Evidence motion is denied in Ayres case

Defense attorneys for a renowned child psychiatrist accused of molesting dozens of former patients suffered a legal setback Monday.

San Mateo Superior Court Judge John Runde ruled against William Ayres’ lawyers, who argued that investigators improperly searched Ayres’ records last year.

Defense attorney Doron Weinberg had requested a hearing to suppress evidence in thecase, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. Runde ruled against holding the hearing.

At issue was the affidavit of a psychiatrist obtained and submitted by detectives to justify a search warrant. The unidentified psychiatrist told investigators in his affidavit that someone who molests children is unlikely to stop and it was reasonable to believe Ayres was continuing the pattern, Wagstaffe said.

Ayres’ attorneys wanted to call in the doctor as a witness and attack his statement as basis for the warrant, Wagstaffe said.

“This was a step to try to argue that everything seized from the search warrant should be thrown out, including witnesses that were found because of it,” Wagstaffe said.

Ayres, 75, is charged with sexually abusing seven boys between 1991 and 1996. There are more than 30 other former patients who claim Ayres molested them, but the alleged crimes occurred beyond the statute of limitations, according to prosecutors. Victims have claimed the retired psychiatrist — who was once the president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology — fondled them during counseling sessions under the guise of medical examinations.

In an interview with The Examiner in 2006, Ayres denied molesting patients, but said he conducted full-body examinations. He is free on $100,000 bail while awaiting his March 10 trial.

A civil lawsuit filed against Ayres in 2002 by an alleged victim was settled out of court. Though Ayres admitted no guilt, the lawsuit led to San Mateo police reviewing complaints against Ayres and interviewing more than 200 former patients. He was subsequently arrested at his San Mateo home April 5.

On Monday, Wagstaffe said another lawsuit filed in October by a former patient would have no bearing on Ayres’ criminal case. In that case, a 42-year-old man claims he was fondled by the psychiatrist.

tbarak@examiner.com

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