Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Interview - Balfour on Justice Interrupted

Los Angeles, CA, Tuesday, June 30, 2009, 8:00p.m. PST, 11:00p.m. EST— Justice Interrupted Blogtalk Radio show, with hosts Robin Sax and Stacy Dittrich, has a terrific line-up of legal eagles and journalists will join us TONIGHT, Tuesday, June 30 for Justice Interrupted Radio. Journalist Victoria Balfour will be discussing her own case of justice interrupted when she single-handedly brought a child molesting doctor, Dr. William H. Ayres, to the attention of law enforcement, only to be banned from the courtroom during his trial! Wendy Murphy will also join the program tonight. Wendy is an ex-prosecutor who specialized in child abuse and sex crimes cases. The first lawyer in the country to run a program to provide free legal services to crime victims, Wendy has been fighting for victims' rights for twenty years.

Also joining us, famed defense attorney, Mickey Sherman, who is a frequent commentator on MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, and CNN. Mickey Sherman also represented Michael Skakel during his murder trial. Mickey will discuss the case of Dr. Ayres, as well as any potential defense in the Michael Jackson case should any of the doctors who supplied MJ with prescription drugs be criminally charged in the future. Mickey Sherman is the author of, "How Can You Defend Those People?" in bookstores and online now.

Justice Interrupted

Ayres Trial, Week Five, Day Two: Court is in Recess Today

Court is in recess today, Tuesday, June 30 because the final out of statute victim named Peter is unable to testify until Wednesday. Testimony will resume tomorrow.
In the interim, we would welcome any questions from readers of this blog about the trial, or Ayres' career, or any other pertinent matter. We will try to answer them as best we can.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ayres Trial, Week Five, Day One: Ayres says to a Parent: "Isn't it a Lovely Day?"

Today got off to a truly creepy start when Dr. Ayres approached the mother of a victim in the courthouse and said "Isn't it a lovely day?"

"No, not after what you did to my son," the mother shot back.
"Oh, it's not a lovely day?" the good doctor countered. We always knew Ayres had a mean streak towards women, but this is just lunacy. Shouldn't Weinberg be putting a muzzle on his client? All we can think of is think of is that Ayres is losing it and knows he's going to jail, so he's just letting it rip. But this is just a sick, sick thing to say to a mother of a victim whose son has really suffered. To us it shows the doctor is a sociopath with no remorse.
Things improved a little later when three of the four out of the four victims testified today. First up was Dana P, an air pollution specialist who is married with two kids. He said he saw Dr. Ayres when he was 13, in 1975 because he was acting defiant (No medical reason in the world for Ayres to do one of his "physicals" on him. We started getting upset when Dana P said that Ayres asked if he knew how to "initiate foreplay with a girl." What to heavens does that have to do with Dana's problems ? He said he got two "physicals " from Dr. Creep. Dana P did a good job and stuck to his guns. Thank you for testifying, Dana !
Tom C, the second out of statute victim to testify told the jury that he was a therapist, married with two children. He was very tense and was chewing gum. He had a good strong voice and didn't let Weiny push him around. Weiny has no luck shaking his testimony. Tom said that he was adopted, as was his sister, and that when his parents had a biological child - a boy- there was some jealousy and Tom was sent to therapy.Tom said that when Ayres touched him during a physical, he "wanted out of there" and went and told his father about what had happened. The parents didn't believe him. Tom's father John took the stand too. He looked sleek and wealthy, and actually looked a bit like Weinberg. We loved John because he really wouldn't let Weinberg push him around. Well done, Tom C and John C ! Thank you for your testimony.
Greg H is the standout victim who had the smarts enough to tell his mother's therapist back in 1987 that Ayres molested him, two years after the fact. Greg, who is a slight and wiry fellow, looked very tense. But he spoke clearly and was just a great witness for the prosecution. He said that when Ayres tried to masturbate him that he showed him photos of nude boys (Wonder if it was Coming of Age?) Ugh !! No wonder Greg pulled up his pants, as he testified, and walked away from Ayres, as Ayres was asking him whether he masturbated. This is just sickening. Greg was smart enough to tell his mother he wasn't going back to see the doctor.
Greg's mother Lonnie teared up when asked when Greg first told her he had been molested. She has great posture and we could tell that the jury really liked her. We thought it was very interesting that Ayres sent Lonnie a check for $1000 after Greg came forward to the police about Ayres - two years after the molestation... Hmmmm, could it have been hush money? And what happened to that check ? The police have said that Greg's file and check were missing.. Why is that?
There but for the grace of God, if a member of Greg's family had not seen a news article about the molestation civil suit in 2004, Greg would have been lost forever.
We are so proud of all of the victims and their parents who have testified. It takes so much courage to do so. We know they are doing well because the good doctor couldn't bring himself to look at the victims when they were testifying. What a coward for not being able to look at his accusers.
Caligirl will have a more detailed posting up later...
And in case anyone out there is interested, Solveig wasn't wearing her peacock blue jacket today. It was navy blue.

Sneak Preview: "Expert" Witnesses for the Good Doctor

We've heard that Dr. Gil Kliman will testify for the defense that Ayres' habits of masturbating boys to ejaculation and the fondling and groping were - you know - within the standard of care of medicine. We think he's gonna be twisting himself into a pretzel to explain this. We can't wait to hear his verbal contortions and obfuscations . We hope the jury will be as puzzled as we will when he tries to explain how molestation falls within the standard of care.

We think it's unfortunate that a number of victims who were subjected to Ayres' disturbing "proctology" exams - and much, much worse forms of abuse -- will not be testifying at this trial. We are dying to know how Kliman would try to explain proctology exams on little boys as falling within the standard of care.

We have read Dr. Kliman's resume and would like to share it with you. It seems to us that he's one of those trial whores for hire, who will say anything for the right fee.

We know he's helped victims who were abused by priests but for the life of us we can't figure out why he is turning around and defending the good doctor for doing the exact same thing that the priests did to their victims. Could it be because they're both doctors and are members of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry ? Oops, well, one of them is still a member. According to a prominent East Coast psychiatrist we've spoken to, at annual meetings of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry these days, no one dare mention Ayres' name, unless it is in a horrified whisper. According to this doctor, Ayres is a black spot on the history of the Academy - a dark spot they are still trying to scrub free from the annals of the Academy's illustrious history.

Here is Kliman's bio. We will let you decide whether you think he's a defense witness whore for hire:

Gilbert Kliman M.D. , The Psychological Trauma Center
2105 Divisadero Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: (415) 292-7119
Fax: (415) 749-2802

Dr. Kliman is a Harvard Medical School graduate, with defense or plaintiff expert testimony in over 250 cases involving childhood psychological trauma, loss of parental services, and institutional neglect of children in schools, churches, treatment centers and foster care. He is often interviewed on TV network news concerning traumatic events. International literary prize winner and author of over 50 articles and books, recipient of over 50 grants. Distinguished Life Fellow, American Psychiatric Association; Senior Fellow and Diplomate, American College of Forensic Examiners, Certified by American Psychoanalytic Association for Children, Adolescents and Adults, Senior Fellow and Diplomate, American Academy of Child Psychiatry.

Primary Area of Expertise: Child Psychiatry

Also testifying for the defense is memory "expert" Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, who also testified for Weinberg in the Phil Spector murder trial, which he lost, big time. Here's what USA Today said about Loftus during the Spector murder trial:

Loftus, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, and author of 22 books on human memory, witness testimony and repressed memory, told jurors that witness observations can be influenced by stress, lighting and time. She also said accuracy depends on whether distractions divert the person's attention.

"Memory does not work like a videotape recorder," she said, noting that individuals sometimes change their descriptions inadvertently because of information they receive after the event.

During cross-examination, prosecutor Alan Jackson suggested that Loftus was "to a certain degree, a professional defense witness."
She acknowledged she has rarely been asked to testify by prosecutors.

We know that Loftus will testify that some victims just dreamed this stuff up, but how is she gonna explain victims like Greg H, Steve S and Thomas C, who told their parents about the molestation not long after it happened? We think she's in a pickle....

Finally, we would be remiss if we didn't mention Ayres' old pal Dr.Dick Shadoan, a white haired gent who showed up in court on Friday for his old pal Bill. They've been cronies from way back. Here's Shadoan's bio:

Local Acclaim: Richard A. Shadoan, MD
Dr. Richard A. Shadoan has worked tirelessly for over thirty years in both the public and private spheres of psychiatry to advance the interests of the chronically and severely mentally ill. The central themes of his career have been a belief in the need for alliances for the purpose of advocacy and the need to develop a marriage between the public and private sectors of service delivery in order to have effective psychiatric treatments.

As a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at University of California San Francisco, Dick Shadoan has presented Grand Rounds as well as teaching residents. He has served as president of both the Northern California Psychiatric Society and the California Psychiatric Association and
served as a trustee of the American Psychiatric Association. He also works closely with the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill/California, NARSAD, and the Depressive Manic-Depressive Association.

In the early 1980s Dr. Shadoan was the moving force in the establishment of an innovative, award-winning Medically Indigent Adult Outpatient Program in San Francisco. When the State stopped funding the MIAs through Medi-Cal, limited funds were given to the counties. While elsewhere in California the funds went into traditional clinics, in the San Francisco program, 150 psychiatrists and psychologists in private practice combined to serve these "public" patients.

Dr. Richard Shadoan's consistence, innovation, perseverance and effectiveness make him a worthy recipient of the University of California's Dr. J. Elliott Royer Award.

We have heard that it was Shadoan who had the bad judgement to push for Ayres to run for President of the American Psychiatric Association back in 1987. Fortunately, the Association had the good sense to elect Dr. Rodrigro Munoz as President by a landslide - by something like 40 points. We think it had something to do with that nutty essay Ayres wrote for the American Pschyhiatric Association bulletin when he was running in which he wrote that that child psychiatrists care about the welfare of their clients unlike "businessmen who are free to profit from the vulnerabilities of others."

What a warped view indeed the good doctor has of all businessmen - as swindlers, con artists and the like. We can only surmise that his own view of businessmen comes from his own personal experience. For we know now that Ayres was profiting from the vulnerabilities of his sweet patients - boys who were looking for an adult they could trust and talk to. He was a swindler, a con man, a shyster, and above all, a criminal.

For the life of us we can't figure out why Dr. Dick Shadoan is defending the criminal. We hate to say it, but is Shadoan into nude boy picture books like the Coming of Age too?

San Mateo Daily Journal Forum Back in Business

GOOD NEWS ! The San Mateo Daily Journal Forum is up and running again.

The original thread started by Michael Stogner in 2007 --http://www.smdailyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=312
has been closed, but there's no reason why Ayres trial watchers cannot start a new thread.

Looking forward to seeing all of you over there too. 

We may be biased. but we think we are offering the best coverage on Ayres, so please keep checking in here too. 

"Yes, I Sent Kids To Ayres, And I Now Have Great, Great Guilt And Regret"-former Juvenile Judge Pat Bresee

The San Francisco legal paper, the Daily Journal has just come out with what we believe is the best article yet on the Ayres trial. What we find very interesting is the Judge Marta Diaz's connection with Dr. Ayres, and how telling it is that she refuses to speak with the reporter, John Roemer. 

We salute the bravery and honesty of former juvenile judge Patricia Bresee for stepping up to the plate and talking to the reporter about her regret and pain that she unknowingly sent boys into the lion's den of Dr. Ayres.

Please note that Steve Wagstaffe in this article says that his office never referred anyone to Ayres. According to Dr. Ayres himself, that is incorrect. In Dr. Ayres' deposition for the civil suit, Ayres says under oath that Marta Diaz sent kids to Dr. Ayres when she was working for the prosecutor's office. 

In this story, our  fact checkers have caught another lie from Doron Weinberg: According to the  reporter Weinberg says that they were "routine physicals administered by a pediatrician who later became a child psychiatrist."

We sure hope the DA's office is going to call out Weinberg on this lie

Ayres has never ever been a pediatrician - not in Connecticut and Massachusetts, where he did his training. Ever.  We fervently hope that the DA's office has thought to call Yale University where he did his residency. At least one citizen has checked and double checked and triple checked with Yale and at no  time was he a "pediatrician" board certified or any other way. 

Like every other med student who was training to go into psychiatry, Ayres - along with his classmates -- was required to take pediatrics in his first year. That single year was  the only training he has ever had with pediatrics. For the following two years at Yale, the records department says that Ayres trained in ADULT PSYCHIATRY. During that time, Ayres worked at a Veterans Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut, treating the minds of ADULTS. He received no further training in pediatrics ever again.

After his residency, from 1959-63 Ayres went to work as a child psychiatrist at Judge Baker Guidance Center in Boston. Weinberg refers to this as working at Harvard but every other child psychiatrist who trained there says that this is not entirely true. It has an association with Harvard but no psychiatrist we talked to who worked with Ayres ever said they called it "teaching at Harvard." Additionally, a check with Harvard University and Harvard Medical School shows no records of a Dr. William Ayres working on staff there. 

Judge Baker Guidance Center - a place for troubled kids - has an on-site pediatrics unit. The staff pediatricians attended to the kids if they had something physically wrong with them.  At no time did any of the staff child psychiatrists administer pediatrics to the children. Why on earth would they ? Although we tracked down a number of doctors who trained with Ayres at Judge Baker at the same time, not a single doctor said that they had touched the children during the therapeutic session. Indeed when Dr. Stanley Walzer - who later became head of Judge Baker Guidance Center--  heard that Ayres was telling his colleagues in San Mateo that he had been trained to give physical exams during the therapeutic session at Judge Baker, he was shocked. "We didn't do that!  Touching boys during therapy ? Giving them physical exams ?That's just crazy ! " Of the four other doctors we tracked down who trained with Ayres, they were all aghast at the suggestion that they would be administering physicals during the therapeutic session. As world renowned child psychiatrist DrJacqueline Amati Mehler said to  one of our correspondents  who contacted her, "At Judge Baker, child psychiatrists treated the children's minds only.  The pediatricians examined the children. "

We kinda wish some reporters would do their homework and do some fact checking on Weinberg's bogus statements. The hard cold truth is that his client has never been a pediatrician; has never been a board certified pediatrician, and that to call him a former pediatrician is a bald lie. 

Daily Journal story:

June 29, 2009

By John Roemer 
Daily Journal Staff Writer

REDWOOD CITY - San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman peered with concern at the sobbing young man in the witness box last week, the first alleged victim to testify in the trial of a prominent child psychiatrist accused of molesting adolescent boys.

"Take some breaths," Freeman advised, motioning to a courtroom deputy to fetch the witness a cup of water. "Deep, slow ones. It's OK."

It was shaky opening testimony in a high-profile trial that has implicated much of the county's juvenile justice system and raised questions about why defendant William Hamilton Ayres was allowed to treat children for years despite the accusations against him.

The witness, a college student identified as Orion B., broke down as he was recounting how Ayres fondled and masturbated him as a 9-year-old boy during therapy sessions at Ayres' San Mateo office.

Ayres, 75, has pleaded not guilty to 10 felony counts of committing lewd and lascivious acts on six children under the age of 14 between 1988 and 1996 and is free on $750,000 bail. Another dozen or more alleged victims are outside the statute of limitations. People v. Ayres, 06-4366.

The charges have riveted the county, and Freeman spent part of a morning in court rejecting requests by television and still photographers to record opening statements by the prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Melissa R. McKowan of San Mateo, and defense lawyer Doron Weinberg of San Francisco.

The Ayres trial has been delayed several times, most recently because Weinberg was in Los Angeles representing record producer Phil Spector at his murder retrial. The current trial is expected to continue through July.

Who's on trial here?

Ayres faces disgrace and imprisonment, but in a way, San Mateo County juvenile authorities themselves are in the dock. Ayres was a respected figure in the county's juvenile services system for 40 years as school nurses, social workers, judges, court-appointed attorneys and other physicians referred young patients to him.

At least three of Freeman's fellow jurists on the San Mateo County bench sent youths in the juvenile justice system to Ayres.

Former Superior Court Commissioner Patricia T. Bresee of Atherton, who retired in 2003 after years hearing juvenile court cases, is among those who made referrals.

"Yes, I sent kids to Ayres, and I now have great, great guilt and regret," Bresee said. "Thank goodness a police investigation finally led to charges."

The current presiding juvenile court judge, Marta S. Diaz, who also referred cases to Ayres, has come under withering criticism from some in the county who contend she should have known Ayres was a problem as early as 1987, when a man came forward with pedophilia allegations against Ayres - allegations police could not verify.

Diaz at the time was a deputy prosecutor. Her critics assert her assignment in the district attorney's sexual assault unit means she must have heard the allegations against Ayres, and so should have been on notice as a judge to not refer juveniles to him.

Diaz did not return a call last week. In a March interview she dismissed the claims as "bullshit" and said her critics have a "little jihad" against her.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Stephen M. Wagstaffe, who was Diaz's supervisor, said she was on the district attorney's sexual assault team from 1984 to 1986, before the report on Ayres' alleged crimes was filed.

"Her detractors feel she was in a position to know about him, but within our system timewise that doesn't fit," Wagstaffe said. "Is it impossible? I can't say that."

As a judge, Wagstaffe said, "Diaz was known to have appointed [Ayres] with some regularity and spoke very highly of him, even socialized with him."

The third San Mateo County judge known to have referred juveniles to Ayres was Margaret J. Kemp, who retired in 2004 and now works as a neutral for ADR Services Inc. of San Francisco. Kemp could not be reached last week. In a 2007 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, she said Ayres had a "glowing" reputation and "always did good work for the court."

"Every time we saw someone charged with child molest, family and friends would stand up in court - even after the person had pleaded guilty - and say there had to be a mistake, he wouldn't do such a thing," Kemp said. "I hear echoes of that in what I'm saying to you. Oftentimes, child molesters, particularly middle-class, educated people, are completely unsuspected by people who live with them or work with them."

Ayres was president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry from 1993 to 1995. In 2002 the county's board of supervisors voted Ayres a lifetime achievement award for his work with youth.

Allegations take hold

Word of his alleged crimes, however, later erupted, and Ayres was arrested in 2006.

"This is a big case, one that has garnered more attention and more child victims than any other here," said Wagstaffe, the chief deputy district attorney. "If he committed these crimes, he should be locked up for life.

"The district attorney's office feels regret for what happened, but we never referred anyone to him."

In her opening statement, Deputy District Attorney McKowan described the physical exams Ayres allegedly gave his victims as "a ruse designed by a pedophile" that turned into molestations and "creeped out" adolescent males sent to him for treatment.

Defense attorney Weinberg insisted there was no improper touching, only routine physicals administered by a pediatrician who later became a child psychiatrist.

Physical exams are no longer the norm for psychiatrists, Weinberg said. "Some things shifted in the profession. Some things became too dangerous to do."

Weinberg elicited testimony from Orion B.'s mother that the youth had had some sexual issues with a sibling and a playmate and that he'd been born with a hormonal imbalance that sometimes inhibits genital development. The clear implication was that Ayres was correct to conduct a physical.

In the 1960s Ayres generated controversy by working with the public television station KQED to produce a series of films for youths that included sex education content, then a controversial topic.

The films were shown in San Mateo County schoolrooms to fifth and sixth graders, provoking a parental backlash. "Dr. Ayres became a lightning rod symbol in a very polarized community," Weinberg said.

"Am I saying he was targeted because of his announced views? No. What's really going on here is that young people with emotional psychiatric burdens have misconstrued, elaborated and exaggerated. I'm not saying it's their fault. But they brought their own set of problems to their experience with Dr. Ayres."


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Week 4 - Weekend Wrap

My thanks to blogger Trapellar all week here on this blog, and to The Patient Advocate at the Mills-Peninsula Health Services Lawsuit Watch blog, and to CaliGirl9 on the Trials & Tribulations Blog, and to the many parents and victims present who contributed, for their excellent and comprehensive coverage of the events in court this past week for the ayres trial.

I’d also like to point out that there is an interesting article in the San Mateo County Times Friday Night / Saturday Morning edition. Here are some excerpts from that article:

The trial of San Mateo's most notorious child psychiatrist is swirling with a bit of behind-the-scenes controversy.

The scandal, however, has apparently simmered down in the eyes of the general public. For the most part, recent news coverage has been limited to a local reporter or two taking notes in a near-empty courtroom.

Now that the twice-delayed trial of the doctor accused of playing doctor is finally underway, however, the one person who wants to see it all go down more than anyone has been banished from the daily proceedings.

With Balfour out of the picture, Judge Freeman's courtroom has been held down by a mix of curious law students, parents of former patients and bloggers who have taken an interest in the trial for one reason or another.

We've heard one of the moderators on this blog is one of Ayres' alleged out-of-statute victims, but various gadflies contribute as they can. They tend to get carried away in swarming local online forums to bash Ayres — so carried away, in fact, that we hear they got a forum shut down.

Overall, I think a good article, it makes some good points, and is not overly “neutral” in it’s language. It does get a few things a bit wrong, I have posted a couple of corrections and additional input in comments to the article over there, as has Michael Stogner. If you go over to read the article, please also read the comments, they're pretty important clarifications, especially Michael Stogner's.

I didn’t bother to point out the most glaring, and commonly repeated error: The trial has been delayed FIVE times, not two times. Isn’t it about time that the press gets that simple error corrected for good??

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Michael Jackson... Not dead enough.

By now everyone in the known universe knows that Michael Jackson is dead.

The press is actually saying that this event is as significant as the death of JFK. (Heard it on Fox News, of all places.) They’ve been showing “Highlights” of his life nonstop. I finally after 2 days began to hear mention of his out of court settlement for molestation, and his lengthy trial for more of the same, but the report was cut short to review the arrival of Janet at the estate.

All of this pomp and circumstance will make it that much more difficult for the victims of his molestation to get past the feelings of guilt that they are somehow responsible for his actions, much the way that the kudos ayres recieved from San Mateo County, and the public support given by some other bay area shrinks and judges have made things more difficult for ayres' victims. (I thought these jerks were supposed to HELP people, not HURT them!)

I’ve been thinking a lot about Jackson's victims these last few days; please take a moment to do the same.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Opening Statements This Week

Daily updates are below this post!
The jury will NOT be allowed to see Ayres' pedophile photo collection.
Witness list is sealed.

Opening Statements on Tuesday, June 23, 2009.

For those who can't make it to the courtroom on a daily basis, the fastest way to get information is through the Superior Court Clerk's office:
Phone number there:
Ayres' criminal case number:SC064366

Heads Up:
Updates may be sporadic this week, depending on availiablity of coverage.

The Trial: Week Four, Day Four

We have heard that child psychiatrist Dr. Lynn Ponton will be testifying today. People who are following this case should know that Dr. Ponton evaluated Steve Abrams for his civil suit. She believed Abrams' story implicitly. By law, a mandated reporter must alert authorities of a suspected incident of abuse. Dr. Ponton did the right thing and alerted about Ayres' molestation of Steve Abrams to the California Medical Board in 2004.
Dr. Ponton told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2007 that after she filed the molestation complaint about Dr. Ayres to the Medical Board that Ayres retaliated against her by lodging a counter complaint about her to the California Medical Board. He denied this to the paper. But we know better.
Here's the story: "Retired Child Psychiatrist Was Never Far From Controversy"
We have heard that one of Ayres' medical colleagues and a supporter- about the only one left- angrily confronted Dr. Ponton at a medical meeting just a few weeks ago for filing the abuse report to the Medical Board. This doctor - a psychiatrist- told Ponton that she had ruined Ayres' life because she dared to do the right thing by trying to get a predator off the street. It's very worrisome to us that a psychiatrist is more concerned about her crony than the lives of the victims Ayres has ruined. We won't give her name, but enterprising readers of this blog need only go to Google and look for a letter that this doctor wrote in defense of Dr. Ayres in 2006 to the San Mateo County Times. Since the witness list is sealed, we have no way of knowing if this psychiatrist will be a character witness for the defense. But it certainly seems to us that her angry confrontation with Dr. Ponton at the medical meeting could almost be construed as witness intimidation.
What is tragic is that many medical professionals had talked among themselves for years that they believed Ayres was molesting boys. Four years ago, a mother of a victim told her former psychiatrist, Dr. Al Rainieri that Ayres had molested her son. Dr. Rainieri told her that he wasn't surprised to hear the news. He had suspected Ayres had been abusing boys for years but didn't feel "it was his place" to report him. Dr. Rainieri committed suicide not long afterwards.
In June 2007, after Ayres was arrested, members of the San Mateo Citizens Review Panel convened to investigate why San Mateo County had ignored the complaints of victims and other red flags for forty years. Two lawyers on the panel received information that a number of doctors knew Ayres was molesting boys, but instead of reporting him, they just stopped referring boys to him. They have names. It is a crime for a mandated reporter not to report suspected incidents of abuse, and we know of at least four doctors who knew what was going on and did not report abuse. We know that the California Medical Board has some of these names. Unfortunately, time has run out to prosecute these doctors. We are not lawyers here, but we do know that the law gives only a very small window of time to prosecute mandated reporters who fail to report abuse.
We also want to say a shout out to San Bruno therapist Fran Acciardi, who in the mid 1990s ,when a juvenile client of hers told her that Ayres was making him take off his clothes and that he was "creeped out" by it. Acciardi and another therapist were more than creeped out - they were alarmed. They reported to Childrens Services that Ayres was undressing the boy and that since he had just been examined by his own pediatrician, there was no medical need for it. Childrens Services shrugged and said there was nothing they could do - because you know- Ayres was a doctor.

We have done our own informal survey on the issue of child psychiatrists examining boys in sessions. We have spoken with child psychiatrists who are even older than Dr. Ayres and they are aghast at the suggestion that any child psychiatrist would touch a child in the therapeutic setting. We have probably talked to oh, at least 65 child psychiatrists from around this country, ranging in age from 30 to 85 and not one said that they have ever touched a child during the sessions.
So far, the only child psychiatrists we've found who touched boys during therapy are currently serving time in state prisons.
Dr. Lynn Ponton, San Francisco child psychiatrist has been on the stand all morning. Ponton, who is in her fifties, but looks twenty years younger is a small woman with long flowing blonde hair. Though she may look like she would blow over in the wind, this woman is as sturdy as they come. Dr. Ponton does not take any guff and she doesn't fold. We suspect that Weinberg underestimated her entirely. He probably thought she would wilt but as the morning went on Dr. Ponton got stronger and stronger.
At one point during Ponton's testimony, Weinberg went into a big snit and called for a sidebar. The jury left. He complained that he didn't have all the notes for the Ponton testimony and that he wasn't prepared while the prosecutor told the judge that he had all the notes for months.
We were happythat even the preternaturally nice Freeman finally appeared to get irked with Weinberg and overruled his objection.
One by one, the prosecutor offers up the testimony of the victims and Ponton says there is no medical reason for Ayres to have touched any of the boys' genitals. (Duh !!!!!!) She says that most of the victims were having problems at school and there was no reason for a genital exam. (Duh!!!!)
Ayres looked very glum and deathly pale as his nemesis, Lynn Ponton listed the Red Flags that point to molestation.
Those Red Flags sure seem obvious to us:
1) the doctor only looks at the genitals.
2) Repeated requests to examine genitals
3)Sharing photos of naked children ( Hmm. sounds like victim Greg H. might have something to say on this experience)
4) Making erotic comments to the child during the medical exam.
5) When the doctor tells the child after the abuse that they need to keep a secret, and when he tells the parents not to ask the child what took place in the therapy.
As Ponton testified about how to detect signs that sexual abuse is going on we found ourselves thinking back to those guidelines that Ayres put out for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry with other child psychiatrists in the 1990s,called "Practice Parameters for Children Who May Have Been Sexually Abused."
We think about how Ayres must have been laughing at his earnest colleagues as they worked to put out a paper for the Academy that could really help kids. We imagine he must have felt quite contemptuous of them- those silly child psychiatrists, for actually trying to help kids who were sexually abused.
Weinberg did try to show the good doctor that he was getting his money's worth, by throwing up lots of objections. Way too many sidebars for our taste.
Tried as he could, he couldn't make a dent in Ponton.
One strange occurrence. When Ponton told Weinberg on the stand that she was a "stickler for words," Robert Ayres laughed and shook his head.
During testimony, Robert Ayres always sits on the very edge of his chair and bolt upright ( in this position he reminds us of an exclamation mark.) He never ever leans back in his chair. Perhaps he thinks that might signal defeat if he did.
We're not sure when we can write up this afternoon's notes with Dr. Ponton, but Caligirl over at Sprocket is in the courtroom with us today, so be sure to check out her report later over at http://www.sprocket-trials.blogspot.com/
Finally, one cool thing about Dr. Ponton that you won't learn from today's testimony. Her daughter had a film that was shown at the Sundance Film Festival this year!
As Weinberg and the prosecutor said they are ahead of schedule, they broke for the day early.
At about 3:25 pm the good doctor and his dutiful son Robert left the courthouse while Solveig had gone ahead to get the car.
We think body language experts would find the interaction between father and son to be very telling. Robert, wearing a fetching newsboy cap on his head (we don't know what he does for a day job, but we do know he's acted and directed in plays in Chicago ) walked awkwardly beside Ayres. There was so much space and distance between them you could have sailed an ocean liner between the two. They behave as if they're not related at all and they're just meeting for the first time. Ayres looked imperious as he pushed his walker next to his son. We feel some empathy for Robert, in spite of his defense of the good doctor. He is definitely a man in need of a father and we are sorry he didn't get one.
We are wondering if he is attending the trial more out of loyalty to his mother. Mother and son appear to be much closer. We are even starting from time to time to feel some empathy for Solveig. Her world is crumbling, and she knows it. It must be very difficult but at the same time we know that she has not said nice things about the victims in the past. We feel that she is ferociously clinging to her denial with every last ounce of energy that she has. It must be exhausting.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ayres Trial, Week Four, Day Three: Three Victims Testify

Please thank Robert W: Eric B and Scott E for testifying today. You are all heroes. We believe that a huge weight will be lifted off of your shoulders when you wake up tomorrow. You are all brave men indeed:

Here's a story on today's testimony in the San Mateo County Times :

"More Accusers Describe Physical Exams Performed by Ayres"


It is our very firm belief that the victims of Ayres who were more severely abused are too ashamed to come forward. We know this. We are very disappointed that a victim dropped out at the last minute, which reduced the counts against Ayres from 20 to 10. But we also understand why he did.

There's a whole other group of victims who are too afraid to come forward. For those victims who got it worse: It was not your fault. You were children. Please come forward and tell your story.


Many people who are attending the trial were startled to see three victims who were witnesses sitting out just a few feet from each other on the bench in the hall. If the prosecution is so concerned about them talking to each other and sharing information about the abuse, why was there no attempt by the prosecution to segregate them?

On another note, we have to believe that the graphic testimony is getting to some jurors. During the afternoon break, at around 2:30 pm, we spotted our favorite juror, the intense Steve Jobs lookalike ( Jobs in healthier times) with wire rim glasses sitting on a bench in front of the courthouse. He had a book with him but he couldn't read it. He bent over from the waist down and put his head between his legs. The weight of the world was on his shoulders. We can't imagine what it would be like to take in all of that horrific testimony but the fact that he seems so affected by it seems to us a good sign. During testimony, you can tell he's really taking in all of it - inhaling it almost, Out of all the jurors he is the most focused. We will say once more that we hope he is chosen as foreman. He looks responsible and dedicated.

Huffington Post: People v Ayres: Where's the Justice?

Our friend Vicki Polin, Director of the Awarness Center, which helps Jewish survivors of molestation just sent us this story about the Ayres case and Victoria Balfour's struggles that was just posted on the Huffington Post. Thanks, Vicki ! And a big shout out to LA sex crimes prosecutor Robin Sax ( who is frequently a guest on Larry King Live and Nancy Grace) for taking an interest in this case and writing this.

The Awareness Center is a strong supporter of Victoria Balfour.

By Robin Sax

Huffington Post - June 25, 2009


Why are the prosecutor and the defense attorney in cahoots to keep a journalist from observing the Dr. William Ayres child molestation trial in Redwood City? Yup, you read correctly. A journalist who is simply reporting on the trial for the San Diego Reader and who is writing a book has been excluded from the proceedings under the auspices of a subpoena to appear in court as a "witness" that was handed to her by Doron Weinberg, the defense attorney in the case. But, is Balfour really a witness? Or is the exclusion of Balfour merely a ploy to keep the public from knowing about and hearing about the trial? If you ask Balfour she will tell you what she told me, "I am being punished by Weinberg and have been betrayed by the District Attorney's Office."

This is an issue I became aware of about two weeks ago, and I was hoping that the prosecutor, the defense and the court would do the right thing before I opened my big mouth -- but apparently it wasn't going to happen.

So, here's the backstory: In the case of People v. Ayres, Dr. William Hamilton Ayres, now 77, is accused of sexually assaulting dozens of preadolescent male patients from as far back as the 1970's. Some of you may wonder how a 77-year-old can be facing charges from so many years ago. Well, there's a reason why we can put a longtime predator behind bars:


The reason this case can be prosecuted is the section of the penal code that allows for a lengthy period of time to file child sexual assault charges. Each state has its own prescribed length of time during which a case can be brought. In California, you can file felony child sexual assault charges for up to ten years after the event, and an extension can be granted if certain legal hurdles are overcome.

This extension has been an accepted part of case law because it is well known that children can delay disclosing sexual abuse for many years. Through the extension of the statute of limitations and the corroboration of various victims, Dr. Ayres is now facing 10 counts of felony molestation.


Victoria Balfour, an investigative journalist and former reporter for People magazine, brought attention to the case of Dr. Ayers to insure that justice was done. Thanks to Balfour's investigative leads as a journalist, she was able to turn her contacts over to the District Attorney's Office, who then filed the case.

So here we find the case filed -- with the statute of limitations on the prosecutor's side -- thanks to the work of a committed journalist to insure justice. Ayres is now on trial, and one would think that Victoria Balfour would be hailed for her good work. But what thanks does the noble Balfour get? A big fat "exclusion order."

Yes, you read correctly. The very journalist who helped bring the case to justice and now wishes to simply report on the case to the public is being excluded under the auspices of a BS subpoena handed to her by the defense attorney.

An exclusion order in a criminal case is handed down if a person is a potential witness. It's meant to prevent that witness from basing his or her testimony on that of others, and to make sure the integrity of one witness's examination is not tainted by the statements or perceptions of another witness.

Yes, attorneys can legally request that witnesses can be excluded based on the fact that they are "potential witnesses." But even a loose use of "potential witness" still requires some basis for calling that witness. And what testimony would that be, Mr. Weinberg? Ms. Balfour isn't a witness -- she's a journalist covering the story like so many others!

Mr. Weinberg, you haven't interviewed, spoken to, or even asked Balfour a question. There is nothing that she can say that can possibly help you or your client. So why are you doing keeping her from doing her job?

The legalese doesn't fool us. Could it be that you don't want the public to see another one of your clients get convicted -- especially so soon after your client, Phil Spector, was convicted of 2nd degree murder nearly a month ago.

Turning to the prosecution now -- Melissa McKowan, where are you? Why aren't you standing up for the reporter who has been there for you? Where is your request for an offer of proof in terms of why Balfour is being called? What are you afraid of? Why aren't you even putting up a fight? And perhaps more important, what axe do you have to grind with Ms. Balfour? Is there a similar issue with any of the other "potential witnesses" watching the trial? Why isn't the victim's mother not a potential witness?

We all know that the prosecutor has a say -- a powerful say. So use that voice of yours and put the screws to the defense and the court. Go ahead, Ms. McKowan, and give those answers that people are waiting to hear!

From this trial will arise messages that the public needs to hear. And if not for journalists who take the time to write articles and books, the stories will remain locked within the four walls of a courtroom. The public needs to know that justice delayed is still justice. The public needs to know that boys were victimized. The public needs to understand how people in positions of trust manipulate their authority to gain access to kids.

Child sexual assault is already a crime that occurs behind closed doors. Let's end that legacy by tearing down those doors and giving "the people" the information that they need. By keeping Victoria Balfour out of court, the system is victimizing the public and denying us the access to the information that we so desperately need.


UPDATE: There's a very strange comment under Robin Sax's post on the Huffington Post from a "HugoBall." "Hugo" just joined this month and the language has all the earmarks of a Solveig Ayres opus.

Here's the post:

Not only does this prosecutor indulge in an entirely unconstitutional presumption of guilt, but has she looked into Victoria Balfour and her background at all? Has anyone? I know Balfour was a guest on Sax's show, and maybe that's enough for Sax, but a friend of mine who follows the case says there's significant evidence Balfour is a Scientologist who has been pursuing an anti-psychiatrist agenda hidden beneath all her pro-survivor activism. Don't take Balfour, this torch-and-pitchfork case, or Sax for that matter for granted. When emotions run high, the mind must take an ever higher road.


We've seen enough of Solveig aka "Joglars" and "GleeClub" to know her writing style anywhere. Hi, Solveig !! Who is this friend of yours that says that Balfour is a Scientologist ? Is it the society dame who's had some work done who showed up on opening arguments and then never showed up again? We thought she looked sickened at the details of the abuse that the prosecutor outlined. Where has she gone?

We've seen that particular Victoria Balfour who is listed as a Scientologist on Google too but there's gotta be 15 different Victoria Balfours on Google. The journalist Victoria Balfour is not only not a Scientologist but is a big fan of psychiatrists. In fact she is a big fan of her own Columbia University Medical School -trained psychiatrist, who was one of the first people she told about what Dr. Ayres was doing to Steve Abrams back in 2002.He told Balfour that what Ayres had done to Abrams was "disturbing", "appalling" and "very serious." He told Balfour that he believed she could nail Ayres with her investigative skills. That was seven years ago. He's been following this case ever since and is rooting for the victims.

Maybe we need to rethink our budding sympathy for Solveig.

Week Four: Day Three: Anyone out there interested in coverage?

Is the public interested in coverage of Ayres trial?

It sure doesn't seem that way to us.

Back when Dr. Ayres was arrested in April, 2007, the case was covered by the New York Times, the LA Times, the Associated Press and many other print publications. There were swarms of TV cameras. The arrest was the headline in the San Francisco Chronicle, which offered daily coverage.

Contrast this to the coverage of the opening arguments on June 23. No buzz, only one TV crew. One reporter from KGO radio. Four reporters from Bay Area papers and one from the San Francisco Daily Journal.

Forget about national interest in this story. The New York Times and USA Today and even the LA Times will not be offering coverage of the trial. Even the San Francisco Chronicle - which shoved the opening arguments story to the back pages of the "B" section -- is not providing daily coverage.

What's to account for the lack of media interest? Well, for one thing, since Ayres was arrested, there has been a mini-epidemic of other child psychiatrists and pediatricians in this country who have been arrested and/or sued for child molestation.

In 2008, another far more famous doctor, pediatrician Mel Levine, made the front page of the New York Times after news broke that at least 50 men have accused him of molesting them when they were children. Levine who has written several best selling books like "A Mind at a Time" and was a frequent guest on Oprah, had almost a cult-like following among parents of children with learning disabilities. There were hundreds of blogs by parents who slavishly hung on Levine's every word. The New York Times has done several stories on Levine's legal troubles - most recently when he had his license suspended because of the molestation allegations and when the board of directors at the foundation that he started forced him out because they were losing business. New York Times Magazine's "Parenting" columnist Lisa Belkin even devoted an entire column to Levine and about the betrayal she felt about the molestation allegations.

Then there are more sensational cases, like those of identical twin pediatricians Dr. Scott and Dr. Mark Blankenburg in Ohio, who were arrested this year on something like 87 counts between them for child molestation. They offered drugs and money to kids in exchange for molesting them.

These are the big cases that are getting coverage. But child abuse by doctors seems to be so routine these days that in many papers around the country, an arrest of a child psychiatrist might get a small column or two.

Doron Weinberg keeps harping on the fact that Ayres was a doctor, or a "medical professional"as he is fond of saying - as if that fact alone makes him exempt from the idea that he could be a child molester. The fact is that if you go back and look at the last fifteen years or so, you will find dozens and dozens and dozens of less well known cases involving child psychiatrists, pediatricians, internists, anesthesiologists who have molested boys.

And sometimes these pedophile doctors have even their shown their true colors in medical school. Take the case of Dr. Joseph DeMasi who was in training in New York State to be a child psychiatrist. DeMasi confessed to his analyst ( psychiatrists are required to go through analysis as part of their training) that he was a pedophile and that he was going to Asia to find himself a nice boy to molest. What did his analyst do? Did he call the cops? Nope. After conferring with several of his medical colleagues, he decided to do nothing. What happened then ? DeMasi graduated from medical school and started to molest young boys sent to him for treatment. A few years later, he was arrested for molesting a ten year old patient of his in a Connecticut hospital.

DeMasi is now in state prison, and another victim of his successfully sued his former analyst for not reporting DeMasi's pedophilia.

We hope we're not right, but we're getting the feeling that there's some apathy among blog readers about providing coverage of this case. We are pondering whether to continue coverage or just hang it up. We would like to get some feedback as to whether there is any interest in continuing.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Week Four: Day Two. Victim testifies he saw Ayres in a Holding Cell in an Orange Jumpsuit and Shackled

June 24, 2009

" I saw Dr Ayres sitting in a holding cell, alone, on a wooden bench under an American flag, in an orange jumpsuit and in shackles" - Testimony from victim Steve S, a California inmate.

Because of other demands, our correspondents are not going to be able to give as lengthy a report on the proceedings today. For a more detailed report, please see Sprocket's report, which should appear in a day or two.

We will start out by saying that the media presence has dwindled to about the size of a pea. Liz Pfeffer was there from the County Times, but that was it. Many empty seats in the courtroom. Even the eager-beaver, fresh faced law students have abandoned the trial.

Victim Orion B finished up his testimony today. Yesterday, he wept on the stand and was highly emotional. When we saw him today, we were astonished at his transformation. It was as if he had grown up overnight. A huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders. He looked strong and proud and happy and free. A number of spectators were moved by the closeness Orion has with his parents and siblings. After Orion finished his testimony for the day, he and his family couldn't stop hugging each other. It was inspiring to see the solidity and closeness of his family.

We can't help it but we have to contrast the closeness and palpable love displayed by Orion's family with the chilliness between the members of the Ayres family. Today Robert Ayres, son of Dr. Ayres, loped awkwardly along next to his parents in the hallway. He looked embarrassed to be with them, and awkward too. We have to admit that our heart goes out to Robert Ayres. He appears to be a man in need of a loving father, and we don't see how he could get that with the arrogant Bill Ayres. Robert Ayres actually looks like a good guy, and he didn't choose his father.
The testimony by victims Orion, Scott T, and Steve S moved us to tears today. We could say a lot more about them but out of respect for them, will not. But what we can say is how much we admire them for having the courage to speak up. These victims for years believed that Ayres had a power over them, but we think they realize that by testifying they have slayed the dragon. As they grow in power and stature, and as they find their voices, the doctor looks weaker and paler and diminished.

All of the victims who have testified and who will testify, are genuine heroes.

We couldn't help but notice that the doctor - who looked as ghastly as we have ever seen him - would not look at the victims as they testified. He fiddled with a pen and pretended to scribble notes but we suspect that what he wrote was just jibberish. After more than forty years, he has been exposed. His life has been a lie, a sham. We hope that the remainder of his life will be a living hell.

There is just one detail we would like to add before closing. Victim Steve S, who is doing time for a felony in a fire camp and who is incredibly poised and articulate, recalled on the stand today about the first time he saw Ayres in the san Mateo McGuire Correctional Facility just after Ayres had been arrested . He described seeing his predator - in a holding cell sitting alone on a wooden bench, under an American flag, in an orange jumpsuit, his hands cuffed. What we wouldn't have given for a photo of that!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Trial of William Hamilton Ayres: Week Four, Day One: Opening Arguments

To Our WilliamAyresWatch Readers:

If you are looking for strictly mainstream coverage of the Dr. Ayres trial, please go to the SF Chronicle or the San Mateo County Times. But if you are looking for a more complex and richer back story to the case, you will find it here. We will provide coverage of the trial, but because our four correspondents have been involved with this case years before the prosecutor or Doron Weinberg came on the scene, from time to time we will provide the backstory that you will never see in the mainstream media. We are professionals; we are sticklers for the truth; and several of us have photographic memories for dates, time and conversations. What you here is the absolute, essential truth. If you do not wish to know the deeper story, then don't read this blog. But we believe that the truth will always out. The more it is suppressed, the harder it will struggle to get free.

This blog will offer a mix of impressions and data for the trial, and the backstory. If we feel that either the prosecutor or Weinberg has erred in their statings of the fact, we will note it here.

Tuesday June 23, 2009: Opening Arguments in the trial of William Hamilton Ayres.

8:20 am. Our correspondents arrive at the Redwood City courthouse. There is one television truck for Channel Seven. Vic Lim - we think that' s how it's spelled- is hanging out on the second floor outside Judge Freeman's courtroom. There is a reporter from the SF Chronicle; the Bay City News; The SM County Times and a KCBS radio reporter named Mike Colgan. Also John Roemer from the legal paper, the San Francisco Daily Journal. Although the prosecutor would later laughingly tell the jury that "You may notice there is a lot of media here today" in truth there isn't. Not nearly as much media presence as there was back in April 2007, when Ayres was arrested and indicted. To one of our correspondents who has covered many major trials with national media interest, there does not seem to be much buzz about this trial at all- even in San Mateo. Outside the county, no one seems to have heard of the Ayres trial.

In the hall outside the courtroom, we spot Ayres with his walker, sitting next to a woman who looked like some society matron -- from Hillsborough,maybe -- well preserved for her advancing age, maybe had some work done, well-coiffed blonde streaks. Next to her was Solveig, in the same peacock blue jacket that she wore back on June 1, the first day of the trial. A number of observers noted that she had placed this society dame between herself and her husband. This Ayres' pal had a lined notebook and was attempting to eavesdrop on every conversation in the hallway between parents of victims and reporters. She wrote in an awkward left-hand scrawl, and looked angry. We wondered why she has not appeared in court before now.

Also on hand was the ever-dutiful Robert Ayres, son of the doctor who looks a lot like Solveig with his protuding eyes and a strong profile. He's tall and gangly and walks with hunched shoulders. He has black hair and a mustache and goatee that is just starting to go gray. We noticed he was carrying a cap that looked like a beret that he placed on his knee in the courtroom. We think the effect he was trying for Bohemian artist look. No suit and tie. Very casually dressed, in work shirt and heavy black shoes. What struck is that although he is roughly 46, how young he seems. Doesn't seem to have matured into a man. There's an eager, waiflike quality to him and one wonders if that's because his father was overbearing. He fetched coffee for his father and mother and the society dame. To these observers Robert Ayres seems like a lost soul.

Dr Ayres had a grey pinstripe suit on and we have to say that the sight of his rather portly back spilling out of his chair made us lose our appetite. As always, he was deathly pale. Like a death-head.

The courtroom was filled up with a handful of parents of victims and journalists and fresh-faced law students. It appears that there may have been at least one victim in attendance, taking many notes. This thin intense man has been attending most of the motions up to this point and we have never seen anyone take so many notes. He listens to the goings on in the courtroom as if his very life depended on it, and quite possibly it does.

Detective Rick Decker - who looked to have some kind of gel on his crew cut, and looking all of about twenty five -sat next to the prosecutor, who was in a tan pant suit we have seen her wear before. Although Decker is not a lawyer, he took notes on his laptop of the proceedings, which surprised us. He had a red sports bottle type container in front of him but we never saw him take a sip.

Doron Weinberg's bald spot was so sunburned that we were worried for him. Whatever he's doing in his spare time - golf ? Boating? He's gotta start wearing sunscreen on his lobster red face and bald pate or he is going to get skin cancer for sure. He was so beet red that it was distracting.

We got into the courtroom just as the jurors were being given their instructions. Yet another juror has been excused (no, not the one who was talking to her spiritual advisor) for talking about the case outside the courtroom. They picked the name out of the replacement juror out of a hat. A young woman in a blue shirt was chosen. Since the alternate jurors and the jurors all sat together, it was impossible for us to determine who was an alternate and who was not. All told there are 15 jurors and 10 of them are women. There is one African American woman; three Asians (possibly one more). The stand out juror is an older gent who sat in the front row with a gray mustache who wore eyeglasses with one eyeglass frame blacked out. It was very, very disconcerting for this courtroom spectator to look at that juror. He reminded us of a pirate, or a character in a Quentin Tarantino movie. Another standout was a very heavyset white woman, in her sixties or seventies with white hair pulled back in a bun with a purple scrunchie. She appeared to have trouble walking and had to be helped into her seat. There are a couple of yuppie type women jurors in the late twenties who were busy checking their Blackberries in the hall before entering the courtroom. In the back row was an intelligent and intense looking man in his late forties or so with a green tshirt. He had grey hair, wire rim glasses and reminded us of Steve Jobs in healthier times. We think he could be something like hs an engineer and is the type who should have been picked as foreman. Out of all the jurors, he seemed the most focused and to be really, really taking in what was going on. We could also tell that he was having a very intense reaction to the prosecutor's graphic testimony of the victims.

The opening arguments got off to a late start because lawyer John Halley was arguing that journalist Victoria Balfour - the New York City woman who convinced the police to investigate the good doctor -should be permitted to attend the trial as a journalist. While it is evident to many observers that the prosecutor was not happy to see Balfour in the courtroom , on this day it was Doron Weinberg who presented John Halley with a subpoena for Balfour to attend the trial on July 6. At this point, she is still not permitted to hear the testimony. We think, sadly,that this makes the prosecutor happy. Many spectators have observed that the prosecutor has not been hospitable to Balfour, which seems sadly unprofessional, for had it not been for Balfour, the prosecutor would not be trying the case.

A little birdy(in fact, several birdies) have told us that the prosecutor has been grumbling to victims and their parents that Weinberg is going to argue that Balfour had a "jihad" against Ayres. Not only are we certain that Weinberg will not call Balfour as a witness (what an utter disaster that would be for the defense) but we would also like to argue that a word like"jihad" is not a particularly good word for a prosecutor to be using about a citizen of New York City who not only lived through the September 11 attacks but also volunteered at Ground Zero, feeding the anguished and haunted- looking firemen and police for months. Even prosecutors should be careful about throwing words around about journalists, because hey, you never know, what they say about the journalist might just turn up in print. The truth is that Balfour had no particular vendetta about Ayres.Back in 2002, when she first met Steve Abrams she had never heard of Ayres and neither had any other psychiatrist in New York City she talked to. She had in fact never even heard of San Mateo. All she cared about was getting help for her friend and any other victims who were out there.

Judge Beth Freeman is... how shall we say this ? - a shrimp. She is so small that she reminds us of Lily Tomlin in those old skits of a kid sitting in a giant chair. She's prone to wearing her glasses perched above her Roseanne Roseannadanna hairdo. She listens very intently to the proceedings but she is so small we have a hard time believing that she is a judge.

Judge Freeman made the surprise announcement that there there are now only 6 victims within statute who will testify. We learned from a reporter that a seventh victim pulled out at the last minute. We think it is the victim with a Hispanic surname. So instead of 20 counts, Ayres is only on trial for ten counts of molestation. Gee, this is his second lucky break after the police botched up the nude picture books search.

When the prosecutor begins her opening statement,Ayres' son Robert sits forward and bolt upright in his chair. For the rest of the arguments, he will stay in this position. Both he and his mother take notes.

The prosecutor begins by taking us back to September 2002, when a victim named Steve Abrams (whose name we are printing here because he has given his full name to reporters many times) went to the police to say he had been molested.

[ The truth is that the birth of this case actually goes back to August 2002, when journalist Victoria Balfour first called the police in San Mateo to alert them that Steve Abrams had told her that Ayres had molested him. Although Balfour had urged Steve for months to contact the police, he was too terrified to do so because he was sure he was the only victim. Out of concern for Abrams, Balfour called the police herself to see if other victims had ever come forward. To her relief, the police informed her (well it took them five weeks to get back to her ) that a victim from 1987 -whose file they had lost- had told them he had been molested as well as had another victim who was in Folsom prison. The police told Balfour that the inmate had confided to a psychiatric nurse that Ayres had molested him too.

In her opening argument,we noted that the prosecutor made it seem as if Steve Abrams just came forward so easily to police in 2002. In fact, the truth is more complicated. For many, many months whenever Balfour broached the subject to Abrams about going to the police, he would balk, and blanche and change the subject and talk about how he wasn't in pain about the abuse. But the anguish in Abrams' face whenever Balfour mentioned Dr. Ayres said otherwise. She couldn't stand to see that pain in his face - and in fact, it haunted her -- and that it is why she worked for four months to get him to change his mind and go to the police. It took endless discussions and arguments and pleadings and reasonings on the part of Balfour- over meetings at Starbucks and juice bars in Manhattan and restaurants in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn to convince Abrams that for the sake of his own life and any other victims to come forward. Geesh, what a nag Balfour must have seemed to Abrams. But she couldn't give up trying to help her friend.]

All right, back to the prosecutor's arguments. She talked about the statute of limitations and about how after the laws changed in 2003, Steve Abrams' case was out of the statute of limitations for a criminal case, he had no choice but to file a civil suit.

Another aside that you will not hear in the case :the story of how the first batch of out of statue victims first came forward: in December 2004 during Steve Abrams' civil suit, his lawyer Bob Tobin asked journalist Victoria Balfour to contact Bay Area newspapers and ask them to do stories on the suit. Although the New York Times and the LA Times sniffed and turned up their noses at doing stories when Balfour contacted them - and even the Chronicle wasn't interested, Balfour succeeded after intense effort in getting the San Jose Mercury News and the San Mateo County Times to do stories. Imagine Balfour's shock and delight when Abrams' lawyers told her after the story came out that three new victims had come forward. One of them was Greg Hogue,(who has given his full name to papers)the brave victim who had come forward in 1987 to the police about Ayres, but whose file the police had mysteriously lost. The San Mateo Police had despaired of ever finding the lost 1987 victim but it just goes to show with a little effort by citizens, that miracles can happen

And if you will bear with us - this blog is going to diverge from the prosecutor's opening arguments to give you just one more exclusive inside story that you will not hear in the courtroom. The prosecutor in her opening arguments did not mention victim Alan Y, a victim who contacted the San Mateo County Times in July 2005, after Balfour spent a considerable amount of time convincing that paper and the San Francisco Chronicle to do stories about the civil suit.
The County Times was not interested in Alan Y.'s story - and in fact the reporter that Alan Y contacted never bothered to call him back - but Balfour was interested in the victim. Over that summer of 2005, Alan Y., distraught, called Balfour numerous times to talk about the emotional distress he had suffered at the hands of Ayres, whom he said molested him during a court ordered session.He also called just to talk about his life - how he'd been clean and sober for six years after a lifetime of struggling with drug and alcohol. He told Balfour how hard it was to date as a single dad. He made Balfour laugh by always starting out the conversations by saying" Hi, this is Alan from good ole San Mateo." But most of the time Alan was upset and depressed. He talked about how the molestation had caused him considerable pain. He was angry when the civil lawyer Balfour had found for him and several other victims had suddenly decided that his case was too old for even a civil suit. On October 2, 2005, Alan Y sent a heartwrenching email to Balfour saying that no one in San Mateo County would ever help him find justice - not the police or the judges or anyone else. Balfour urged him not to give up the fight against Ayres but it was too late. In late October Alan Y died in a motorcycle accident. Shaken, Balfour contacted the San Mateo Police Department to inform them of Alan Y's death. The response Balfour got from a police officer in an email was "At least Alan's at peace." Balfour thought to herself: A victim of Dr. Ayres at peace? This was the second death by a crash that Balfour knew of, and Balfour had thought that Alan Y's death would spur the police into action. Alas, it did not. She went to bed, believing that she had to turn her back on San Mateo County and the out of statute victims she had fought for all that summer. She went to bed as discouraged as she had never been before. But the next day, November 11, which is known as Remembrance Day in the country where she grew up - she looked at Alan Y's last despairing email to her. She thought of his two teenagers he had been raising as a single dad. She thought of how they were being raised by their grandmother. She thought about all of the victims out there - the ones she had met and the ones she had not and thought about how all of these years they thought they were Ayres' only victims. She knew she had to fight for them one last time. And so - in spite of her concern and fear that she would come across as a pushy New Yorker, she sat down and wrote to the captain of the San Mateo Police Department that neither Alan Y nor any of the other victims she had located would be at peace until the police found a way to find victims within statute. For many hours later she worried that the police would cut her off or make fun of her or that she had gone too far. But then, from the San Mateo police captain, some good news. Because of her email, and the number of victims she had found(all out of statute) they had decided to try to get a search warrant to find victims within statute. The reason our Williamayreswatch correspondents feel that it is important to talk about the backstory of Alan Y is because it is a story that will not be told in the courtroom. But it is a story that needs to be told. There is no doubt in the correspondents' mind that had not Alan Y died, there would be no criminal case today. So far our correspondents have not convinced Frances Y., the 81- year-old mother of Alan Y. to attend the trial. She is busy working a fulltime job as an office manager and singlehandedly raising Alan Y's son and daughter. She has also said that it would be too painful for her to attend the trial. But we can tell you this: when Balfour met Frances Y. in February 2006 in San Mateo to say that her son's death had been the catalyst for the police search warrant, her eyes filled with tears. "So Alan's death wasn't for nothing," she said to Balfour.

The correspondents at williamayreswatch would ask that all of the readers of this blog please take time out to pay tribute to Alan Y. It is a tragedy that he cannot be here to attend the trial. And please say a prayer for his two children.

All right, we hope that we didn't get you too much off track, so now back to the trial.

The prosecutor talked about the six victims within statute. The details of the abuse will most likely be documented tomorrow in newspapers so we are not going to go into that much detail.

During testimony, Ayres sat like a big fat boulder.For long stretches, he never moves . However, whenever the prosecutor launched into graphic details of the abuse, Ayres visibly flinched. We mean, he really flinched - particularly when the prosecutor described how he made one victim urinate in front of him and then threw away the cup of urine in the sink. Ayres - who had been pretending to take notes - twitched and flinched and looked down -we hope in shame.

We did love the moments of synchronicity that the prosecutor described. She talked about how one victim finally told his wife on his honeymoon that he had decided to go to the San Mateo Police about Dr. Ayres and that when he returned from the honeymoon, there was a call from Captain Callagy of the San Mateo PD, asking him to call.

Even more amazing was the story of Steve S, a bright boy who had gotten into a life of crime after he was molested by Ayres. The day after Ayres was arrested, Steve S, who was being sentenced to robbery for six years, happened to cross paths with Ayres in the same courtroom on the same day. The prosecutor talked about how Steve S had a panic attack when he saw his molester in the courtroom. It was not until April 13, when his mother came to visit him in jail and said "You will never guess what I read about Dr. Ayres" and Steve S said "He's in here for child molestation." And the prosecutor talked about how Detective Rick Decker went to interview Steve S in San Quentin.

What strikes us as particularly chilling is that when Steve S was at the Family Life Center at Petaluma when he was a teenager, he disclosed to his therapist that he was molested by Dr. Ayres. He couldn't remember Ayres' first name, and called him "Richard Ayres."Nonetheless, a report of a molestation was sent to Childrens Services in San Mateo in 1994 and nothing ever came of it. By our count, this is the third complaint to Childrens Services - that we know of,
There as a complaint in 1987, when therapist Jeff Lugerner reported Greg Hogue had been molested. Therapist Fran Acciardi also went to Childrens Services in the mid-1990s after she became alarmed when she learned that Ayres was making one of her patients take off his clothes. Childrens Services thwarted Acciardi. You just know that many,many more complaints went to Childrens Services and nothing was done. Shame on San Mateo County for permitting this pedophile to operate for so long, and for giving him a Lifetime Achievement Award to boot.

We were glad to here that the prosecution is calling child psychiatrist Dr. Lynn Ponton. Many of you may not know that it was Dr. Ponton who interviewed victim Steve Abrams for his civil suit and believed his story of molestation. Unlike other doctors in San Mateo County who suspected Ayres was molesting children and did nothing, Dr. Ponton filed a complaint against Ayres with the medical board. In retailiation, the esteemed Dr. Ayres, ever the bully, filed a complaint against Dr. Ponton with the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Dr Ayres it appears who has had a forty year free reign of molesting boys, was outraged that a responsible adult dared to step in to stop his molesting spree. But we at this blog say three cheers for the brave Dr. Ponton ! We are looking forward to her testimony.

Doron Weinberg's opening arguments: In a word: Snore. He mumbled, he was low key and many in the courtroom found it impossible to hear him. His heart isn't in it. He gives the impression of someone who wrote up his statement the night before.

But Robert Ayres sat bolt upright, at the alert. Both he and his mother and their society dame pal stopped taking notes. But to most observers, Weinberg was a bust. Very general, very vague. At one point, he gave the full names of two victims and then said "oops"and smiled, and asked the court to amend that. He droned his way through Ayres' achievements but there was no oomph, no passion, no "there" behind his words. Skating on the surface, hurrying along. To our correspondents it appeared that he was thinking"Why in hell did I take this case on in the first place?"

Sadly, we noticed that at key moments, the ever eager Robert Ayres nodded vigorously in agreement when Weinberg said things like "Dr. Ayres is first and foremost a doctor." We think Robert and Solveig are the only two people in the United States who believe that child psychiatrists touch children.. Are they not aware of how many child psychiatrists who have done precisely what Ayres has done to boys, and have been locked up in state prison for many years? We continue to wonder if Robert and Solveig suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. Or, if they were to finally pull down the wall of denial and see the reality - that Ayres was a pedophile- that it would make them realize that their entire lives were a falsehood? The way Robert was nodding in agreement with Weinberg when he talked about his father being a pioneer in sex education reminded us of brainwashed Moonies listening to their leader. Robert does not seem like a bad guy - but definitely a waif in need of a father. It is bad, bad luck that he was stuck with Bill Ayres for a dad.

We noticed that Weinberg mentioned that Ayres had a year of pediatrics at Yale and two years of pediatric psychiatry after that. We correspondents know for a fact that this is not true because we have checked with Yale ourselves. Ayres had two years of ADULT PSYCHIATRY at Yale. In a lecture he gave in 1997 for the American Academy of Adolescent Psychiatry(available on tape) the host even tells the audience that Ayres was mostly trained in adult psychiatry at Yale. It's little things like this that drive us crazy. Ayres has been know to embellish his resume and if the DA has its wits about it we would recommend that it check and double check and triple check all his credentials. There's a house of cards in there. If the DA called Harvard University they would not be able to find anyone who says that he was ever on staff there. Oh, he's cheating a little, because Judge Baker Guidance Center is sort of an adjunct of Harvard, but at no time has ayres ever been on the official teaching staff of Harvard. Many East Coast doctors who actually are on staff at Harvard have said they frown at this sort of resume fudging that Ayres is trying to pull.

What else can we say about Weinberg's blah opening arguments? That he used the predictable and shop worn argument that the victims were exaggerating and fabricating and misremembering?? Yawn....

He started his arguments right before lunch and resumed at 1:35 pm. What struck us as odd was that Robert Ayres' hair was soaking wet when he returned to the courtroom after lunch- as if he'd run home to shower. Maybe to get rid of the stench of the sordid allegations the prosecutor had made that morning?

In shades of the Spector case, Weinberg talked about how he doesn't disrespect any of the victims.... yet you know in the weeks to come he is going to give them the shaft.
With the many women who accused Phil Spector of pulling a gun on them,Weinberg told the jury that he didn't mean to disrespect them, and then proceeded to savage them as money- grubbing fame seekers. He told the jury to ignore their testimony completely but then made sure to twist the knife in them.

Even as Weinberg is telling us not to disrespect the Ayres victims, he is already telling the jury that one mother of a victim asked the police about suing Ayres for money. He told the jury that one victim showed up with his mother and a lawyer - as if that were an evil thing. Has he forgotten that he is a lawyer too?

At the end of the day, the first of the in statute victim - known as Orion B,, a very childlike 23 year old, testified as did his mother. It was gut-wrenching and heartwrenching to hear the prosecutor take the victim who dissolved into tears, back into time as a nine year old when he first went to the doctor's office. He testified that he thought his parents were dropping him off at a "safe place." Little did he know that he was about to enter a house of horrors.