Former top doctor in B.C. Interior paid $361K despite sex charges

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Dr. Albert de Villiers was the chief medical health officer for Interior Health in B.C. until he was placed on leave in June 2021. Financial statements show he was compensated more than $360,000 in the last fiscal year, despite facing multiple criminal charges. (CBC News - image credit)
Dr. Albert de Villiers was the chief medical health officer for Interior Health in B.C. until he was placed on leave in June 2021. Financial statements show he was compensated more than $360,000 in the last fiscal year, despite facing multiple criminal charges. (CBC News - image credit)

The former top doctor for B.C.'s Interior region made more than $360,000 in the last fiscal year, despite being on leave or on desk duty for several months while facing several charges related to child sexual offences.

Albert de Villiers, who was formerly the chief medical officer for Interior Health, received a base salary of more than $189,000 in the 2021-22 fiscal year.

Financial statements show he also earned more than $22,000 in benefits, more than $27,000 toward his pension and more than $90,000 in paid leave.

He also received $31,477 in "other," unspecified compensation.

De Villiers was in his position as top doctor for less than a year before he was placed on paid leave on June 8, 2021. He was arrested in Kelowna that day on a warrant from Alberta, following an investigation by the Grande Prairie Special Investigative Unit.

At the time, de Villiers was charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of sexual interference. Those initial charges were in relation to offences alleged to have involved a child between 2018 and 2020.

He has since been charged with three more counts: invitation to sexual touching, voyeurism, and making sexually explicit material available to a child. Those crimes allegedly took place in Alberta between 2017 and 2019.

Interior Health on Friday confirmed De Villiers returned to active work after his leave on Oct. 4. He was "reassigned to administrative duties," an email said.

Before working in public health in British Columbia, de Villiers was a medical officer of health for Alberta's north zone for 16 years. He started with Interior Health in 2020.

De Villiers, now 54, is set to appear in Grande Prairie Provincial Court in relation to the newer charges on Sept. 12.

A pre-trial conference around the original charges is scheduled for Oct. 21.