Philly Priest Gets 20 Years in Prison

Click here to read, “Predator priest sentenced to 20 years in prison,” by Jeremy Roebuck, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Feb. 18, 2016.

Once again the current Pennsylvania statute of limitations fails society.


Two former parishioners came forward after Haynes’ 2014 arrest on child-pornography charges to accuse him of sexual abuse dating back more than three decades.

Their claims fell beyond the statute of limitations. But under federal sentencing guidelines the allegations could be considered by U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick in fashioning a punishment for the priest despite Haynes’ insistence that he never sexually abused anyone.

In all, prosecutors alleged that Haynes had some form of sexual contact – ranging from online conversations to molestation – with at least 30 children between 1985 and 2014. As part of Haynes’ plea deal to child-pornography charges involving two teens, the government agreed to halt any further investigation.

17 thoughts on “Philly Priest Gets 20 Years in Prison

  1. “….At sentencing, officials say the judge heard testimony from victims regarding Haynes’ sexual abuse of children from his parish at Saint Ann’s in Phoenixville as far back as 1985 through 1991….”

    John Joseph Cardinal Krol (1961–1988)
    Anthony Joseph Cardinal Bevilacqua (1988–2003)
    Justin Francis Cardinal Rigali (2003–2011)
    Charles Joseph Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. (2011–)

    Our archdiocesan leadership over the time described in court during Haynes’ sentencing.

    What allegations were known by the archdiocesan leadership and who knew about Haynes’ victims? How come parishioners, families and children throughout the diocese were not notified of the risk and danger of a clergy sexual abuser? Over these many years, why would Philadelphia archdiocesan leadership put our children at risk for such horror, devastation and life-destroying criminal behavior by a known sexual abuser?

    Michael Skiendzielewski

  2. So many thoughts on this one. This low life was the one who banned my young family member from Confirmation a few days before the made little sense at the time and just seemed to be a priest on a power trip and really what is the root of abuse…power. A few years later he was stationed at a parish and school that I drive by every day..the same parish where his crimes were discovered. When word broke of his arrest his odd behavior the few years before made more sense..this was one deranged man ..and no one noticed?

    Kate Fitzgerald this article is ripe with info on mental health and the treatment within the clerical culture..waiting for your input.
    Thank you to those who testified in court and I hope that it brought some sense of peace to know this predator is behind bars.

    1. Over the years, Haynes was given psychiatric care, two of them being in long-term facilities. During his care, it seems he spoke frankly about his history and the experience of his condition. It seems his psychiatrists spoke frankly about their diagnostic conclusions. Surely, the archdiocese was privy to both. But the archdiocese noted in its files that Haynes was being treated for anger management. The profound difference between what the archdiocese deceptively noted and the true nature of the therapeutic care going on between Haynes and his psychiatrists is outrageous, utterly reckless and irresponsible, and repugnant.

      We all know about the longstanding tension between the Church and science. A sub-chapter of it is the tension between the Church and psychiatry. Bishop Fulton Sheen said, “Catholics would not need a psychiatrist if they made a good confession.” G.K Chesterton said, “Psychoanalysis is confession without absolution.” OT and NT scripture portray God as both a punishing inflicter of mental illness and a healer of it. Priests expel demons associated with mental illness. There’s tons more… but, all in all, for centuries, the clergy have always felt empowered– through Tradition, theology, scripture, priestly skills, the sacraments, seminary education, and training– to treat mental illness. The long-held belief that the “powers” of psychiatrists pale in comparison to priestly ones instilled by God or through Holy Orders lingers. Yes, Vatican II recognized advances in psychology, biology and the social sciences. In fact, the Church’s reinvented stance on suicide is testimony to it. But the clergy’s mistrust of, and condescending attitude toward, psychiatry continues to linger, today (as it does in the general population as well). It acts as a negative force at play in dioceses and archdioceses when a member of the priesthood is placed in psychiatric care.

      According to Richard Sipe, “the clerical culture is a haven for underdeveloped and psychosexually maldeveloped men.” Bring on the secrecy! The preservation of the image of a pure and perfect priesthood has always been vital to the interests of the clerical power structure. Scandals, allegations, crimes, mental illness, “sins,” and “bad” impressions undermine the priesthood’s control and credibility. They damage the image and reputation of the priesthood AND Mother Church. Secrecy was made “sacred” after the Protestant Reformation, and the Vatican has spent centuries inculcating and maintaining it. Clearly, it acts as another negative force at play in dioceses and archdioceses when a member of the priesthood is placed in psychiatric care.

      Finally, the priesthood displays a pervasive and seemingly abject concern for the safety and well being of children. The mind boggling cold disconnect and the apparent inability to recognize the fragile and innocent personhoods of children are unfathomable. To have lost the ability to be moved by and to act in the face of crimes against children are beyond disturbing. Indeed, it’s a mental health issue unto itself. It acts as another negative force at play in dioceses and archdioceses when a member of the priesthood is placed in psychiatric care.

  3. A 20 year sentence does not seem fair when a “it” gave his victims a life sentence. It is better though then what most of us have seen happen to our abusers and that is a life of prayer and penance or nothing at all.

  4. How do we get children to understand that it isn’t proper to share these images – not blaming these victims, but there is an epidemic with sexting that needs to be addressed. Hopefully, children will read this article and understand how sick people, even priests can be

    .”But Wednesday was the first time the full scope of those sins was put on display for his victims and their relatives, some of whom sat in the courtroom gallery as prosecutors quickly flashed through dozens of pornographic images and videos found in Haynes’ possession.”

    “He immediately confessed to routinely posing as a teenage girl online to swap hundreds of pornographic images of children and attempt to persuade minors to send him graphic photos of themselves”

    At the coffee shop I make it a point to discuss the sexting issue whenever kids run into the bathroom with their camera phones. In NEPA we had professors – video conferences with naked day care children and teachers with pictures of students. Wish we could have some experts discuss these issues online so all parents can be educated how to deal with this issue. Graphic photos and videos, we are dealing with more than naked pictures of underdeveloped girls that may think another young girl is experiencing the same angst
    This is a priest that is using the power of ministry to enter the soul of his victims. I always questioned in Theology the reasoning behind the personal questions asked by priests of young confessors. This priest used that knowledge to get children to commit unspeakable acts.

    As I expressed to those victims of that teacher, thank you for putting this priest where he belongs.

  5. To ed gunn,
    Your first question above asking “how do we get children to understand that is not proper to share images” is a perfect one for me. The timing could not have been better. My teen is right here getting ready for school. I just showed her this article. Boom, she got freaked, but did admit it makes perfect sense. I know that this is not the whole topic of the article written, etc., but I give you a big Thank You, sir!

    1. LLW,

      I think you should be applauded for sharing with your daughter this article. Sadly, to keep our children safe today we must tell them the ugliness in the world around them. They have to be informed in able to protect themselves. I wish it was the old days when the only things we needed to teach our children was stranger danger, don’t play with matches and don’t eat yellow snow.

    2. LLW, when these allegations first surfaced I posted this story as others on our crime watch facebook page along with the sexting trial of a local very politically connected teacher. Live not far from SCI-Coal township prison and fear some of the inmates housed there. No one in this small town who know me have any question where I stand.

      I’ll pray for you and your daughter s the pressure to share these pictures seems to be great. I am sure the local justice system isn’t happy when I posted the details of a few plea bargains that allowed offenders to get away without registration.

      Knowing there are people like you and others on this and other sites working one step at a time to prevent sexual abuse gives me the courage to be a PIA. Though there are many others on this site that are a lot better at that that I am.
      Hardest discussions were with my daughter in grade school explaining rape after a classmate was raped and my sons so that they would not be afraid as so many to tell me if they were molested by a priest. Same discussion in the 70’s with my brothers after a few problems with priests at their high school. Guess my religious congregation didn’t realize that I could discuss this issue one on one even when they and the justice system failed and why I have so much anger towards the Catholic Church. reading the grand jury testimony and court cases I realize now why I had so much difficulty with certain individuals. The “words we do what the boys and men ask us to do” still rings in my ears – didn’t realize that some of the men were priests. Known too many Billy and Billie Does that the courts and their (children) protectors didn’t believe

  6. The now “former” Father Mark Haynes was our pastor at Annunciation B.V.M. parish in Havertown. When he arrived he was a breath of fresh air after some of our former pastor(s).He implemented new programs & seemed to rally enthusiasm that was long lacking with many of our fellow parishioners. As he continued in his ministry at Annunciation there was a growing agitation in what seemed to be a calm man. He was always in a rush to get things done and he appeared to have some sort of anger issues boiling just of his cordiality. In late 2012 my mother in law passed away and he officiated her funeral mass and was at the grave site at the cemetery in miserable weather. He expressed his sorrow for our loss. My mother in law was a fabulous mother and we were blessed to have her in our lives. Shortly there after Father Haynes just disappeared and left many of us wondering where he went. We were left in the dark having not had a pastor for months. We felt an emptiness due to having no official pastor. Finally months later we had a new pastor assigned to Annunciation and there was a relief as we then felt “complete” with a pastor. Still there was the lingering concern as to what had happened to our former pastor. When I learned of Father Mark Haynes arrest and the charges brought against him in October 2014, I was shocked as was my husband. I seriously considered for the first time in my five plus decades of life to leave the church and find another religion in the Protestant community. Never had I questioned being a Catholic like I did at that time in my life. I felt as if a giant hole opened beneath my feet and I was falling into a vast cavern where I could see no place to land my feet. It was terrible. Now a few years later some of the signs of a troubled man have become apparent to me. Father Haynes was juggling good vs. evil and evil won. The man had the makings of a good priest who would have been a well respected man. I have a daughter in her early twenties and it made my flesh crawl when I heard what Father Haynes did with those teenage girls over the internet. Once again the Catholic church ran true to form of moving a troubled man from parish to parish likely turning a blind eye on suspicious and unsavory behavior of one of their own. Thanks to mostly the behavior of men like Father Haynes my daughter and her family have left the Catholic church. Hello church…..see the real reason why so many young adults are gone from church? We have lost a generation of people who are disgusted with lies and covers ups. I view the church in a very different way and resent the fact that the prayers have changed at mass the last few years to “I have sinned through my fault my most grievous fault”. This to me is a diversionary tactic to remove sin from the priests onto the congregations that still attend Catholic mass. For what is left of the rest of my life I will now see the Catholic Church through my eyes only with the sad reality that they cannot take responsibility for having men who should have been removed from parishes for the safety and well being of our youth.

  7. Haynes received psychological treatment, including two stays in long-term mental health facilities. He seems to have been forthcoming in terms of providing information about his condition, difficulties and experiences. His psychoanalysts seem to have been forthcoming in terms of providing assessments of his condition. Surely, the archdiocese was privy to both. That the archdiocese erroneously noted in its file that Haynes was being treated for anger management, and that it continued to move Haynes from parish to parish, is outrageous, reckless, irresponsible, deceptive and repugnant. So deleterious were its actions that they amount to a crime against humanity.

    Since the Protestant Reformation, secrecy has been integral to the clerical culture. Avoiding scandal, allegations, crimes, sins and “bad” impressions that could damage the image or reputation of the priesthood has been a cult-like extreme priority. The preservation of the image of a pure and perfect priesthood is vital to maintaining the clerical power structure. Scandal, etc., undermine control and credibility. The lengths to which clerics will go to preserve the priesthood’s image, reputation and power are endless. The duty to do so is infused in them. According to Richard Sipe, “The clerical culture is a haven for underdeveloped and psychosexually maldeveloped men.” For centuries, clerics have dutifully colluded and conspired to cover it up. The appearance that this has improved or changed, today, is not the reality and will not be the reality until the priesthood is reinvented and reformed.

    One thing I am particularly interested in is the Church’s view of psychiatry. There has been a longstanding tension between it and the Church. Bishop Fulton Sheen said, “Catholics would not need a psychiatrist if they made a good confession.” G.K. Chesterton said, “Psychoanalysis is confession without absolution.” I question the Church’s acceptance of psychiatry as a valuable part of Catholic health care. I think clerics have the tendency to devalue or dismiss it, mainly because it disempowers the priesthood but also the faith. Psychiatry is a threat to both. It transfers healing powers away from priests, the sacraments, rituals, prayer, scripture, etc., repositioning them in a secular domain. The effect is that priests and the faith are, at best, relegated to playing secondary “supporting” roles in mental health care as opposed to providing the miraculous “fix.”

    Kate FitzGerald

  8. Even in this most horrible and evil of circumstances, there is treachery and deceit re psychiatric treatment for the offender. The USA RCC leadership distorts and pollutes the treatment environment and diagnoses for its own purposes and consciously misrepresents in official medical records the conditions affecting the patient.

    Some time ago, when the issue of treatment at St. John Vianney in Chester County was a topic on this site, I contacted JCAH (Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Hospitals) asking them what policies, procedures, review, quality assurance, etc. was/is in place for just such a facility where the archdiocese owns the hospital, pays the treating professionals and the patients receiving treatment are also employees of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Where in this drama are the assurances and review of the accuracy, legitimacy and validity of the diagnoses and treatment on behalf of the patient since the paying party (archdiocese) is and always has been primarily focused on protecting its own interests (read leaders and $$$$)?

    Needless to say, that inquiry re JCAH was another exercise in futility for this writer since this accrediting agency referred me to the existing policies and procedures in place for psychiatric facilities and there was no special review and quality assurance for an example such as the St. John Vianney Center.

    Now I know why I keep humming the tune and lyrics to the song, “True Colors”. For the crew at 222, this one is for you (he’s a poet and he don’t know it).

    But I see your true colors
    Shining through
    I see your true colors
    And that’s why I +++++ you.

    Michael Skiendzielewski

  9. Amazing that after is arrest he was able to get “seasonal” work at Macy’s in Willow Grove. His LinkedIn profile states that he “supervised a team of 20 members” and he “Interacted and assisted customers influencing their purchases.” Great job Marcy’s with screening your seasonal employees. Oh and he was also able to get his paralegal certificate before he when to the slammer.

    Check it out for yourself.

    1. Right it does keep calculating for the last post he had, which was a student. But before that as he was out on bail. he was working at Marcy’s during the holidays.

      What company would put him in charge of 20 employees and have him interacting with customers (potentially young girls) after being arrested with felony counts of sexual abuse of children via child pornography and criminal use of a communication facility?? Especially a large company like Macy’s?

      1. All so strange…the delusions involved to even create a page when he was headed to prison. I wonder if charges show up on a background check before actual prosecution

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