Jury selection began today in a trial to determine whether a former San Mateo psychologist is mentally fit to face multiple charges of sexual molestation. William Ayres, 79, has been charged in San Mateo County Superior Court with nine counts of performing lewd acts with seven boys during psychiatric examinations that took place between 1991 and 1996.
More than 30 other victims claimed to have been sexually molested by Ayres during exams dating back to the 1980s, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. Ayres, who now suffers from dementia, admitted in a 2009 trial that he performed exams in which boys were naked from the waist down, but that nothing inappropriate happened. The trial ended in a hung jury, when jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict on any of the nine counts.
The district attorney’s office decided to retry Ayres in August 2009. Criminal proceedings were suspended when defense attorney Jonathan McDougall questioned whether Ayres would be competent enough to be retried. Opening statements in the trial to determine Ayres’ competency are expected to go forward Thursday morning, Wagstaffe said. The defendant was released from custody on $750,000 bail.
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