UPDATE: Interior's Chief Medical Health officer replaced after sexual assault charge | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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UPDATE: Interior's Chief Medical Health officer replaced after sexual assault charge

Interior Health's Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Albert de Villiers
Image Credit: Submitted/Interior Health
June 09, 2021 - 12:00 PM

More information on the charges against Dr. Albert Stefanus de Villiers, who was until yesterday was the chief medical health officer of Interior Health, has been made available from the Alberta courts.

The charges of sexual assault and sexual interference, according to court documents, took place between June 15, 2018, and July 31, 2020, near Grande Prairie.

Information on the charge alleges that de Villiers unlawfully committed a sexual assault upon the victim between those dates and the interference charge alleges that de Villiers “did for a sexual purpose, unlawfully touch, directly or indirectly, with a part of the body or with an object, a part of the body (of) a person under the age of 16 years old.”

READ MORE: Top doctor arrested in Kelowna

Grande Prairie RCMP said in a press release that a report was received on May 28 of sexual offences against a young child that had allegedly taken place between 2018 and 2020. The Grande Prairie RCMP Special Investigative Unit initiated an investigation into the allegations with assistance from the Grande Prairie Caribou Centre.

De Villiers was arrested June 8, in Kelowna with assistance from Kelowna RCMP. He was in custody overnight and today, June 9, released on a release order by consent, in the amount of $1,500 with no cash deposit or surety, with conditions.

His next court appearance is June 30 in Grande Prairie, at 9 a.m.

Interior Health seems to have already erased Dr. de Villiers from its website but said in an emailed statement they will be appointing a temporary interim Chief Medical Health Officer today, June 9, to function for the week.

“Dr. Sue Pollock will be in the position starting next week. All further questions should be directed to the RCMP,” Interior Health said in a statement.

Health Minister Adrian Dix did address the issue briefly this morning in a scrum with the media. He told reporters that the pending court case would not affect the region's delivery of COVID-19 vaccines and that the doctors taking over for de Villiers had a wealth of experience.

"These are serious charges, of course, and they are very concerning to us and obviously for everyone at Interior Health," he said. "In particular the individual is now on leave."

Dr. de Villiers took over as chief medical health officer of Interior Health in August 2020.

Previously he worked out of Grande Prairie as the lead medical health officer with Alberta’s north zone. He originally came to Canada from South Africa.

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