Sexual predator poses 'high risk' for future violence, psychologist says

Lance Blanchard has a history of violence that dates back to the 1970s and includes sexual attacks on both boys and girls, a psychologist testified Tuesday at a dangerous offender hearing.

Dr. Andrew Haag said he considers Blanchard “a high risk for future violence.”

Haag told Crown prosecutor Chantelle Washenfelder he reviewed numerous reports written by other psychologists who treated Blanchard over the years.

He said he wanted to do a face-to-face interview with Blanchard, 60, but the inmate denied his request. 

Among Blanchard’s convictions are two sexual assaults, one at knife-point on a 12-year-old girl and another on an 11-year-old boy. Haag said in both attacks “the degree of violence was significant.”

Over a period of five days in 1975 Blanchard kept the boy in an isolated area, committed sexual acts on him, then violently assaulted him.

Other convictions included unlawful confinement in 1980 and a manslaughter conviction for a jailhouse killing carried out with three other offenders. 

“To have this many people involved in manslaughter would have required a great deal of organization,” Haag said.

Blanchard’s most recent convictions gained national attention in 2016 when he was found guilty of aggravated assault, aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping, forcible confinement, possession of a weapon and uttering a death threat.

All the convictions were related to a 2014 attack on a woman the CBC referred to using the pseudonym Angela Cardinal.

Alberta Justice ordered two reviews of the case after CBC News revealed that a judge had ordered Cardinal to be incarcerated during her attacker’s preliminary hearing, due to concerns about her mental and physical health. 

The 28-year-old woman died months later in an unrelated shooting.

Between 1976 and 1995, Blanchard was involved in numerous institutional incidents, Haag said. The inmate was transferred to various locations and frequently placed in segregation, often voluntarily.

Blanchard’s behaviour while incarcerated suggests he has an anti-social personality disorder and suffers from paranoia, Haag said.

While at Alberta Hospital, Blanchard has shown signs of being aggressive, argumentative, violent and selfish, the psychologist said.

Between 2002 and 2013, institutional records show Blanchard began taking anger management courses. But Haag said Blanchard continued to consistently ask to be placed in a segregation unit.

The Crown applied to have Blanchard declared a dangerous offender, a rare designation reserved for Canada’s most violent criminals and sexual predators.

The Crown must show there is a high risk that Blanchard will commit violent or sexual offences in the future.

If declared a dangerous offender, he would be given an indeterminate sentence with no chance of parole for seven years. He could spend the rest of his life in prison.

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