Jury Deliberating In Post Trial
MAYVILLE – The fate of a northern Chautauqua County man is now in the hands of a jury.
Thursday afternoon, County Court Judge David Foley charged the jury to decide whether they believe 27-year-old Dustin Post should be found guilty or not guilty with regard to the nine indictments against him, all involving sexual misconduct or attempted sexual misconduct against six children.
Before the charge, closing statements were issued.
The defense went first, which took about an hour.
Public defender Nathaniel Barone criticized the video made of Post with officers at the State Police headquarters. “That’s not good enough in a court of law,” he said, adding, “There’s reasons why people lie.”
Barone argued that the prosecution didn’t demonstrate corroboration. “This is when our justice system is put to the test so innocent men and women aren’t convicted for something they haven’t done,” he said.
Barone noted there wasn’t forensic evidence or third party witnesses.
In terms of the victims, he brought up inconsistencies between what Post said on the video and what the young girls reported in court. He felt those inconsistencies should require the jury to throw out their testimonies. “Otherwise someone is being convicted of something they didn’t do,” he said.
He called on jurors to “have the strength to set aside your emotions” and find his client not guilty.
The only objection the prosecution made was when Barone questioned the Child Advocacy Program where many of the children stated for the first time that they had been abused. Foley permitted the statement made by Barone but told him to “move on.”
Barone had also noted there were several years between the time of the alleged events and when they were reported.
After Barone finished, District Attorney Jason Schmidt gave the closing for the prosecution. He spoke for about an hour and 10 minutes.
Schmidt reminded the jury that there were audio and video statements of Post confessing what he had done, along with videos made by Post abusing his victims which they had watched.
He noted that the investigators never made any promises but were calm and invited Post to share what had happened. “You need to decide if those were his words and if he gave them voluntarily,” he said.
Along with the video evidence, Schmidt noted how several children and their mothers testified which generally matched up with what Post told investigators. He agreed that the timing or the specific acts weren’t exactly the same, but that should demonstrate that the children weren’t told what to say; they simply shared what they remembered.
Multiple times Barone objected to Schmidt’s closing, but for the most part Foley allowed Schmidt to make his points.
At one point Schmidt pulled out an art easel and paper pad, angling it for the jury to see the names of the victims and the crimes that were committed against them.
He detailed the type of sexual conduct each young girl had endured.
He didn’t deny that the children took a while before sharing about what had happened to them, but said children don’t easily come forward with these types of incidents. “The issue is whether what they told you was true and accurate,” he said.
Schmidt also said the children have no reason to lie about what had happened. “Nothing developed at trial would suggest this,” he said.
After listening to the attorneys, following a break for lunch jurors were given instructions by Foley and then began deliberations.
Following an hour and a half of deliberations, the jury requested a transcript be read from the first girl who testified.
After listening to her words read back, jurors rewatched Post’s interview with state police where he talked about how and when he sexually assaulted the girl, who was around 7 years old at the time. This took about an hour.
Once that was finished Foley said he was sending jurors home for the night and ordered them to report back Friday morning.
Post was sentenced in February 2022 to 50 years in prison after being convicted on federal charges of production and possession of child pornography. He has remained in the Chautauqua County Jail for these charges involving several children. The trial began Thursday, Jan. 26.