By Charlie Senack
Eric Post, a veteran Ottawa Police Officer, has resigned after pleading guilty to five charges relating to violence against women.
The 50-year-old Barrhaven resident resigned on March 31 as part of a plea deal that will spare him jail time and avoid trial.
Post was originally arrested and charged in the fall 2018 with 32 offences coming from seven women. The charges included sexual assault, forcible confinement, and uttering threats. Post was then suspended with pay from the Ottawa Police Service for two and a half years.
During a virtual court hearing on April 1, Post pleaded guilty to four charges of assault and one charge of uttering threats. The charges were from four of the seven women. The additional 27 charges were dropped, which included charges relating to one woman who died by suicide in September, 2020.
Ontario Court Justice Robert Wadden told the virtual courtroom that Post abused his position of authority and used it to obtain psychological control and domination of his victims.
Three women issued victim impact statements during the hearing and expressed some of the gruelling and controlling behaviour they dealt with from Post. Even now, years after the alleged incidents occurred, they say they still live in fear.
The victims’ identities are protected by a court-ordered publication ban. The Barrhaven Independent has decided to call one of the women Anna as a pseudonym.
“You touched me without permission and you did so aggressively,” said one victim in her impact statement. “You did all that while believing that you were entitled to treat and act that way because you were a man and a police officer.
“On my way home, I was still trying to process all that had happened; your hands on my throat, you saying you weren’t sure if you wanted to choke me or kiss me,” she added. “You telling me so many times that all your police gear, including your gun, was in your car, your whole demeanour about women and how police officers are untouchable.”
The third woman to read her victim impact statement lives in the same Barrhaven neighborhood as Post. Anna, as the Barrhaven Independent is calling her, told the court that Post threatened to burn her house down; just one of many alleged threats she faced over the span of a few years.
Anna was the first woman to file a complaint against Post and dated the former cop on and off for about three years. The two first met on a dating site called ‘Plenty of Fish’.
Anna, who is a kindergarten teacher at a downtown elementary school, said her workplace had to implement a safety plan in case Post entered the building. In a previous interview with CBC’s The Fifth Estate, Anna said Post would show up unannounced at her school and would walk into her class in uniform unannounced.
Anna said one day Post brought her flowers and said he would shoot her and burn her house down. Even now, years after, the kindergarten teacher says she won’t do recess duty at school for fear of her safety.
It’s just one of many abusive experiences the now Barrhaven resident says she faced with Post.
In March 2014, while the couple was vacationing in Mexico, Anna said Post made a scene when she was trying on an expensive pair of sunglasses. She said another traveller saw the fight and followed her into the bathroom to see if she needed help. She said the traveller slipped her a piece of paper under the bathroom stall which read, “No one should treat you like that. What I witnessed in the airport was frightening. You are loved.” The traveller also wrote down her name and number in case the woman was in danger.
On many other occasions, Anna alleged Post would block her from leaving her home. He would grab her wrists and arms — sometimes leaving her with bruises. Objects such as books and keys would also be thrown at her.
In 2015, bystanders called police after Post was seen screaming and grabbing Anna’s arms in a Walmart parking lot as she tried to load groceries into the car. When police arrived, she said Post was able to make it seem like he just overreacted.
Anna says since Post was a police officer, she believes police wanted to protect one of their own. “They made excuses for him,” she told the CBC.
Post only pleaded guilty to one of the charges the Barrhaven woman made against him — it was for grabbing the wrists of the woman and throwing keys at her. The other charges, which included unlawful confinement, criminal harassment and breach of trust, were all dropped.
Post was ordered to hand in a sample of his DNA, is not allowed to be near any of his victims, and has been banned from working as a police officer in Canada.
The judge said that the plea spared a trial which would bring trauma to the victims. He hopes it will give them and the community a sense of closure.
Following Post’s resignation, Ottawa Police Services released a statement which confirmed the news. Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly said he has long advocated for amendments to the public service act to allow for suspension without pay for egregious misconduct/criminality.
“Regardless of the criminal court process in this matter and Post’s resignation yesterday, it was the intention of the OPS to pursue disciplinary charges via a formal PSA prosecution with the goal to terminate his employment,” said Chief Sloly.
“There is no place in the OPS or in the policing profession for such people and we are actively taking steps to root them out while remediating the harm they have caused to our community and our Service,” he added. “On behalf of the OPS, I want to recognize the victimization and resulting trauma caused by Post to all the survivors. This trauma was compounded by elements of the investigative and court process that we know has a substantial emotional toll on those who come forward.”
A full internal review “of everything associated with the case” will also take place by Ottawa Police.