ sexual abuse of children from his parish at Saint Ann’s in Phoenixville as far back as 1985, the year Haynes was ordained, through 1991.
Before serving as Sts. Simon and Jude’s parochial vicar, Haynes had served at parishes in Chester, Bucks, Delaware and Montgomery counties.
He was removed from his position at Sts. Simon and Jude after his arrest and placed on administrative leave by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
According to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Haynes, who was ordained in 1985, 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).
He was placed on administrative leave after his arrest in 2014.
The federal case was investigated by the FBI in conjunction with the Chester County Criminal Investigative Division. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Rotella.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.