VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — B.C.’s health minister says Tuesday’s arrest of Interior Health’s chief medical officer is “obviously” concerning, but says there’s been no impact on the delivery of care in that region.
“The individual’s now on leave and we’re limited about what we can say as it works its way through the judicial system. But what I can say is that it won’t distract us at all –anyone in Interior Health– from protecting people from COVID-19,” Adrian Dix says.
Dr. Albert de Villiers was arrested in Kelowna and has been charged with sexual assault and sexual interference.
Police say the alleged victim in the case is “a young child,” and Alberta Mounties have confirmed the charges against de Villiers came out of Grande Prairie.
“RCMP received a report of sexual offences against a young child that had allegedly taken place between 2018 and 2020,” a statement from Mounties reads.
According to Dix, Dr. Sue Pollock will be in charge of Interior Health starting Monday, as police continue to investigate.
Health Min @adriandix says of sexual assualt charges against @interiorhealth CMHO – they are serious and very concerning because of charges little can be said but de Villiers now on leave.
Dr Sue Pawlyk taking over role Monday.#bcpoli @NEWS1130
— LizaYuzda (@LizaYuzda) June 9, 2021
Dix describes Pollock as an “outstanding leader” and says he has “full confidence and hope that she’ll … work hard as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and Interior Health and indeed, across British Columbia.”
Efforts to protect, vaccinate, and test British Columbians “will continue to be at the highest possible level,” Dix adds.
Mounties in Alberta confirmed they received a complaint on May 28 about alleged offences against de Villiers.
The 52-year-old’s next court appearance is set for June 30 in Grande Prairie.
Before coming to B.C., de Villiers worked in Grande Prairie as the lead medical health officer for Alberta’s north zone.
De Villiers is no longer mentioned on the IHA website.
RCMP say no further information will be released because “the matter is now before the courts.”
– With files from Lisa Steacy and Tarnjit Parmar