Hearing slated to decide status of Ayres trial

A judge will review evidence in a preliminary hearing next month in the case of William Ayres, the retired San Mateo child psychiatrist who faces charges of allegedly molesting seven young boys who were under his care, to determine whether the case will go to trial.

The 75-year-old Ayres, facing 21 counts of lewd and lascivious acts with his patients between 1991 and 1996, was in court Thursday, where a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Aug. 7. Prosecutors claim he allegedly sexually abused more than 30 other boys under his care when they were children in the 1970s and 1980s, but these alleged incidents fall beyond the statute of limitations.

Deputy District Attorney Melissa McKowan denied a published report Thursday that said prosecutors will no longer add victims or charges to the case.

Ayres’ defense attorney, Doron Weinberg, reiterated his belief that alleged victims are stepping forward because of the case’s publicity. He said the accusations are based on false memories.

Weinberg also said he will indeed file a motion to challenge the search warrant that led to Ayres’ April 5 arrest. Weinberg claimed recently that investigators overstepped bounds in March 2006, when San Mateo police used the search warrant to collect Ayres’ files last year and to contact former patients.

Weinberg will argue that using private files to contact a group of people and locate alleged victims violates doctor-patient privilege. If successful, the motion could disqualify some of the alleged victims in the criminal case.

At the courthouse Thursday, a woman claimed her adult son was a victim as a child.

“You don’t get over this ever, ever, ever,” said the woman, who claimed to be a local resident and asked that her name not be used.

The woman said that her son told her about the alleged abuse within the past few years.

Ayres is free on $750,000 bail.

bfoley@examiner.com

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