July 4, 2019 3:01 pm

Professional college places conditions on Vernon physiotherapist facing 14 sexual assault charges

Stephen Witvoet has been charged with 14 counts of sexual assault.

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP

The College of Physical Therapists of B.C. has placed conditions on a Vernon physiotherapist facing 14 sexual assault allegations involving 14 alleged victims.

On Tuesday, the college said it was limiting Stephen Witvoet’s scope of practice pending the outcome of an investigation under the Health Professions Act.

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Among the seven limits the professional body has placed on Witvoet is a requirement that he not treat female patients, that he “keep a door or curtain open at all times when treating male patients,” and that he put up a notice informing patients he is currently not allowed to treat women.

READ MORE: Vernon physiotherapist facing criminal charges put on public notice

The college said it made the decision after hearing from police that Witvoet “was charged with two counts of sexual assault in relation to two female patients.”

In fact, after police made a public appeal for information, the Vernon physiotherapist is facing a total of 14 charges of sexual assault.

He was originally charged with two counts of sexual assault in 2017 and has entered not guilty pleas on both those charges.

Then two more sexual assault charges were laid against him in early June, bringing the total counts to four.

The original four incidents are alleged to have occurred in 2015 and 2016.

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Then police put out a public request for information in mid-June and more complaints came forward.

As part of that public request, Cst. Kelly Brett said Witvoet had been working as a physiotherapist in Vernon for 14 years.

“We believe given the length of time he has been practicing, there may be potential victims who have not already reported to the police, we are asking those people to come forward now,” Brett said in a statement to media on June 12.

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On June 26, Witvoet was charged with 10 more counts of sexual assault; the allegations date back as far as 2009.

The original two charges will be back in court next Wednesday to schedule a date to carry on with the trial.

Meanwhile, Witvoet’s next appearance on the remaining 12 charges is set for July 25.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

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