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

Climate change event coming to Kelowna next Wednesday

Panel experts will discuss how the Okanagan can adapt to climate change in the years ahead

Police search for owner of another icy sailboat on Okanagan Lake

The frozen vessel was spotted near the 800 block of Manhattan Drive in Kelowna

Chilliwack on the map for Salmon Arm Roots and Blues

Canadian music legends confirmed for 28th annual music festival

Central Okanagan film “Love in Winterland” released on demand

The movie was produced up at Big White late last year

Kelowna author Irwin Wislesky to release science-fiction novel on time travel

Invisible Footprints in Time follows Maxine Samuels and her quest back in time to save the future

VIDEO: Soldiers trade rifles for snow shovels to help dig out St. John’s

A state of emergency is set to extend into a fifth day

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

North Okanagan woman pleas for return of stolen scooter

‘It’s been another kick in the teeth… how do you get ahead and keep your head above water?’

Volunteer spends hundreds of hours restoring piece of railway history

Revelstoke Railway Museum now home to an authentic Kalamazzo No. 2 Section Handcar

Future of Penticton francophone school secured following funding announcement

$11.5M in funding means École Entre-lacs now independently owned and operated

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

City of Vernon to redirect reclaimed water into Okanagan Lake

MacKay Reservoir nears capacity; city to reflow water into lake near Kin Beach

‘It was just so fast’: B.C. teen recalls 150-metre fall down Oregon mountain

Surrey’s Gurbaz Singh broke his leg on Mount Hood on Dec. 30

Most Read