Saturday, July 11, 2009

Guest post from Victoria Balfour

I just received the following from Victoria Balfour, and am posting it on her behalf, as a guest poster for this blog (Thanks, Victoria):


"Are you aware that other psychiatrists have been determined to be pedophiles?"
- Prosecutor Melissa McKowan to Dr. William Ayres, July 9, 2009.

I think some people who read this blog know something about my efforts to help the victims of Dr. Ayres over the years, but almost no one knows that I also helped the victim of another pedophile child psychiatrist --by sheer fluke -- three years ago. I had forgotten all about the incident until I heard heard the prosecutor ask that question about psychiatrists and pedophiles last Thursday.

This is a true story:

Back on March 25, 2006, I was sitting watching television in a sitting room at Vassar College's Alumnae House in Poughkeepsie, New York when a woman in her mid-fifties walked in and started talking to me. She told me that her name was Jean and that she lived in Indiana but had grown up in Florida. After a while, she told me that she had to go make a quick trip to a drug store and asked if I could keep an eye on her thirteen -year- old daughter who was sitting with us. As she left, she said to the daughter," Make sure she doesn't try anything on you."

I was surprised by this comment and when she returned I told her so. Jean told me that something bad had happened to her as a kid that had made her not trust people. That's when I decided to tell her about my efforts on the Dr. Ayres case. She seemed agitated as I told her of the details of the case, and I soon learned why.

"I was molested too by a child psychiatrist in Florida in the 60s, " Jean told me. "His name was Dr. Melvin Wise."

My mind's eye flashed to a stack of folders I kept in a corner of my livingroom of the dozens and dozens of cases I'd found on child psychiatrists who had molested children.

"You know, that name sounds awfully familiar," I said to Jean. " I'm not 100 % sure, but I think Dr. Wise has already been busted for child molestation."

Jean looked skeptical. But at my urging, we went downstairs to the library to do a Lexis- Nexis search on Dr. Wise. It wasn't long before I found an article from a Florida newspaper that said that twenty women had come forward to say that Dr. Wise had molested them as children, and that as a result the Florida Medical Board had revoked his license.

Jean read the story with her hand over her mouth, looking both horrified and relieved. "All these years I thought I was the only victim," she said, over and over.

When I returned to my home in New York City the following day, I tracked down Dr. Wise's very first accuser. a woman named Linda Hatch who was living in Missouri. Linda told me that Dr, Wise had died several years earlier but that she was in touch with many of his victims. She asked me to give her name and number to Jean. I was happy to comply.

Somehow, I don't think my meeting Jean was an accident.


I've read some comments here and on another blog accusing me of being a Scientologist. When I read these comments, I laugh and think about how I can't wait to tell Dr. David Frank -- my own longtime psychiatrist -- about these silly accusations. I can't speak highly enough of Dr. Frank, who was trained at Columbia University Medical School and is now on staff at New York University Hospital. When I first told him in 2002 about what Dr. Ayres had done to Steve Abrams, he was appalled. Dr. Frank told me that if I wanted to nail Dr. Ayres for what he had done to my friend Steve, he was certain I could. That was seven years ago, and he's continued to be one of my biggest supporters for the work I have done on the Dr. Ayres case.

When I think about Dr.Frank and the compassion and support he has given to me over the years, almost always a phrase from the Twenty-Third Psalm floats up from my subconscious: " He restoreth my soul."

[Deep Sounding EDITORIAL NOTE: Because Victoria has addressed the topic of "Scientology" I will re-iterate that this blog has a set of guidelines regarding posting on the topic of Scientology. They have already, and will continue to be enforced. Please read them.]


  1. Victoria,

    Perhaps it is your destiny to help victims of childhood sexual abuse!

    You seem to have chance meetings with people who tell you what happened to them at the hands of a doctor.

    I attended your CCAT presentation. I do hope that you will do another presentation soon!

    I am sure no one could thank you enough for all your help with the Ayres case.

    Thanks again for seeing this case through!

  2. Victoria,

    I have said it before and I say it again.

    You are a HERO.

    Thank You

    Michael G. Stogner