- Associated Press - Monday, June 8, 2015

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A suspended suburban Philadelphia priest has pleaded guilty to federal charges in a child pornography case.

The Rev. Mark Haynes pleaded guilty Monday to using the Internet to entice a minor to engage in sexual contact, possession and distribution of child pornography and destroying or concealing evidence.

Prosecutors alleged that around 2010 the 56-year-old West Chester resident posed as a 16-year-old girl named “Katie” on a teenage dating website, met minor girls online and requested that they take and send sexually explicit pictures.

“He has accepted responsibility for what he has done,” defense attorney Alan Tauber told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “He is very remorseful, and he is prepared to accept the consequences.”

Before his suspension by the archdiocese following his arrest last year, Haynes had been vicar of Saints Simon & Jude parish in Westtown Township since September 2013. Officials said he also had served in seven other suburban Philadelphia parishes.

Prosecutors said Haynes faces a mandatory minimum term of 10 years when he is sentenced Sept. 10.

A spokesman for the archdiocese said Haynes’ arrest in October was the first report they had received of potential criminal wrongdoing on his part, and officials immediately announced that he had been placed on administrative leave and was no longer living at the parish. Officials also cooperated with prosecutors, the spokesman said.

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