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A judge will decide Wednesday whether to grant bail to an 80-year-old San Mateo psychiatrist who is accused of molesting boys during examinations in the 1990s. William Ayres returned to San Mateo County last week after nine months under observation at Napa State Hospital, where a doctor concluded that Ayres — the former president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology — had been exaggerating mental illness and was competent to stand trial on molestation charges.
The contents of the doctor’s report remain under court-ordered seal, but District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said the report indicates that Ayres had been faking signs of dementia “since the beginning,” and that doctors and nurses at the state hospital were able to detect signs of Ayres’ deception and eventually conclude that he was sane.
“They’re experts,” Wagstaffe said. “That’s what they do for a living.” A competency hearing has been set for Oct. 2, when a judge will determine whether Ayres is able to stand trial on nine counts of performing lewd acts on seven boys during counseling sessions that took place between 1991 and 1996. Superior Court Judge John Grandsaert will decide whether to grant bail while Ayres awaits the competency hearing in October, or whether Ayres should remain in San Mateo County Jail in the interim.
Prosecutors allege that Ayres used his psychiatric knowledge to deceive court-appointed doctors in advance of a competency trial in June 2011, which ended in a mistrial when jurors were unable to agree that the apparent signs of Ayres’ dementia rendered him unfit to face criminal proceedings. A criminal trial in 2009 also ended with a hung jury, and the district attorney’s office decided within months to retry the case. Wednesday’s bail hearing is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. in San Mateo County Superior Court in Redwood City.
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