By gaining mom’s trust, Post had access to daughter
A mother’s worst nightmare had its beginnings with innocent casual late-night conversations at a north county establishment. During these talks, she and a niece would become acquainted with Dustin Post. On a number of nights, the group would “just hang out … and joke.”
That relationship, however, grew into days and months to include more individuals, specifically a young daughter. “Me and my kids started inviting him to different parks to play basketball and go swimming,” she said. “So we started talking about being a couple and getting together. I trusted him.”
Post, 25, is now one of the most notorious and disturbing criminals in recent years from Chautauqua County. The former Fredonia and Silver Creek resident has already pleaded guilty to production and possession of child pornography. On those charges alone, he faces a 25- to 50-year sentence in prison.
Additionally, in late May, county District Attorney Jason Schmidt unsealed a 24-count indictment against Post that included 11 separate crimes of predatory sexual assault against a child, nine separate crimes of first-degree criminal sexual act, and first-degree rape.
According to Schmidt, the crimes described are alleged to have been committed against multiple children who ranged in ages of one to 12 in northern Chautauqua County. They span the period between September 2015 and August 2019.
“Where there is evidence of a crime, my office will fight for the victims of those crimes,” Schmidt said in a press conference on May 26 in Mayville. “No segment of our community is more precious to us and more vulnerable to those who prey on the weak than children. We as a society are responsible for protecting our children who, often times, are defenseless and are most at risk of being abused.”
Post, according to this mother who is not being identified by The Post-Journal and OBSERVER, appeared to thrive on building relationships of those with connections to young females. In this case, he offered an invitation to the woman to have her daughter attend a birthday party that would be hosted at a family residence.
“I didn’t think nothing of it,” said the mom, who came forward with the hopes of sharing her story so other parents and families could be aware of how those who prey on the young do so with evil blatant disregard. “My daughter was OK going. She was comfortable.”
It was at this alleged party the incident occurred.
One week later, a frantic mother and one of her friends happened to find inappropriate photos on a phone. The mom addressed the incident with her young daughter immediately.
Reluctantly, the girl who is under age 10, informed her mother of the sordid details that included being assaulted while being blindfolded and videotaped. “I was in shock in at that point, so I started bawling,” the mother said.
Their next step was one of the most important: reaching out to law enforcement. “(The daughter) told the State Police what happened in detail,” the mom said. “I identified (Post) in the trooper car on the computer.”
A young girl’s admission and courage may have been a huge break in this dastardly case. Tracy Brunecz, first assistant county district attorney, noted the pain and stigma that comes with these incidents.
“Sexual assaults perpetrated against children are amongst the least reported crimes and the most difficult cases to prosecute because of the pain and trauma that the victims and their families endure — before, during and after the legal process,” she said. “However, these cases are also amongst the most rewarding to prosecute because, despite that pain and trauma, you see these same victims and families gather strength and eventual healing because they had the courage to speak out and confront their perpetrator.”
But no matter how brave, the victim has been scarred. She and her mother are currently going through trauma counseling and being assisted by the Child Advocacy Program of Chautauqua County, which assists in abuse cases with youth.
“She understood (Post) was going away for life,” the mother said. “All she said was she never wants to see him again. … Even now when she tries to block it out … she says she doesn’t want to talk. She’s trying to forget.”
It is a horrific reality for this mother and child as well as others who have been victimized by Post. For now, however, this mom knows how important it was for her daughter came forward.
“I will be by her side every step of the way. She is the bravest little girl I know,” she said. “I am so proud of her for what she has done. … She still is as strong as ever.”
As for Post, he will find out his prison term during sentencing in federal court that is set for Oct. 1.
Gregory Bacon of the OBSERVER and The Post-Journal contributed to this story.