Priest pleads guilty to child exploitation charges
PHILADELPHIA, PA — Mark Haynes, 56 years of age, of West Chester, PA, pleaded guilty to all counts contained in a superseding information charging child exploitation. Haynes, a former parochial Vicar, pleaded guilty 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. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 10, 2015. Haynes faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison with a maximum sentence of life, possible fines, and at least five years up to a lifetime of supervised release.
According to court documents, around 2010, Haynes posed as a 16-year old girl named “Katie” on a teen dating website. As “Katie,” Haynes would meet minor girls online and allegedly request that they take and send sexually explicit pictures. Haynes is also charged with distributing other images and videos of children being sexually assaulted over the Internet in 2014, again posing as “Katie.”
The case was investigated by the FBI in conjunction with the Chester County Criminal Investigative Division. It is being 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.