A CHESTER COUNTY priest who has been charged with posting child pornography to Instagram admitted during questioning that he'd once posed as a teenage girl online to engage in a relationship with a 14-year-old girl, according to court documents.

When Chester County detectives received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children regarding two photos of a naked, underage girl that were posted to Instagram in April, they tracked the IP address to Ss. Simon and Jude Parish in West Chester.

Believing a student at the parish may have posted the photos, detectives interviewed the pastor who informed investigators that the email address associated with the Instagram account in question, "irishwit2@gmail.com," actually belonged to the Rev. Mark Haynes, 55, a priest who lived at the rectory, prosecutors said.

When questioned by police on Thursday, Haynes admitted that he had received about 100 images of child porn on Instagram and had sent about 50 pornographic images of children to others, according to court documents.

Haynes referred to the images as " 'lascivious pictures or videos of minors,' " police said.

He then allegedly admitted to detectives that in 2010, he joined a dating site pretending to be a 16-year-old girl and began communicating with a 14-year-old girl.

That unsuspecting teen sent Haynes about 10 videos of her masturbating, police said. Haynes told authorities that he was "addicted to viewing the images" but that he had purged his electronic devices of all child porn, according to court documents.

Authorities confiscated Haynes' electronic equipment on Thursday for forensic examination, and they are still trying to determine the identity of the 14-year-old girl in question, prosecutors said.

Haynes was charged with dissemination of child pornography, possession of child pornography and criminal use of a communications facility. He was remanded to the Chester County Prison after failing to post $200,000 bail.

"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," Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said in a statement.

According to a statement from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Haynes has served in parishes in all four of Philadelphia's suburban counties since he was ordained in 1985.

The Archdiocese has placed Haynes on administrative leave, and he is no longer living at Ss. Simon and Jude Parish.

 
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