Interior Health's former top doc guilty of sexually assaulting boy in Alberta | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Interior Health's former top doc guilty of sexually assaulting boy in Alberta

FILE PHOTO - Interior Health's former Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Albert de Villiers will be sentenced later this year.
Image Credit: Submitted/Interior Health

Interior Health's former top doctor has been found guilty of molesting a young boy in Alberta.

Dr. Albert de Villiers was tried in the Grande Prairie Court of King's Bench where Justice Shaina Leonard found him guilty of two counts of sexual abuse against a child today, Feb. 7.

He was charged in June 2021 stemming from multiple assaults between June 15, 2018, and July 31, 2020, against the child of a family friend.

Leonard found de Villiers sexually assaulted the young victim four times within that period.

de Villiers and his wife were close with the other family. The de Villiers would host their children over for sleepovers, becoming like family.

de Villiers moved to Kelowna in 2020 when he was hired as chief medical health officer at Interior Health, a step up from his role leading Alberta Health's north zone. The families would still keep in contact often calling or texting each other until the young victim told his parents about what de Villiers did.

He told his parents de Villiers touched him and showed him pornography when he was there for sleepovers.

The family cut off contact with de Villiers and fearing they knew what he did, tried to contact them. He left the family a voicemail apologizing for what he had done, but wasn't specific, the court heard.

He told police the next day that he claimed he was apologizing because he "overstepped" and became a father-figure for the victim, not because he sexually assaulted the young victim.

Justice Leonard didn't believe his claims and said de Villiers' evidence was "inconsistent" and "frail" during the January trial.

The judge found beyond a reasonable doubt de Villiers sexually assaulted the young victim, who was under the age of 16, at least four times.

He has yet to be sentenced and that may not happen until June.

de Villiers, who resides in Kelowna, is under court ordered conditions and was forced to give up his passport.

The Interior Health Authority released a written statement today in response to the guilty verdict.

"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.

"Due to privacy laws, and the fact that the matter involving Dr. de Villiers continues to be before the courts, we are not able to provide further comment."

— This story was updated at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, with a statement from the Interior Health Authority.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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