News

Former child psychiatrist sentenced to eight years in prison for molesting boys

A former San Mateo psychiatrist did not flinch when a San Mateo Superior Court judge sentenced him Monday (Aug. 26) to eight years in state prison for molesting boys who were patients of his in the 1990s.

Judge Beth Labson Freeman handed down the sentence just before 4 p.m. following a long day of victim impact statements and an afternoon of pleading from Ayres' wife, son and daughter. Ayres himself did not speak.

Ayres was sentenced to eight years concurrent for each of the eight counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child 14 or younger, which means he will serve all the sentences at the same time. He must also register as a sex offender for life and pay a $10,000 fine to the Victim Witness Assistance Fund. Based on time served, Ayres will likely be behind bars for nearly six years.

"My conclusion is based on the fact that you violated the innocence of young boys in your care," Freeman said before she delivered her sentence.

Ayres and his family, seated behind him in the front row of the courtroom, did not react to the sentence. The 81-year-old wheelchair-bound Ayres was wearing red jail-issued clothing and was wheeled out by a bailiff. His family exited the courtroom rather quietly and nonchalantly.

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Ayres' defense attorney Jonathan McDougall, who has worked on the case since 2009, said he thought Judge Freeman did the best she could in following the law.

"This has been an extremely difficult case. There are a large number of people who felt victimized; Ayres felt victimized by the system; the family felt their husband and father had been victimized," McDougall said.

He said that he would file a notice of appeal but that an appellate attorney would take it on thereafter. He also noted that there could be a restitution hearing, should any victim believe they are owed money.

The emotional day began with victim impact statements from 15 victims or loved ones, who shared their stories of how the actions of the then-revered doctor negatively impacted the course of their adult lives. The later portion of the afternoon was reserved for Ayres' family to speak on his behalf.

Barbara Ayres called her father innocent and honorable and used much of her time addressing the court discussing the issue of memories and how details differ in long-term memories, calling into question witness and victim accounts.

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She called the allegations against her father a "scapegoat," adding, "adolescents rarely go to psychiatrists because they're happy."

The former doctor's wife, Solveig Ayres, spoke on her longtime husband's behalf, stating that he did conduct physical exams when needed, but said he was not "touchy feely."

Solveig Ayres said that after knowing Ayres for 50 years she knew him thoroughly enough to know his character and that she believed he was not capable of the allegations against him.

Ayres rarely looked up as people read or voiced their statements. His white hair disheveled, Ayres looked forward for most of the day, rarely glancing to the side to meet eyes with some of his victims who chose to stand and deliver their account rather than take a seat on the witness stand.

Two days into his second jury trial, on May 16, Ayres pleaded no contest to eight counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14 for allegedly inappropriately touching five boys who had come to him for counseling in the early 1990s. He was remanded into custody on Aug. 7.

Prosecutors believe the alleged molestations involved fondling of young patients during "medical" examinations while in counseling sessions with Ayres during a period of 1991 to 1996. The boys were between the ages of 9 and 13 at the time, according to prosecutors.

Ayres had a thriving practice treating children patients from the 1960s to 2006, according to the district attorney's office. He was also called upon to evaluate hundreds of cases, including sex offenders, in San Mateo County juvenile court going back to the 1970s.

Monday morning, with four armed sheriff's officers standing beside Ayres, victim Thomas C. wearing black thick-rimmed glasses took his turn to address the court. With his eyes focused on Ayres, Thomas C. referred to Ayres as a serial pedophile who was much like a wolf spider.

"You look like a wolf spider -- you don't even know how many children you caught in your web ... serial pedophile," he said.

Thomas C., now a psychiatrist himself who focuses on helping adolescents, ended his statement with, "You are going where all the other wolf spiders go to die."

Many spoke of the societal responsibility Ayres had to these children who, at the time of their molestations, were in desperate need of help, not further abuse.

Victim Carl F. spoke at length about Ayres' proven knowledge on the life-altering effects that sexual abuse has on children. He read excerpts from a paper that Ayres co-authored titled, "Practice Parameters for the Forensic Evaluation of Children and Adolescents Who May Have Been Physically or Sexually Abused," which appeared in the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in 1997.

Carl F. was 9 years old when he went to see Ayres because his parents thought he seemed depressed. He said he has long suffered from fear and guilt because he wasn't able "to stop him from molesting little boys." The abuse he suffered, he said, has impacted most aspects of his life and is evident in his relationships with his wife and 11-year-old son.

"He knew the damage he was doing to these children and he doesn't care," Carl F. said.

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Former child psychiatrist sentenced to eight years in prison for molesting boys

Uploaded: Mon, Aug 26, 2013, 8:55 pm

A former San Mateo psychiatrist did not flinch when a San Mateo Superior Court judge sentenced him Monday (Aug. 26) to eight years in state prison for molesting boys who were patients of his in the 1990s.

Judge Beth Labson Freeman handed down the sentence just before 4 p.m. following a long day of victim impact statements and an afternoon of pleading from Ayres' wife, son and daughter. Ayres himself did not speak.

Ayres was sentenced to eight years concurrent for each of the eight counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child 14 or younger, which means he will serve all the sentences at the same time. He must also register as a sex offender for life and pay a $10,000 fine to the Victim Witness Assistance Fund. Based on time served, Ayres will likely be behind bars for nearly six years.

"My conclusion is based on the fact that you violated the innocence of young boys in your care," Freeman said before she delivered her sentence.

Ayres and his family, seated behind him in the front row of the courtroom, did not react to the sentence. The 81-year-old wheelchair-bound Ayres was wearing red jail-issued clothing and was wheeled out by a bailiff. His family exited the courtroom rather quietly and nonchalantly.

Ayres' defense attorney Jonathan McDougall, who has worked on the case since 2009, said he thought Judge Freeman did the best she could in following the law.

"This has been an extremely difficult case. There are a large number of people who felt victimized; Ayres felt victimized by the system; the family felt their husband and father had been victimized," McDougall said.

He said that he would file a notice of appeal but that an appellate attorney would take it on thereafter. He also noted that there could be a restitution hearing, should any victim believe they are owed money.

The emotional day began with victim impact statements from 15 victims or loved ones, who shared their stories of how the actions of the then-revered doctor negatively impacted the course of their adult lives. The later portion of the afternoon was reserved for Ayres' family to speak on his behalf.

Barbara Ayres called her father innocent and honorable and used much of her time addressing the court discussing the issue of memories and how details differ in long-term memories, calling into question witness and victim accounts.

She called the allegations against her father a "scapegoat," adding, "adolescents rarely go to psychiatrists because they're happy."

The former doctor's wife, Solveig Ayres, spoke on her longtime husband's behalf, stating that he did conduct physical exams when needed, but said he was not "touchy feely."

Solveig Ayres said that after knowing Ayres for 50 years she knew him thoroughly enough to know his character and that she believed he was not capable of the allegations against him.

Ayres rarely looked up as people read or voiced their statements. His white hair disheveled, Ayres looked forward for most of the day, rarely glancing to the side to meet eyes with some of his victims who chose to stand and deliver their account rather than take a seat on the witness stand.

Two days into his second jury trial, on May 16, Ayres pleaded no contest to eight counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14 for allegedly inappropriately touching five boys who had come to him for counseling in the early 1990s. He was remanded into custody on Aug. 7.

Prosecutors believe the alleged molestations involved fondling of young patients during "medical" examinations while in counseling sessions with Ayres during a period of 1991 to 1996. The boys were between the ages of 9 and 13 at the time, according to prosecutors.

Ayres had a thriving practice treating children patients from the 1960s to 2006, according to the district attorney's office. He was also called upon to evaluate hundreds of cases, including sex offenders, in San Mateo County juvenile court going back to the 1970s.

Monday morning, with four armed sheriff's officers standing beside Ayres, victim Thomas C. wearing black thick-rimmed glasses took his turn to address the court. With his eyes focused on Ayres, Thomas C. referred to Ayres as a serial pedophile who was much like a wolf spider.

"You look like a wolf spider -- you don't even know how many children you caught in your web ... serial pedophile," he said.

Thomas C., now a psychiatrist himself who focuses on helping adolescents, ended his statement with, "You are going where all the other wolf spiders go to die."

Many spoke of the societal responsibility Ayres had to these children who, at the time of their molestations, were in desperate need of help, not further abuse.

Victim Carl F. spoke at length about Ayres' proven knowledge on the life-altering effects that sexual abuse has on children. He read excerpts from a paper that Ayres co-authored titled, "Practice Parameters for the Forensic Evaluation of Children and Adolescents Who May Have Been Physically or Sexually Abused," which appeared in the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in 1997.

Carl F. was 9 years old when he went to see Ayres because his parents thought he seemed depressed. He said he has long suffered from fear and guilt because he wasn't able "to stop him from molesting little boys." The abuse he suffered, he said, has impacted most aspects of his life and is evident in his relationships with his wife and 11-year-old son.

"He knew the damage he was doing to these children and he doesn't care," Carl F. said.

Comments

Michael G. Stogner
another community
on Aug 27, 2013 at 8:31 am
Michael G. Stogner, another community
on Aug 27, 2013 at 8:31 am
Like this comment

It's about time, the 8 year max sentence was part of the plea deal. We San Mateo County residents can learn from this and we can do better at protecting the children in our County.
Get involved, lets investigate how this was allowed to happen so many years after being reported by so many boys, parents, and mandated reporters.

I'm glad the victims and family members were finally able to speak to William H. Ayres.


Lurker
another community
on Aug 27, 2013 at 11:10 am
Lurker, another community
on Aug 27, 2013 at 11:10 am
Like this comment

Whoever attended the hearing yesterday got it wrong. Not only did Ayres flinch, but he pitched a fit when four guards tried to wheel him away. He was very agitated and raised his voice.

I thought it was interesting that Ayres' wife talked about Ayres working with the DA's office on cases. She said that she thought the DA pursued the case against her husband because the DA was mad that sometimes he recommended treatment instead of incarceration.


Lurker
another community
on Aug 27, 2013 at 11:12 am
Lurker, another community
on Aug 27, 2013 at 11:12 am
Like this comment

I was in the courtroom, and Ayres in many instances glared fiercely at whoever was speaking, in particular the mother of a victim who died many years ago.

Also, victim Thomas C is a psychologist, not a psychiatrist


Chris
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Aug 27, 2013 at 1:34 pm
Chris, Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Aug 27, 2013 at 1:34 pm
Like this comment

Nice way to spend the autumn years of your life, in the lockup. He'll get out when he's 89. For a parallel case on the east coast where the perpetrator eventually committed suicide, google Dr. Mel Levine and molest.


Lurker
another community
on Aug 28, 2013 at 5:05 am
Lurker, another community
on Aug 28, 2013 at 5:05 am
Like this comment

The Ayres blog has a much more detailed and intelligent account of the sentencing than any of the press:

Web Link


Lurker
another community
on Aug 30, 2013 at 7:10 am
Lurker, another community
on Aug 30, 2013 at 7:10 am
Like this comment

When the police started investigating Ayres in 2002, and then when a victim sued him for molestation in 2003, Ayres didn't want anyone to know that he had the first ever television sex ed series for kids, called " A Time of Your Life" on PBS. It was shown nationally and in the schools.

It was hugely controversial as it was very graphic. It pitted conservative parents against liberals. The conservative parents had a gut feeling that there was something wrong with Ayres.One couple was thrown into jail for keeping their child out of school on the days the school showed the sex ed series.

Back in the 1960s, Ayres accused the protesters as being uptight and members of the John Birch Society.

The parents who protested Ayres' sex ed series feel very vindicated now. One of them , Alice Vipiana, with her husband, attended the sentencing hearing on Monday, and a Marin paper did a story, with a photo of the parent with journalist/ advocate Victoria Balfour:

Web Link


Name hidden
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle

on Jun 6, 2017 at 6:25 am
Name hidden, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle

on Jun 6, 2017 at 6:25 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


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