PENTICTON, B.C. — A former RCMP officer who pleaded guilty to harassing the wife of her ex-lover, has been handed a conditional discharge in provincial court in Penticton, B.C.
Rachelle Blanchard was sentenced Monday and was also placed on probation for one year, ordered to have no contact with the victim and serve 50 hours of community service.
The conviction will be wiped from her record in three years if she complies with the sentencing conditions.
Blanchard's lawyer told the court his 35-year-old client was operating in "a fog" as a result of work-related trauma, but Judge Richard Miller found the "crime was not impulsive nor spontaneous" and its impact on the victim was "intended and devastating."
However, Miller also ruled the former constable did not use her position as a police officer to carry out the harassment, which included sending the victim text messages, children's books about divorce and deliveries of lingerie and personal lubricant.
Blanchard admitted to harassing Gail McDiarmid over an 11-month period when McDiarmid was married to Penticton RCMP Const. Martin Degen, who had ended a three-year affair with Blanchard just before the harassment began.
In seeking the conditional sentence, Crown attorney Don Montrichard told the court Blanchard began the harassment in an attempt "to promote the breakdown" of Degen's marriage.
Degen remains on administrative leave and has not been charged in the case due to what Montrichard described as an "insufficiency of evidence," although he also told the court it appears Degen "may have obstructed the investigation."
Blanchard's lawyer unsuccessfully sought an absolute discharge with no probation, noting Blanchard was medically discharged by the force in 2018 after a diagnosis of severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder brought on by the cumulative effects of her police work.
That included taking a father into custody after the man had just seen his teenage son step in front of a truck and die by suicide and dealing with work-related stress compounded by institutionalized sexual harassment within the RCMP, the court heard.
Blanchard apologized for her actions before sentence was passed. (Penticton Herald)
This report from The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 8, 2019