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Man who castrated self given 30 years for rape

A man who castrated himself after being charged with raping and fondling his girlfriend's two daughters was sentenced Tuesday to spend 30 years in prison.

But Francis Allen Blanchard's lawyer said it's unlikely Blanchard will live to serve more than a few years of his term. Attorney John Fitzgibbons said his client suffers from complications from the castration and heart and circulatory problems stemming from a gunshot wound that partly paralyzed him years ago while he was in the Army. Blanchard appeared in court on a hospital bed wrapped in white sheets.

"It's just a very tragic case all around," Fitzgibbons said. "He doesn't have much longer to live."

Fitzgibbons and the victims' mother, who is an exotic dancer, unsuccessfully tried to persuade Judge Lynn Tepper to put Blanchard under house arrest if he agreed to turn over to the victims$1,500 a month in disability benefits he receives from the Department of Veterans Affairs and Social Security. Blanchard will lose his benefits in prison, Fitzgibbons said.

Instead, Blanchard was sentenced to a 30-year sentence, after pleading guilty to attempted sexual battery, and two consecutive 15-year sentences for lesser charges. He had faced capital sexual battery, which carries a maximum life sentence.

According to records, Blanchard met an exotic dancer at the Tanga Lounge in Tampa in 1991 and moved in with her several months later in Saint Leo.

The woman, who is not being named to protect the identity of the children, came home one day and found the girls, ages 5 and 6, in a sexual act. They told her, "Francis taught us to do that."

Blanchard was arrested in July 1991. Out on bail a month later, he checked himself into a motel in Tampa, castrated himself with a knife and flushed his sex organs down the toilet.