A Vernon physiotherapist’s registration with the College of Physical Therapists of B.C. has been cancelled.
The cancellation of Stephen Witvoet’s registration is “the most stringent action that the college can take,” said the inquiry committee looking into Witvoet’s matter after he pleaded guilty on Oct. 24, 2019 to nine counts of sexual assault. He had been facing 16 charges, the rest of which were stayed.
Witvoet was to be sentenced in March but his matter was put aside due to COVID-19.
On March 26, 2020, Witvoet entered into a consent agreement with the Inquiry Committee of the college. He agreed to the following terms:
* The immediate cancellation of his registration with the college;
* A reprimand for sexually assaulting multiple female patients;
* A prohibition from applying to the college for reinstatement for a period of four years.
If a future application for reinstatement is granted, Witvoet would be prohibited from treating female patients and from engaging in a sole and/or solo practice without the supervision of other college registrants.
“The Inquiry Committee is satisfied that this action will protect the public,” said the college, which began multiple investigations into allegations from various sources that Witvoet engaged in sexual misconduct with female patients.
These sources included public complaints, a statutory report and notice from the Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP that Witvoet was under criminal investigation and subsequently charged with 16 counts of sexual assault.
“This conduct represents a gross departure from the college’s practice standards, which require appropriate professional boundaries and prohibit all forms of sexual misconduct,” said the committee. “Given the seriousness of Mr. Witvoet’s misconduct and the fact that there were multiple victims, the Inquiry Committee determined to resolve the investigations by proposing a consent agreement under sections 33(6)(c) and 36(1) of the Health Professions Act to secure an expedited cancellation of Mr. Witvoet’s registration with the college and other terms to ensure public safety.”