Former Penticton police officer receives conditional discharge

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

An Island Health graph showing COVID-19 cases in the central Island by local health area between Dec. 27 and Jan. 23. (Island Health image)
Central Island’s COVID-19 case spike shifting, says Island Health

Cowichan Valley has seen the highest number of cases, but Nanaimo and south Island seeing upticks

Extensive water on No. 4 and 5 at the Mount Brenton Golf Course following heavy rains earlier this month. (Photo submitted)
Mount Brenton Golf Course does a booming business in 2020

A total of 15,000 more rounds played than the previous year

The memorial site for double-murder victims Nellie Williams and Fran Shurie, located in Charles Hoey Park, will be allowed to stay for another two months after the City of Duncan changed its policy on temporary memorials. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Duncan allows temporary memorials to stay longer

Policy change related to memorial for double-homicide victims in city park

Snow is sticking to the ground on Malahat Drive at Shawnigan Lake Road. (Drive BC)
Snowfall warning issued for Malahat

10 centimetres of snow expected between Goldstream and Mill Bay

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at B.C. legislature on the province’s mass vaccination plan for COVID-19, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 quarantine not an option for B.C., John Horgan says

Apres-ski parties increase risk, not interprovincial travel

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Worker at Swartz Bay terminal on Monday, January 20, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Former BC Ferries employee alleges he was fired because of his race

Imraan Goondiwala has been granted a BC Human Rights Tribunal hearing

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker have been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
B.C. couple who travelled to Yukon for COVID vaccine ineligible for 2nd dose until summer

Health officials planning new measures to ensure people verify where they live before inoculation

(File)
Mask dispute in court leaves Vancouver cop with broken leg

Man allegedly refused to put on a mask and resisted arrest

(Kraft Dinner/Twitter)
Kraft Dinner launches candy-flavoured mac and cheese just in time for Valentine’s Day

Sweet and cheesy treat will be here just in time for the cheesiest holiday of the year

SAR crews worked late into the night Tuesday to rescue an injured snowboarder in North Vancouver. (Facebook/North Shore Rescue)
Complicated, dangerous rescue saves man in avalanche near Cypress Mountain

North Shore SAR team braves considerable conditions to reach injured snowboarder

Most Read