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POLL: Should the County Continue to Prosecute William Ayres?

Ayres, a former child psychologist in San Mateo, has been accused of molesting his patients.

It's been more than five years since William Ayres, a once-prominent child psychiatrist in San Mateo, was first arrested and charged in San Mateo County Superior Court with molesting patients in the 1980s and 1990s.

Ayres, now 80, was first arrested in 2007 and charged with 10 counts of lewd and lascivious conduct on a child under 14 for allegedly molesting six boys between ages 9 and 13 from 1988 to 1996.

His trial ended with a hung jury in 2009, but prosecutors decided that August to retry the case. 

The criminal proceedings were suspended, however, when Ayres' attorney questioned his client's competency due to his onset of dementia.

A jury trial to determine Ayres' competency was declared a mistrial when jurors deadlocked 8 to 4, with the majority deciding that Ayres' deteriorating mental condition would make him unfit to stand trial.

But following that mistrial, the district attorney's office conceded Ayres would not be mentally fit to aid in his own defense.

A judge in 2011 ordered him to be placed in a mental hospital, and he was sent to Napa State Hospital where he was to spend six months before his competency could potentially be declared restored.

Even prosecutors said it was unlikely that would happen, but said they would retry the case if it did.

And, in May, doctors at Napa State Hospital did find Ayres to be competent, and criminal charges against Ayres have been reinstated.

Ayres is scheduled to appear in San Mateo County Superior Court in Redwood City on Aug. 3 at 8:45 a.m.

Ayres earned his medical degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1956 and was president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry from 1993 to 1995. He moved to the Bay Area with his wife in 1963.

Do you think Ayres should continue to be prosecuted, or do you think his deteriorating mental state makes him unable to stand trial on the charges?

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George Muteff August 10, 2012 at 07:25 PM
"Do you think Ayres should continue to be prosecuted, or do you think his deteriorating mental state makes him unable to stand trial on the charges?" None of us are intimately familiar with the case or the accused mental state, so we're being asked to shoot from the hip here. However, I do believe that if the experts say he is competent, then yes the trial should continue to completion. First, if he's guilty (and obviously the prosecution feels they have something), then he needs to be accountable and a message needs to be delivered. Further, if guilty, he was a predator to our most vulnerable in an area where he is an expert. On the other hand, if he's innocent, I would think that he'd want that exposed. Either way, it appears crimes have been committed and need to be addressed. Finish what's started for the benefit of all. Try him.

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