Thursday, August 6, 2009

Friday July 3, 2009: No Court Today, But Will Ayres Take The Stand Next Week?

[NOTE: Original post date for this post was 7/3/2009.]

During this court hiatus, we find ourselves wondering if the good doctor himself might take the stand. It has been reported in the San Mateo Daily Journal and the San Mateo County Times that this might just happen, but frankly we think that if Ayres were to take the stand, he would be a disaster waiting to happen.
Here's why:
Take his ever-changing stories about his practice of giving "physicals" to his boy patients. ( To date not a single girl has come forward to say they were examined by Ayres.)
In Dr. Ayres' civil deposition for Steve Abrams' civil suit in October 2004, Dr. Ayres states, " I don't think I have ever asked a child to take his pants down." He told Steve Abrams' lawyer Bob Tobin that it was so rare for him to physically exam a boy that "years went by" between these supposedly rare physical exams. And of course, he said he only examined boys if it were a case of poison oak or some such nonsense, and that in some cases it was the boy himself who asked him to check him out.
But that's not what Dr. Ayres had been telling his medical colleagues in San Mateo over the years. In the 1970's, his then- medical partner Dr. Hugh Ridlehuber received a telephone call from a dentist whose son had been seeing Dr. Ayres. The dentist informed Dr. Ridlehuber that his son was "refusing to go back to Ayres because he was uncomfortable with all of the physicals Ayres was giving him." He asked that Dr. Ridlehuber treat his son instead.
Startled, Dr. Ridelhuber then confronted Dr. Ayres and asked him why he had been giving the dentist's son a "physical." After all, neither Dr. Ridlehuber nor Dr. Ayres' other partners physically examined kids (isn't that what their board certified pediatricians were for ?) and for the life of him he couldn't figure out why Ayres was making the dentist's son take off his clothes.
Dr. Ayres told Ridlehuber that he was "trained to give physicals to all the kids in the therapeutic session back at Judge Baker Guidance Center in Boston." He told Ridlehuber that it was a common practice for child psychiatrists at Judge Baker to do so. Had Ridlehuber thought to make a few phone calls to Judge Baker, he would have learned a very different story. Back in 2006, we actually tracked down three child psychiatrists who trained with Ayres at Judge Baker in the 1960. Not a single one said that they had been trained to touch kids in therapy.
According to Dr. Stanley Walzer, who was at Judge Baker from 1958-60 and then went on to become Judge Baker's director in the 1970s and '80s,told us, "Me, I didn't do physical exams on kids. To suggest that we did this at Judge Baker is crazy!"
Child psychiatrist Dr Joseph Mullen, who also trained with Ayres told us, "We didn't do physical exams in psychiatric sessions with children. That's not part of the psychiatric treatment. No way!"
And internationally renowned child pscyhiatrist Dr. Jacqueline Amati-Mehler, who now lives in Rome and who is the author of many books told us and who trained with Ayres in 1961-63, told us, "In the sessions with children, it was verbal only. If there was a physical problem, the on site pediatrics unit took care of it."
We also tracked down four men who had been patients as children at Judge Baker Guidance Center during the period of 1959-63, when Dr. Ayres worked there. Although we could not find any men who had been patients of Dr. Ayres, all of the men we found had also been under the care of male child psychiatrists. These men told us that their child psychiatrists had never touched them; never given them any kind of physical exam. Their shrinks, they said, treated them with talk therapy. The pediatrics unit treated their physical ailments, if they had any.
We also learned that at Judge Baker, there were overnight dormitories just for the boy patients ( the girls were day patients.) One of the men who had been a patient at Judge Baker told us that his sessions with his child psychiatrist were in his dorm room... Hmm.. that situation sounds like it would have been a prime opportunity for Dr. Ayres to get his jollies off with the boys at Judge Baker.
Additionally, we always wondered why Ayres - who apparently was so proud of his work at Judge Baker that in later years he always referred to it as working at Harvard- ( although this is not technically correct ) hightailed it out of Boston in 1963. When Steve Abrams' lawyer Bob Tobin asked him about his reason for leaving, he never gave a direct answer. We have always wondered if the reason he moved clear across the country was because he got busted at Judge Baker for touching a boy in his room and was asked to leave. It's not at all a far-fetched idea, to our mind. We have found other cases where child psychiatrists who have been busted for child molestation have simply moved to another state - and then resumed molesting kids in the new state.
We talked to a number of psychiatrists who worked at Judge Baker in the 1960s, and they told us that Ayres' old boss, Dr. George Gardner, who was then director of Judge Baker was known for being a heavy drinker and for sweeping all unpleasant problems under the rug. To that end, if Ayres was caught touching a kid back then - then maybe Gardner just swept it under the rug and asked Ayres to leave.
Judge Baker Guidance Center seemed to have been a training ground for a number of child psychiatrists who were later busted for molesting children, like Dr. Tobias Friedman who molested his young girl patients.
See Boston Globe, October 27, 1992 story "Prosecution Mulled in 70's Abuse Claims"

Excerpt: In the wake of decades-old sexual assault charges filed against James Porter in Bristol County, Salem and Peabody police are investigating a former Massachusetts psychiatrist to determine if he can be prosecuted for allegedly molesting at least two young female patients in the 1970s.

The women making the charges against the psychiatrist, Tobias Friedman, hope to take advantage of the same exception to the state statute of limitations that allowed prosecutors to gain indictments of Porter in September for allegedly molesting children while he was a priest in Massachusetts in the 1960s.

Then there's another notorious criminal Judge Baker alum, Dr. Donald Lee Rife, the Yale and Harvard -educated child psychiatrist who arrived at Judge Baker just as Dr. Ayres was leaving. Dr. Rife, who went on to become the president of the Vermont Psychoanalytic Society, was busted for molesting dozens of his young male patients in therapy. He then moved to Florida, and set up practice there, where he continued his child molesting ways. He was arrested in Florida for molesting a seven year old boy ( he had given the boy a toy frog with huge male genitalia... where did he get
that ?) But the boy's mother refused to let her son testify in court, out of fear that he would be emotionally scarred for life. So it was then up to the Florida Medical Board to yank Rife's license, which he fought tooth and nail. There is a series of excellent articles by Carol Gentry from the St. Petersburg Times about the notorious Dr. Rife, and the evergrowing problem of child psychiatrists who molest kids. If any of you readers have acccess to Nexis-Lexis, we suggest you check them out.
Ultimately, Rife's medical license was revoked in Florida, Vermont and Massachusetts - all states where he was caught molesting boys. But that didn't mean Rife had stopped finding a way to be around young boys.
In 2006, a news article in the St. Petersburg Times about the adult docent program at the Salvador Dali Museum, quoted a "Don Rife", a volunteer who talked about how much he loved working with children.
Excerpt from story:

Dali Museum docent Don Rife congratulated his small group, as did the other four volunteer docents who worked with the kids all week. Paige Montgomery, 11, and Dawn Lepo, 9, were also in his group, along with Azneer and Cotton.
"They all did very well," said Rife, who has been a docent at the museum for a decade. "I love their enthusiasm. Since the nature of Dali's work is so fantasy-oriented, they are interested and motivated."
The painter's fantasy style art also includes includes deep sexual dimensions, but Rife said the museum avoids having the young docents deal with that part of his work.
The reporter was unaware that this was the same Dr. Don Rife who had been the subject of a series of articles about his pedophilia in her own paper. However, an alert reader tipped off the paper, and a reporter confronted Rife about his past. He admitted that he was the same Dr. Rife but insisted he had done nothing wrong. He told the reporter that he wasn't gay and that he had "been in a relationship with the same woman for years." Nevertheless, the directors of the Salvador Dali Museum informed Rife that his volunteer services were no longer needed. Please also note that Rife's medical license was revoked in Florida in 1996- the same year he started volunteering with children at the Dali Museum.
Unfortunately, Rife is still teaching the basics of power boat safety at a yacht club to children in Florida. A quick Google search will tell you where he's teaching..
We have wondered what Dr. William Ayres is doing now that his forty -year pipeline to young boys has been cut off. We have heard from our friends in law enforcement that pedophiles can't stop. There are known cases of priests in their 80's who were arrested for molesting kids. By all accounts, pedophiles can't quit cold turkey. So we can't help wondering if the good doctor is finding another avenue to be around boys.
Thoughts, anyone?


  1. Looks like Rife teaches at the Boca Ciega Club in Florida: The Boca Ciega Sail & Power Squadron will split its eight-hour safe boating course into two four-hour sessions on consecutive Saturdays.

    The classes are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Feb. 2 at the Boca Ciega Sail & Power Squadron Headquarters, 130 126th Ave. E.

    Registration is required and will be at 6-7 p.m. Tuesday at the squadron building. The course manual and reading assignments will be provided at that time. The course is restricted to the first 50 people who register.

    Boat ownership is not required. Classroom lecture and self-study lessons cover the techniques of safe handling of sail and power craft, anchoring, tying basic knots, chart reading, plotting courses, radio use, emergency procedures and general safety. Navigation aids such as buoys and range markers will be explained.

    Students pay $30 for the course manual and materials, and fees are due at registration. Additional students in the same family pay $5. Graduates may be eligible for a discount on marine insurance.

    A unit of the U.S. Power Squadrons, the Boca Ciega Sail & Power Squadron conducts classes to teach boaters and those interested in boating. More than 4-million people have taken the safe boating course.

    For information, call course chairman Don Rife, 397-0572.


    Rife is also a member of a Masonic Lodge in Florida. Don't the Masons volunteer with children?

  2. Trapellar:

    Thanks again for the a great article, your research is astonishing.

    Thoughts are this:

    1. I hope the DA's office might check in over here at the William Ayres Watchdog Site and actually read some of this information.

    2. I don't think Ayres will take the stand. But then again a lot of people were betting on the fact that he would take a plea. I myself did not feel he would. Coughing up money for a civil suit was way different. It seems to me Ayres cares about his freedom than anything! More than money, more than Solveig and her financial future. It appears Ayres at age 77 could care less about what pepople think about him! He only cares about being free, to live his dying days eating off of hefty portions at restaurants.

    3. I am sorry that Ridlehuber didn't make to the trial. I think he could have certainly given a contrast to a physician in practice as long as Ayres, same specialty etc., and I am assuming he never had an alllegation of sexual misconduct.

    4. I am extrmely proud of witnesses who have gotten up on the stand to testify.

    5. I have not been in the court room but right now I am not feeling that a smoking gun has been ignited for the jurors by McKowan.

    6. It seems the case could have been ramped up with a bit more complexity, including getting one of the former partners of Ayres on the stand to testify if they had failed to report knowing about allegations. Of course they would have had to be deposed early on.

    7. I feel the jurors are not going to be privy to the book, The Coming of Age. I don't care if Doron Weinberg could get an expert to testify that it is not porn, under the circumstances it would be left to the jury. They would glance down at Ayres and picture him browsing his so called art, and well you know how people have felt about that over at the ain't art and it is not a medical textbook. It just might have tilted the arrow in the direction we wanted the jury to go.

    So, there are a lot of issues and unanswered questions. With apparently one more week to go and some so called EXPERT who does medical cases mostly on brain injury being called to testify that Ayres is not a pedophile. I am left wondering.

    I hope McKowan will put Firestone under the microscope. He is not an EXPERT!

    I hope to hear that some fire kicks up next week and we get that "ahh haa" moment that one thing that everybody including a jury will say, NO DOUBT!

  3. In his article on pyschiatrists' misconduct in the Annals of Psychotherapy (posted earlier on this blog) Dr. Bruce Gross who is on the faculty of the Keck School of Medicine of USC in Los Angeles also points out that it was very strange that none of Ayres' medical partners challenged him very hard when they learned he was physically examining children.

    As Dr. Gross astutely points out - none of Ayres' partners had received training as child psychiatrists to include regular physical exams of boy patients.

    We're still waiting to hear from Weinberg why Ayres - who is not now and has never been a pediatrician - saw fit to do his own physical exams of boys. And we are still waiting to hear from Weinberg about why Ayres said in his deposition that "years went by" between times that he had examined a child.

    We would also like Weinberg to explain why Ayres said under oath that he didn't think he'd ever asked a boy to take his pants down. We are waiting breathlessly for his tortured explanation !

  4. My sense is that McCowan kept it brief and to the point so there is little that Weinberg can jump on. His experts have to try to refute what has been said. Perhaps this is the reason she didn't go overboard. Would like to know what any lawyers who read this site have to say.