Competency trial begins for child psychiatrist accused of molesting patients 

click to enlarge William Ayres - WILLIAM AYRES
  • William Ayres
  • William Ayres

A San Mateo child psychiatrist facing multiple molestation charges appeared in court Monday, where proceedings began in a jury trial to determine whether he is mentally fit to be retried.

William Ayres, 79, who used a walker to enter San Mateo County Superior Court on Monday morning, is charged with nine counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14.

Ayres is accused of fondling seven teenage boys during counseling sessions between 1991 and 1996, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors believe Ayres molested more than 30 other victims on occasions that are now beyond the statute of limitations, Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti said.

Ayres went through a highly publicized criminal trial in 2009 that ended in a hung jury, with jurors split on all the charges. The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office decided to retry Ayres about a month later.

Judge Beth Freeman suspended criminal proceedings in March after defense Attorney Jonathan McDougall questioned his client’s competency and requested a jury trial to determine his mental state.

Jury selection begins Tuesday morning for the competency trial, which is expected to last about two weeks, Guidotti said.

Ayres is out of custody on a $750,000 cash bond.

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