B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said recent sex crimes charges against Interior Health’s top doctor won’t impede the health authority’s COVID-19 response.
Dr. Albert de Villiers, Interior Health’s chief medical health officer, was arrested and charged in Kelowna on Tuesday, June 8, on sexual assault and sexual interference charges.
“These are serious charges. They are very concerning to us and everyone at Interior Health in particular,” said Dix, adding his comments are limited as the matter works its way through the judicial system.
“What I can say is that it won’t distract us at all, anyone at Interior Health, from protecting people from COVID-19.”
Dix confirmed de Villiers has been placed on leave, though his employment status remains unconfirmed by Interior Health. His name has been removed from the health authority’s website.
Dr. Sue Pollock will take on the role on Monday, June 14. Pollock previously served as Interior Health’s interim chief medical health officer between January 2020 and August 2020.
“She’s an outstanding leader and I have full confidence in her,” Dix said.
The charges are out of Grande Prairie, Alta., where de Villiers served as the lead medical health officer of Alberta’s north zone for 16 years before taking the Interior Health job in August 2020.
RCMP in Grande Prairie said it received a report on May 28 of sexual offences against a young child that allegedly took place between 2018 and 2020. Mounties investigated the matter alongside the Caribou Child & Youth Centre, which works with children and youth who are the victims of crime or abuse.
He was released from police custody on Wednesday afternoon on conditions and is next scheduled to appear in court on June 30 in Grande Prairie.
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