Philly priest gets 20 years for child porn charges

By Sam Newhouse
February 17, 2016

Mark John Haynes

A Catholic priest from the Philadelphia area who pleaded guilty to child porn charges last year was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Wednesday.

Mark John Haynes, 56, a former priest at Saint Simon and Jude Church in West Chester, Pennsylvania, was arrested after federal investigators tracked child porn to a church computer — which he later destroyed in an attempt to conceal evidence.

He got two decades in prison after pleading guilty to child porn, destruction of evidence, and using the Internet to entice a minor to engage in sexual conduct.

In 2010, Haynes created accounts for an imaginary 15-year-old-girl named Katie on social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and dating sites. 

Haynes used this fake identity to "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," prosecutors said — possibly communicating with as many as 25 minors.

Prosecutors located one victim, a 13-year-old girl, who confirmed that she was convinced to send "Katie" 10 videos of herself masturbating.

Prosecutors further convicted Haynes of destroying his computer while out on bail after being arrested in 2014.

"Haynes duped an 86-year-old friend of his mother into retrieving his computer from his apartment at the rectory at Saint Simon and Jude's," a statement from federal prosecutors said. "Haynes then destroyed the computer, discarding the hard drive in a dumpster in New Jersey."

Witnesses testified at Haynes' sentencing hearing that he had sexually abused children at a parish at Saint Ann's in Phoenixville between 1985 and 1991. Those witnesses first came forward after Haynes was arrested in 2014.

One of those female victims told authorities Haynes forced her to perform oral sex on him in a confessional after she confessed to having oral sex with a teenage boy.



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