A San Mateo County Superior Court judge sided with the prosecution today and remanded into custody a well-known former child psychiatrist who pleaded no contest in May to molesting boys during examinations in the 1990s. The latest turn came this morning when Dr. William Hamilton Ayres, 81, of San Mateo, was due in court to seek a continuance for a sentencing date due to a delay in a doctor’s report. A new sentencing date was scheduled for Aug. 26, a day that Superior Court Judge Beth Freeman cleared for victims to address the court and recount their stories.
According to District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, today’s events couldn’t have come any sooner. He said Freeman made it abundantly clear that based on the seriousness of the crime and the number of victims, Ayres should be taken into custody without delay. “His freedom ended today and we’re hoping it goes until the remainder of his life,” Wagstaffe said. “His freedom should have been ended many years ago. But I am glad it ended today.” Six of Ayres’ victims spoke today, four of which spoke strictly about the motion to remand Ayres.
A victim named Rion B. and his father were granted the right to give their victim’s impact reports today because they are residents of Hawaii and cannot attend court on the sentencing day, according to Wagstaffe. “It was a very, very emotional day in court today,” Wagstaffe said. “When victims talk about what happened to them it is very emotional.” Many victims are expected to take the stand at sentencing later this month. “It’s a big day for the victims they are finally going to get their day to talk about what happened to them,” Wagstaffe added.
In a surprise move, Ayres pleaded no contest May 16 to the charges against him just four days into jury selection in his second trial in San Mateo County Superior Court. His first trial ended in a hung jury and subsequent mistrial in 2009. A former president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Ayres was arrested on April 6, 2007, at his San Mateo home. He was charged with nine counts of lewd or lascivious acts on a child under the age of 14 for allegedly inappropriately touching five boys who had come to him for counseling in the early 1990s.
Prosecutors believe the alleged molestations involved fondling of young patients during “medical” examinations while in counseling sessions with Ayres, during a period from 1991 to 1996. The boys were between the ages of 9 and 13 at the time, according to San Mateo County Deputy District Attorney Melissa McKowan. Ayres had a thriving practice treating children patients from the 1960s to 2006, according to the district attorney’s office.
He was also called on to evaluate hundreds of cases, including sex offenders, in San Mateo County juvenile court going back to the 1970s. Ayres was taken into the San Mateo County Jail in Redwood City on a no-bail status. His sentencing will take place on Aug. 26 at 9 a.m. in Department 3, Freeman’s courtroom.
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