Police officer who pleaded guilty to assaulting women resigns, gets probation
Eric Post pleaded guilty to 5 charges related to violence against women
A former Ottawa police constable has been given a three-year probationary sentence after pleading guilty to five charges related to violence against four women.
Eric Post, 50, resigned from the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) on Wednesday, a day before he was sentenced. Post had been suspended with pay for two and half years.
In his remarks, Ontario Court Justice Robert Wadden stated that Post "abused his position as a policeman as a means of obtaining psychological control and domination of his victims." The judge accepted the joint sentencing recommendation made by the Crown and defence.
When Post was arrested in the fall of 2018, police charged him with 32 offences related to seven women. The charges included sexual assault, forcible confinement and uttering threats. The victims' identities are protected by a court ordered publication ban.
During a virtual court hearing Thursday, Post pleaded guilty to four charges of assault and one charge of uttering threats.
"This sentence that will be imposed on Mr. Post will provide a sense of certainty and I hope closure," said Wadden.
In the plea deal, convictions were secured on five counts pertaining to four women and 27 charges were dropped, including charges pertaining to one woman who died by suicide last September.
In court, Crown attorney Julie Scott said the decision to not proceed on those charges which included sexual assault and pointing a firearm, was because the woman did not want to move forward.
As part of his sentence, Post must provide a DNA sample, is prohibited from owning weapons and cannot communicate with the complainants and their families.
Victim impact statements
Three women issued victim impact statements.
Jane, as CBC has called her in previous stories, said the sentence is insufficient. Jane dated Post for five months. He was convicted of one count of assault against her, and one count of uttering threats.
"Until [Post] accepts full responsibility for the damage, hurt and trauma he has inflicted upon myself and others by accepting all charges brought against him, I will continue to struggle to rebuild part of my life that came undone due to him."
In her statement, Jane said she has moved several times out of fear of running into Post and can only sleep with the lights on. She said she has lost the version of herself who was "independent, sociable and hardworking."
"I feel beaten down and exhausted and I am filled with anger that he is able to go home, wake up and put all this behind him," Jane said as her voice cracked with emotion.
Two other women asked Scott to read their statements.
Eric Post gets a three-year probation for years of torture? I'm thinking this must be an April fools joke?- Victim to CBC
One woman, who went on one date with Post described how he texted and called her constantly after she told him she didn't want to see him again. She said Post belittled her and grabbed her by the throat, telling her he didn't know if he wanted to choke her or kiss her.
"I had to remind myself to breathe for the rest of the date," she said.
She said Post repeatedly told her he was a "police officer and untouchable." She now sleeps with her bedroom door locked and added an alarm system to her home.
"I have a hard time trusting police officers. When I see one, I wonder if they will hurt me," the woman said in her statement.
The third woman, which CBC has called Leah in previous stories, recounted how Post threatened to burn her house down and how her workplace implemented a safety plan if he walked into the building. She had first reported Post to Ottawa police in 2017, but the force didn't proceed with charges.
In a text message to CBC following Post's sentencing, she wrote: "Eric Post gets a three-year probation for years of torture? I'm thinking this must be an April fools joke? There were multiple victims and long-term damage on each of us. I'm not sure I have faith in our system anymore."
Ottawa police launching review
In making his arguments for the probationary sentence, Post's lawyer Tony Paciocco said that there were no physical injuries on the women but acknowledged there were "lasting emotional and psychological impacts."
Paciocco painted a picture of what life has been like for Post since his arrest on Sept. 19, 2018. He spent 14 days in solitary confinement and after he got bail, he had to wear an ankle monitor and was forced to move in with his mother so she could be his surety.
"Post has identified as a police officer and now his identity is lost ... Eric has not only lost his job, but he's lost his friends," said Paciocco.
Two hours after Post was sentenced on Thursday, police put out a news release about his resignation.
Police said that the provisions of the Police Services Act prevented the force from immediately terminating Post's employment without a hearing process.
In the statement, Chief Peter Sloly said that now that Post has left the police, he will launch a full internal review of "everything associated with the case."
The goal, Sloly said, is to "better prevent such a terrible and tragic set of circumstances from ever occurring again in the future."