By Chris Cooney
Bay City News Service
A San Mateo County judge Wednesday denied bail for an 80-year-old former psychiatrist accused of molesting boys during examinations in the 1990s.
Judge John Grandsaert ordered that William Ayres, the former president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology, remain in custody without bail in San Mateo County Jail while awaiting an Oct. 1 hearing to determine his competency.
Ayres, dressed in orange jail garb with a long white beard, sat handcuffed in a wheelchair during Wednesday's proceedings.
The defendant returned to the county last week after spending nine months under observation at Napa State Hospital, where doctors and staff were able to detect signs that Ayres had allegedly exaggerated symptoms of dementia in order to appear incompetent, according to the district attorney's office.
Ayres faces nine counts of performing lewd acts on seven boys during counseling sessions that took place between 1991 and 1996.
District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said Ayres is suspected of molesting as many as 30 other boys, but that the cases are now beyond the statute of limitations for prosecution.
A trial to determine Ayres' competency ended in a mistrial in June 2011, when jurors could not agree on whether the defendant -- who appeared to be suffering from dementia -- would be able to assist in his own defense.
Based on the contents of a sealed report from Napa State Hospital, prosecutors now allege that Ayres used his extensive knowledge of psychiatry to fake symptoms of mental illness and mislead court-appointed doctors.
A criminal trial in 2009 also ended in with a hung jury, and the district attorney's office decided within months to retry the case.