Priest charged with posting child porn on Instagram

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Fr. Mark Haynes

WESTTOWN — A parish priest was charged Friday with possession and dissemination of child pornography.

Mark Haynes, 55, a priest assigned to Saints Simon & Jude Parish in the township, according to Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan. Haynes was charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse of children for possessing and disseminating child pornography.

“Every person who possesses child pornography is violating the rights and dignity of these young victims,” Hogan said in a statement. “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 lived at Saints Simon and Jude Rectory and served as Parochial Vicar for more than a year. He was ordained in Philadelphia on May 18, 1985. The defendant had been assigned by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to serve in parishes located in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties. Since 1985, the defendant 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.

The investigation began, authorities said, when Chester County Detective Joe Walton received information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (“NCMEC”) that an Instagram account linked to the immediate area was disseminating photographs including child pornography.

Instagram is a social media site that allows users to publish and share photographs.

Further investigation, authorities said,  revealed that the user name on the account was “Katie.” Under the name “Katie,” 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 genital area.

Walton traced the Instagram account to the email account “” That email account subscriber information was registered to SS Simon and Jude, 8 Cavanaugh Ct., West Chester, PA.

Walton initially suspected that the account might belong to a student at the parish school, and interviewed the pastor at Saints Simon and Jude Parish. The pastor was fully cooperative and identified the user of the email address as Haynes.

During a follow-up portion of the investigation, Walton reportedly confirmed that the defendant had posted the child pornography to Instagram. He also discovered that the defendant had 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, while posing as a 16-year-old girl.

The defendant’s electronic devices were seized and are being reviewed. The investigation to identify the 14 year old girl is ongoing.

The defendant has been charged with felony counts of Sexual Abuse of Children — Child Pornography and Criminal Use of a Communication Facility.
1 A criminal defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.

The defendant’s bail was set at $200,000 (10%) by Magisterial District Justice Thomas Tartaglio. The defendant 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.

“This investigation is ongoing,” Hogan said. “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.”

The case was investigated by the Chester County Detectives. Deputy District Attorney Deborah Ryan from the District Attorney’s Child Abuse Unit has been assigned to prosecute the case.

Anybody with information is asked to call Chester County Detective Joseph Walton at (610) 344-4625.

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  1. “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.”


    Words are cheap when the Philadelphia Archdiocese, its archbishop, Charles Chaput, who is Governor of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, the CC itself, and the bishops of Pennsylvania REMAIN SO STRONGLY COMMITTED TO OPPOSING PROPOSED PA STATUTE OF LIMITATION REFORM AIMED AT PROTECTING THE CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE ENTRUSTED TO ITS CARE.

    Sister Maureen Paul Turlish
    New Castle, Delaware
    Advocate for Survivors & Legislative Reform

    • bernard law says:

      The Catholic church hid 100% of the known pedophile priests that confessed their crimes, in brutal defiance of Jesus in Matt 18:6.

      Msgr Lynn TESTIFIED in court that he helped hide THIRTY-FIVE known pedophile priests in Philadelphia.

      As far as pedophilia is concerned, Catholic priests either did it or hid it.

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