General Crime

Dr. William Hamilton Ayres pleaded no contest to molesting boys during examinations in the 1990s

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A former child psychiatrist who has pleaded no contest to molesting boys during examinations in the 1990s is scheduled to be sentenced Monday morning. Dr. William Hamilton Ayres, 81, of San Mateo, 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 remanded into custody earlier this month when a previous sentencing date was continued due to a delay in a doctor’s report. A number of victims are expected to testify Monday and recount their stories, according to prosecutors. “It’s a big day for the victims they are finally going to get their day to talk about what happened to them,” District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said earlier this month. His sentencing will take place at 9 a.m. in Department 3 of San Mateo County Superior Court, 400 County Center, Redwood City.

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