Former Interior Health doctor received $346,000 salary after sexual assault arrest

When Dr. Albert de Villiers received the charges, he worked as Interior Health's chief medical health officer from the summer of 2020 to June 2021.

Former Interior Health doctor received $346,000 salary after sexual assault arrest
Interior Health
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Interior Health's former top doctor received a two-year peace bond last month for sex-related charges — the second disturbing case involving him and a minor.

Dr. Albert de Villiers stood trial in Grande Prairie court on October 13 to receive his verdict for voyeurism, making sexually explicit material available to a child, and invitation to sexual touching.

De Villiers ultimately received a $2,000 peace bond on the condition he never contacts the victims or their families and does not consume alcohol or drugs.

The justice presiding over his case withdrew all charges against the defendant as he is already serving a five-and-a-half-year sentence for committing a sexual assault against another underage victim.

In February, Alberta Court of King's Bench Justice Shaina Leonard convicted de Villiers of sexually assaulting a child and sexual interference over multiple incidents between 2018 and 2020 in Grande Prairie.

The second incident involving a child happened between January 2017 and December 2019. They arrested him in June 2021 for questioning.

When he received the charges, he worked as Interior Health's chief medical health officer from the summer of 2020 to June 2021.

However, De Villiers received his salary of $346,000 for a full year after his arrest for the sexual assault of a child, reported the Vancouver Sun.

During question period on October 17, B.C. United health critic Shirley Bond condemned this “egregious and indefensible use of taxpayer money.”

“This individual was arrested in June 2021. Yet amid horrifying charges, he was inexplicably allowed to return to work and continue to collect his six-figure salary,” she said.

“Even after his arrest, he continued to receive $20,000 in benefits, $24,000 in pension and $50,000 in vacation pay.”

“In this case, Dr. de Villiers was found responsible, was found guilty and he was immediately fired,” replied Health Minister Adrian Dix.

Before moving to the Okanagan, de Villiers worked as a medical health officer for Alberta Health Services (AHS) for 16 years — at the time he committed the sex crime.

Also in Grande Prairie, the trial, which ran from January 10 to 12, included testimony from the victim, who's now 11 years old, the child's parents, and de Villiers himself.

Any information that could identify the victim is protected under a publication ban.

According to court proceedings, the child told his mother in May 2021 that de Villiers had previously shown him pornographic videos during several sleepovers and touched his penis.

The child said the disgraced doctor had put his mouth on the child's penis and told him not to say to his parents what had transpired.

The child, who was between seven and nine years old when the crimes occurred, informed the police they happened repeatedly.

The victim clarified in court that de Villiers manipulated him during the incidents.

During her closing statements, Crown prosecutor Amber Pickrell focused on a voicemail de Villiers left for the child's father in June 2021, after the child's family had stopped returning his calls and blocked him on social media.

Pickrell read a copy of the voicemail transcript in court, where de Villiers said he would not have further contact with the victim's family and should have come forward with what he did.

“All I can say is that I will not have contact with you again [...] I am extremely sorry that what happened did happen, and [I] know [I] should have come to you earlier to tell you what happened,” said de Villiers.

“It's just [one] thing that leads to another, and [what] I did was wrong. I take responsibility for what I have done wrong.”

Though he denied the allegations against him, Leonard determined the former doctor sexually assaulted the child five to eight times and convicted him of sexual interference and sexual assault.

Due to the “Kienapple principle,” which states a person cannot be convicted of two offences due to the same act, the sexual assault charge stayed.

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