Former Penticton police officer receives conditional discharge

Ex-Penticton RCMP officer gets conditional discharge for harassing colleague’s wife

Rachelle Blanchard had PTSD but judge said she still committed carefully thought out crime

The former Penticton RCMP officer who pleaded guilty to criminally harassing the wife of a co-worker has been handed a conditional discharge.

READ MORE: Ex-Penticton Mountie hit with lawsuit after pleading guilty to harassing fellow cop’s ex-wife

Former Const. Rachelle Blanchard, 35, appeared in Penticton Provincial Court on Monday for sentencing for a long list of actions she carried out between 2013 to 2017 that constituted criminal action. Some of the offences were also outlined in a lawsuit filed by the local officer’s now ex-wife, Gail McDiarmid.

According to the agreed statement of facts read in court, Blanchard had an affair with RCMP officer Martin Degen in 2013. Both officers were married and had children at the time.

When it became clear the relationship was not going to work out, Blanchard began harassing McDiarmi, with the intention of splitting up the marriage.

In 2016, she sent packages with lingerie and lubricant which were later followed by books for children about howto talk about divorce in 2017, the court heard.

READ MORE: Penticton man with multiple driving infractions loses appeal on ‘harsh’ sentence

In March 2017, Blanchard set up a fake email account to send a false complaint to McDiarmid’s employer at the time, Interior Health, alleging McDiarmid accessed private documents. After an investigation, Interior Health found the complaint to be unsubstantiated.

According to statements made in court, in June 2017, she impersonated McDiarmid and signed her up to a dating website and sent a stranger to her house for a date.

In his reasoning, B.C. provincial court Judge Richard Miller said Blanchard set out to “destroy her paramour’s marriage” when she realized their affair was not going to work out. He added that although she claimed to be “in a haze” during the time of her actions, they happened over a long period and required complex thinking.

Miller said when a police officer commits a crime, they should receive a harsher sentence. But, he said he did not see her actions enhanced by her special training or conditions as an RCMP officer. He added that her guilty plea and the fact that she confessed during the police investigation at the time also aided his decision for a conditional discharge.

READ MORE: Suspects charged in Penticton shooting, police standoff

“Such devious behaviour should have consequences,” Miller said who also listed what McDiarmid had said in her victim impact statement about the confusion the harassment caused, including fear for herself and her children.

In court, defence lawyer Ian McAndrews argued that Blanchard was suffering from severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) from her many years as a police officer dealing with disturbing cases. It also came to light that in 2018, Blanchard had been refused treatment for her PTSD by the RCMP.

“The last few years, and before, have been a big blur and spiral,” said Blanchard in her statement which also included an apology to her children, family and McDiarmid. “I was struggling.”

Blanchard also received one year of probation. She must keep the peace and is forbidden from owning a firearm or weapon of any sort.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: SPCA and RCMP remove several animals, including pig, at private animal rescue in Langley

Home at 5500 block of 216th Street has undergone multiple seizures over the past five years

Aldergrove’s Ethan Foster wins heptathlon in Edmonton

Foster and fellow TWU Spartan Weiss finish 1-2 at Golden Bear Open

Volunteers; the rock behind every curling tournament

Al MacKinnon leads volunteer ice cleaners at Langley’s Canadian juniors curling championships

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in lingerie store

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

Vancouver police probe second homicide in less than 24 hours

Woman was found dead in her Gastown home

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Vancouver police investigate after man found dead in vehicle

Man has not been identified and no one has been arrested

Most Read