According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the senior medical officer for British Columbia’s Interior Health has been detained and charged with sexual assault and sexual interference against a child. Dr. Albert de Villiers, 52, was detained on Tuesday in Kelowna, according to Alberta Mounties.
The investigation began on May 28 in Grande Prairie, Alta., when RCMP received an allegation of sexual offenses against a young child between the years of 2018 and 2020. The case was sent to the detachment’s special investigative unit. According to his LinkedIn profile, de Villiers worked as the lead medical officer for Alberta Health Services’ north zone for 16 years in Grande Prairie, in northwest Alberta.
The doctor, who was trained in South Africa and has just been with Interior Health for a year, has been a key voice in the region’s response to COVID-19. Interior Health officials said they couldn’t comment Tuesday night, but a temporary interim chief medical officer will be named on Wednesday to serve for the rest of the week, with Dr. Sue Pollock taking over next week. De Villiers is still being held in jail by the Grande Prairie RCMP, according to Sgt. Shawn Graham.
Sexual interference is defined as touching someone under the age of 16 for sexual intent under the Criminal Code of Canada.