A prominent child psychiatrist charged in San Mateo County Superior Court with molesting several young patients insisted today the physical exams he performed on patients that led to the molestation accusations were medically appropriate.William Ayres, 77, testified for the second day today that though he does not recall the majority of physical examinations he conducted, as some occurred more than two decades ago, he was sure he did not inappropriately touch his patients.
“I’ve never, ever done anything like that,” Ayres said, referring to claims he groped the genitals of male patients under 14 years old.Prosecutor Melissa McKowan, however, has said the physical examinations were “not legitimate.”During opening statements, she told the jury that the doctor would “touch, fondle, molest and masturbate the boys’ penises and testicles.”Ayres, who was president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry from 1993 to 1995, has been charged with 10 counts of lewd and lascivious conduct on a child under 14 for allegedly molesting six boys between ages 9 and 13 from 1988 to 1996.
He was arrested in April 2007 and has been free on $750,000 cash bail.One of the alleged victims who testified against Ayres in the trial said that when he told the doctor he was wetting his bed, Ayres instructed the boy to urinate into a cup so Ayres could see if there was anything physically wrong with him.Ayres said today he did not hold the boy’s penis while the boy was urinating, which the alleged victim claimed.Ayres testified that he believed it was appropriate to examine the boy’s penis while the boy was urinating to determine if there were any physical ailments with the genitals.
“There are various problems that can occur with the stream of the penis,” Ayres said, citing an infection or birth defect as possibilities. “I don’t think that was inappropriate,” Ayres said of watching the boy urinate. “I wouldn’t touch or hold the penis because it would interfere with the stream.”Under cross-examination, Ayres admitted he did not refer the boy to a urologist.Ayres said, though, that it shouldn’t be assumed everything the alleged victims said is accurate.”I think you assume everything the children say is true,” he said. “You can’t believe everything children say.
“When asked why he didn’t tell the patients’ parents about the physical exams, which the parents claim, Ayres said he may not have thought it was necessary to depict every single action he took with the patients.He said he may have listed some of the activities he was going to do with the patients when first meeting the parents, such as reading or math, but that he didn’t think he should emphasize that he may conduct a physical exam in order to protect the parents.”You wouldn’t want to highlight that because the parents get stressed,” he said.
Six witnesses have testified in the trial, as well as some of their parents, and four other men whose claims fall outside the statute of limitations have also addressed the court, but it is up to the jurors whether their testimony can be used as evidence.Ayres earned his medical degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1956. He moved to the Bay Area with his wife in 1963.
Weinberg said during opening statements that the alleged victims’ memory of events should be questioned because of the amount of time between when the alleged crimes took place and when they came forward with their claims — years after the alleged molestations took place. McKowan, however, has said the witnesses’ accounts are accurate and credible.jurors will hear closing arguments Monday.
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