Interior Health ends employment of former top doctor convicted of sexual assault
The former chief medical officer for Interior Health who was convicted this week for sexually assaulting a child has lost his job.
Interior Health said in an emailed statement that it could “confirm that as of (Tuesday), Dr. Albert de Villiers is no longer an employee of Interior Health.”
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“Given the leadership and public-facing role of the chief medical health officer, and the critical importance for the incumbent to comply with all respects of professional standards, it is Interior Health’s position that a person convicted of criminal charges of this nature is unable to fulfill the duties of the position,” read the statement.
De Villiers held the top medical position at the health authority that covers B.C.’s Southern Interior until sex assault charges were laid June 8, 2021, and he was placed on general paid leave until Oct. 3, 2021.
Upon return to work on Oct. 4, 2021, he was reassigned to administrative duties, according to Interior Health.
They were roles he was well compensated for. Publicly available financial disclosure documents indicate that de Villiers received a base salary of $189,958 in the 2021-22 fiscal year, which ended in March 2022.
Child sex assault trial for Interior Health’s former top doctor underway in Alberta
He also earned more than $22,433 in benefits, more than $27,000 toward his pension and more than $89,000 in paid leave.
During that term, he also received $31,477 in other, unspecified, compensation.
De Villiers was in his position as a top doctor for less than a year before June 8, 2021, when he was arrested in Kelowna on a warrant from Alberta that followed an investigation by the Grande Prairie Special Investigative Unit.
Alberta Court of King’s Bench Justice Shaina Leonard convicted de Villiers on charges of sexual assault and sexual interference on Tuesday in the northern Alberta city.
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At the time that the crimes were committed, he was a medical officer of health for AHS.
During the course of a three-day trial in January, Leonard heard evidence from the boy at the centre of the charge, his parents, a police officer and de Villiers himself.
The boy said he and his sibling had spent the night at de Villiers’ home together a couple of times and he had stayed there alone four or five times.
In video testimony recorded in 2021, when the allegations were made to police, the boy said that on more than one occasion on his solo sleepover, he was shown nudity on a tablet. He said he’d been asked to touch de Villiers sexually and he also was touched sexually.
Former IH top doctor convicted of sexual assault
De Villiers moved away from the town where the boy’s family lived, but they maintained weekly contact through video calls.
During one of these calls, the boy testified that de Villiers once asked him if his penis had gotten bigger. Shortly thereafter, the family learned what had transpired and cut off contact and went to police.
De Villiers is still in Kelowna and has surrendered his passport and is not permitted to have one until he’s sentenced.
A sentencing date will be set on Feb. 13, at 2 p.m., and de Villiers is expected to appear in court for that appearance.
De Villiers is also facing separate child sex charges for allegations said to have occurred between January 2017 and December 2019 in Alberta. He’s scheduled to face trial on those charges in August.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, support is available:
- The Department of Justice Victim Services Directory includes a list of support services in your area.
- Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free) Available 24/7 or Text CONNECT 686868
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