General Crime

* William Ayres was Accused of Molesting Seven Patients while in a Locked Mental Facility in San Mateo County

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After spending nine months in a locked mental facility, an 80-year-old San Mateo psychiatrist who was accused of molesting seven male patients in the early 1990s is returning to San Mateo County to face criminal charges. William Ayres has been found competent to stand trial by doctors at Napa State Hospital, according to a report filed this week in San Mateo Superior Court. Judge John Grandsaert ordered Ayres to be transported back from Napa for a hearing on Aug. 3, at which the court will decide whether to reinstate $250,000 bail, and when to proceed with further hearings regarding the defendant’s competency and criminal charges.

Ayres was charged with nine counts of performing lewd acts on seven boys during counseling sessions that took place between 1991 and 1996. A criminal trial in the summer of 2009 ended with a hung jury, but prosecutors decided that August to retry the case. The criminal proceedings were suspended when Ayres’ attorney, Jonathan McDougall, questioned his client’s competency due to the onset of dementia. A jury trial to determine Ayres’ competency was declared a mistrial when jurors deadlocked 8 to 4, with the majority deciding that Ayres’ deteriorating mental condition would make him unfit to stand trial. Now that doctors at Napa State Hospital have found Ayres to be competent, criminal charges against Ayres have been reinstated. Ayres is scheduled to appear in San Mateo County Superior Court in Redwood City on Aug. 3 at 8:45 a.m.

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