FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — An Indiana man was already in jail when he wrote to a prosecutor confessing to being a “serial pedophile” who was responsible for a “string of unreported molestings,” according to court documents. He noted they were federal crimes.
Donald Dustin Cornett, 43, aka “Dusty Cornett,” an admitted serial child molester, faces several related charges in Superior Court. Cornett had originally been arrested on a domestic charge and there was an outstanding warrant for failure to register as a sex or violent offender with a prior conviction.
Cornett told investigators that his partner, Jennifer K. Knowles, 36, was involved in the molestation acts. Three victims, including at least one boy, were included in sex, using sex toys and using drugs, court documents said.
Cornett was charged with felony 1 child molesting (the highest state felony) and felony 4 child molesting, child pornography possession, child exploitation and performing sex acts in the presence of a minor.
Knowles was charged with performing sex acts in the presence of a minor, neglect of a dependent and methamphetamine possession.
Cornett’s letter from jail, dated Oct. 25, 2021, was turned over to Sgt. Todd Battershell, a sex crime investigator with the Fort Wayne Police Department. In the letter, Cornett claimed that Knowles gave the victims methamphetamine and “initiated and encouraged him to molest” one of the victims, court documents said.
In November, during an interview with Battershell, Cornett said he’d molested at least eight children in three different states. Cornett told a case manager with the Department of Child Services that the matter was “extremely hard for him to talk about, but it was the right thing to do,” court documents said.
Cornett claimed he and Knowles became addicted to meth and would watch “Daddy-daughter” porn together, according to court documents.
The first victim the two allegedly groomed was a young girl whose age was not disclosed. Cornett said the girl was “bribed” into sexual activities with them, including touching. The two would engage in sexual intercourse and allow the victim to watch them, court documents said.
Cornett also confessed to molesting this victim numerous times over the past year and a half, according to court documents.
Cornett said the molestings would occur when he and Knowles were high on meth, court documents said. Although the drugs were kept in a safe, Cornett said Knowles gave the boy meth, hoping to get him diagnosed with autism “so she could obtain money from the state of Indiana,” according to court documents.
While Battershell was interviewing Cornett, he received a message that the boy had tested positive for fentanyl.
In her own interview, Knowles said she watched Cornett filming the victims, nude and prepubescent, on “numerous electronic devices,” court documents said. The phones used were a Galaxy Note 9 and Samsung 10. Knowles claimed she argued with Cornett when he left the bedroom door open intentionally so the victims could see them engaging in sex acts, the court documents said.