By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Federal authorities say there is new evidence of additional crimes by a Chester County priest, already charged with engaging in sexually explicit communications with minors. Those crimes include trying to destroy evidence in that case and, more troubling, sexually abusing at least three children during his 30 years in the priesthood.
But a federal judge has ruled that Father Mark Haynes is not a danger to the community and has ordered him released on bail. Prosecutors are appealing that order.
Federal prosecutor Michelle Rotella says Haynes, most recently assigned to Ss. Simon and Jude parish, in West Chester, posed as a teenage girl and engaged in sexually explicit communications with more than two dozen minor girls.
In addition, Rotella has told the court, there is new evidence that Haynes lied and tried to destroy a laptop computer, which is now missing. More disturbing, since news of his arrest, she says, “There were people that came forward to say they had been sexually abused by him many, many years ago, for a period of years.”
But Rotella acknowledges these crimes are now outside the statute of limitations.
Defense attorney Alan Tauber says they are eager to confront the charges that have been filed and Father Haynes will plead not guilty.