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

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Bella Coola Heli Sports now offering yacht-based heliskiing starting at $319K

BCHS has partnered with Maple Leaf Adventures and the MV Cascadia

Liberals and Greens yet to announce North Coast candidates

North Coast candidates have until two weeks before the election to name contenders

Nimpkish sold as Northern Sea Wolf resumes central coast route

The sale of the Nimpkish was official as of Sept. 20, 2020

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Most Read