San Francisco Chronicle
Ayres to be retried on molest charges
By Ellen Huet
November 1, 2012
A judge has ruled that a prominent San Mateo child psychiatrist is competent to be retried for allegedly molesting seven young boys during counseling in the 1990s.
Judge John Grandsaert issued his ruling Wednesday after doctors at Napa State Hospital, where 80-year-old William Ayres was under observation for almost a year for dementia, said he had regained his competency. The judge sealed their report, but prosecutors said the doctors had concluded that Ayres was faking dementia symptoms.
Grandsaert ordered Ayres to stand trial in San Mateo County Superior Court on March 11, 2013.
Grandsaert “really felt like the system had been gamed” by Ayres, said Assistant District Attorney Karen Guidotti.
Ayres, former head of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, is charged with molesting seven boys, ages 8 to 13, during physical examinations he said were part of their counseling sessions from 1991 to 1996.
Over a career that spanned four decades, Ayres saw hundreds of child patients referred by San Mateo County’s juvenile justice system, its court-appointed attorney program, pediatricians and social workers.
Ayres was arrested in 2007, but his first trial resulted in a hung jury two years later. When prosecutors decided to retry him, defense attorneys said he was unfit.
That led to another jury trial to determine his competency, which also resulted in a hung jury in October 2011 and led to his placement at Napa.
Ayres’ bail was raised Wednesday from $750,000 to $900,000. He remains in San Mateo County Jail.