Judge won't suppress evidence in child molestation case

Judge John Runde rejected defense motions Monday to suppress evidence in the case of a San Mateo child psychiatrist who is charged with molesting several young patients in the 1990s, and ordered that the case move forward, San Mateo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said today.

William Hamilton Ayres, 75, once president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, faces multiple felony counts of lewd or lascivious acts on a child under the age of 14, for allegedly fondling seven

boys between the ages of 9 and 12 who had come to him for counseling between 1991 and 1996.

Prosecutors claim there are about 30 other victims whose alleged molestations fall outside the statute of limitations.

During the hearing Runde confirmed that the case would move onto a trial judge, by rejecting motions to suppress information the defense had filed regarding a search warrant issued in 2006, Wagstaffe said. The search warrant allowed authorities to look through Ayres files for the last 20 years and contact other minors to see if they had been victims of molestation as well.

Defense attorney Doron Weinberg moved to suppress information that was provided in an affidavit from then Capt. Mike Callagy of the San Mateo police, now deputy chief. Weinberg stated that it did not support searching through Ayres records.

He also indicated that other sections of the affidavit were incorrect, such as a statement from a psychiatrist stating that a known child molester was likely to continue the practice, Wagstaffe said.

According to Deputy District Attorney Melissa McKowan, former patients of Ayres from the 1960s through the 1980s have also come forward to San Mateo police with abuse allegations. And in 2005, Ayres settled a civil case alleging sexual molestation, McKowan said.

Weinberg has claimed that the accusations by former patients were likely the result of either a mistake, false memory or suggestion.

According to authorities, from the 1960s through 2006, Ayres had a thriving practice treating children, and was called upon to evaluate hundreds of cases, including those of sex offenders, in San Mateo County juvenile court.

Ayres remains out of custody after posting $750,000 cash bail, and his jury trial is scheduled to start March 10.

If convicted, he could face the rest of his life in prison, according to the district attorney's office.

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