Stephen Witvoet, a Vernon physiotherapist who pled guilty to nine counts of sexual assault, was served an 18-month conditional sentencing to be served at home July 8, 2020. (Contributed)

Stephen Witvoet, a Vernon physiotherapist who pled guilty to nine counts of sexual assault, was served an 18-month conditional sentencing to be served at home July 8, 2020. (Contributed)

House arrest for Vernon physiotherapist guilty of sexual assault

Stephen Witvoet to serve 18-month conditional sentencing following July 8 hearing

A Vernon physiotherapist who pleaded guilty to nine sexual assault charges in October 2019 won’t be going to jail, but instead will serve an 18-month conditional sentence at home followed by two years probation.

Stephen Witvoet — who previously owned Thrive Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic in Vernon — was sentenced July 8 to six months house arrest after pleading guilty to massaging patients’ breasts and vaginal areas. A curfew between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. will remain in place for 12 months following the conclusion of Witvoet’s house arrest.

The former physiotherapist was charged with two counts of sexual assault Dec. 27, 2017, when two female patients came forward to police in 2015 and 2016 with allegations that Witvoet had massaged their breasts without consent during treatments.

His trial began May 21-23, 2019, but was adjourned to pick up at a later date for an additional day and a half of trial time.

Two more complaints were brought to Vernon police resulting in new charges on June 7, 2019, related to a 2015 and 2016 incident involving two women. Media reporting resulted in more victims stepping forward with allegations.

By August 2019, Witvoet was facing a total of 16 charges from victims between the ages of 18 and 53.

“Media coverage of the charges and trial increased substantially,” Judge Jeremy Guild’s decision reads.

The 18-month conditional sentence, to be served at home, was found appropriate as the judge recognized Witvoet was a first-time offender and is “at a low risk to re-offend,” the decision reads. Witvoet is prohibited from treating women, which protects the public, but is also unlikely as he lost his practice as a result of the notoriety of his offences.

If Witvoet’s conditions are breached, he could face the maximum jail sentence for each offence, according to the decision.

Witvoet was to face his sentencing March 20, but the hearing was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ MORE: Vernon physiotherapist accused of sexual assault facing new charges

READ MORE: Sex assault sentencing delayed for Vernon physiotherapist


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
54 more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty-two people in the region are in hospital with the virus, 11 of them in intensive care

While pharmacies across B.C. are using AstraZeneca for public immunizations for people 40 years of age and older, there is no availability currently in the Kootenays. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
No AstraZeneca vaccine availability in Kootenay pharmacies, says Interior Health

Vaccine has been opened up at pharmacies in other areas of the province to people 40 years of age and older

Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok. Bulletin file
Kimberley, Golden unlikely to get mass vaccination clinics: MLA Clovechok

Kimberley has 17 active cases as of Tuesday, April 20; Golden 7

Reports of a vehicle incident along Highway 95 between Golden and Radium. (Drive BC photo)
UPDATED: Vehicle incident closes Highway 95

More details to come as DriveBC updates the situation

The Golden and District Community Foundation has announced a $5,000 crisis grant to the Golden Food Bank during COVID-19
The Golden and District Community Foundation has announced the first of their small grants for the year. File photo.
First 2021 Neighbourhood Small Grants handed out

Applications are still open for small grants

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

Virtual meetings are taking a toll on local governance, according to multiple mayors in the North Okanagan. (Headway photo)
Virtual meetings leave North Okanagan politicians out of touch

More than a year of Zoom has led to a disconnect between officials, according to local mayors

Nick Trask, 36, and Ryan Ellison, 35, died in a boat collision on Osoyoos Lake in 2019. (Facebook photo)
Meth, excessive speed found as factors in 2019 Osoyoos boat crash deaths

Nick Trask, 36, and Ryan Ellison, 35, died in a boat collision on Osoyoos Lake in 2019

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident tries to save vehicle from the Columbia River

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
‘I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident wants the Columbia River better protected

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson is photographed following her budget speech in the legislative assembly at the provincial legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. budget lacks innovative drive, vision during uncertain times, say experts

Finance Minister Selina Robinson’s budget sets out to spend $8.7 billion over three years on infrastructure

Most Read