First of all, best wishes to the San Mateo DA's office for their decision to retry the Ayres case.
We're writing this because we really, really hope that next time around the DA's office will look into Ayres' training at Judge Baker Guidance Center in Boston from 1959-63. Were child psychiatrists really trained to be literally hands-on with their young patients, as Ayres has been telling everyone in San Mateo County for decades ?
We think not.
Back in the summer of 2006, we spoke a number of times with one of Ayres' former partners named Dr. Hugh Ridlehuber. Ridlehuber recounted to us that back in the 1970s, he had inherited a patient from Ayres- a son of a dentist- who told his father he refused to go back because he was "uncomfortable" by all the physicals Ayres was giving him. Ridlehuber told us he asked Ayres,"Bill, why in hell are you giving a boy a physical?" Ridlehuber told us that Ayres gave a smooth and seamless answer about being taught to give physicals to boys in the therapeutic setting at Judge Baker Guidance Center in Boston, where he trained from 1959-63.
Ridlehuber, alas, let it go.
But it sure sounded bogus to us and that's why, in the fall of 2006, we decided to investigate ourselves. We spoke with three doctors who trained with Ayres at Judge Baker: Dr. Stanley Walzer( who would later become head of Judge Baker); Dr. Joseph Mullen; and Dr. Jacqueline Amati-Mehler, who resides in Rome and has a world reputation aas a child psychiatrist.
All three told us in no uncertain terms that they did not give physicals to boys or girls during therapy. "We treated the mind only," Dr. Amati-Mehler told us. Which would make sense, because Judge Baker had its own on-site pediatrics unit.
If the DA decides to look into Ayres' Judge Baker days, we hope that they also talk to Dr. Mel Brown, one of Ayres' former partners at at Peninsula Psychiatric Associates. Dr. Brown who still lives in the San Mateo area, also trained at Judge Baker from 1963-64. We spoke to Brown in the summer of 2006 and we are sure he would be more than willing to help set the record straight for the prosecution. We happen to know he's no fan of Ayres - or his sex education television program.
If the DA hasn't spoken to Brown already, they definitely should. He left Peninsula Psychiatrics Associates at the end of 1987 and was involved with some litigation concerning the retirement trust against the association. We found the case over at the San Mateo court website.
We have heard that Ayres had told so many people on the West Coast so often that he was trained to touch boys during therapy at Judge Baker that he almost believed it himself. He probably referred to his training at Judge Baker -as he did at the trial - as working at "Harvard." (Other doctors who've trained at Judge Baker have said they have never referred to their training there -which is an adjunct - as "working at Harvard.") We hope the DA nails him on that next time around.
We've noticed a bit of an inferiority complex among West Coast folks in terms of East Coast training. We've wondered if Ridlehuber ( who died last year) and the cops and Childrens Services who received complaints about Ayres didn't challenge him because they were intimidated by his "training" back East. (No doubt he threw in the word "Harvard".) Maybe they really thought - as the wife of pediatrician Dr. Sam Leavitt did when she told a mother of an Ayres victim four years ago: " I guess child psychiatrists were trained differently back in the East."
Why, even Dr. Gil Kliman for the defense in this last trial kept emphasizing his East Coast medical training and implied that his work at Columbia University Medical School was somehow fancier and more important than say, any training at Stanford. We don't necessarily think that's true, but we've noticed that West Coast people are still buying into the East-Coast-is-superior kind of thinking.
If East Coast medical training is so vastly superior, why then, did so many pedophile child psychiatrists and pediatricians who have been busted get their start in Boston - as Ayres did?
Here's a partial list of doctors (most of them Ivy League graduates)who've had their medical licenses revoked and/or were arrested for pedophilia and who also worked in Boston:
Dr. Edward Daniels
Child psychiatrist. Graduate of Yale. Child psychiatry fellowship at Yale
Staff child psychiatrist at Judge Baker Guidance Center, Boston 1960
License revoked in 1990 for sexually abusing four 27 women.
Dr. Alan Horowitz
Adolescent psychiatrist. Magna cum laude grad of Harvard University
Arrested on multiple counts of sexual abuse of young boys, including sodomy.
Fled US when on bail: captured in India after being featured on America's Most Wanted.
Now serving time in federal prison.
Dr. Walter Presnell
Child psychiatrist. Trained at Harvard in the 1960s. Paid a large settlement to young male patient he molested in Boston throughout the 1970s. License revoked in Connecticut after it was revealed he had given marijuana and alcohol to young male patients and convinced them to engage in various sex acts with them as a way to deal with feelings about their fathers.
Dr. Donald Lee Rife
Child psychiatrist. Graduate of Yale and Harvard Medical School
Trained at Judge Baker Guidance Center 1964-1996.
License revoked for molesting adolescent boys in Vermont, Massachussetts and Florida. Arrested in Florida for molesting a seven year old boy.
Dr. Tobias Friedman
Child psychiatrist. Worked in various Boston hospitals, including Childrens Hospital, a teaching hospital of Harvard from 1956-57 License revoked for trying to hypnotize and have sexual contact with two adolescent girls in the 1960s and early 1970s when he was in practice in Massachussetts.
Dr. Mel Levine:
Pediatrician and best selling author of "A Mind at a Time."
Graduate of Harvard Medical School. Accused of molesting boys when he worked at Boston Childrens Hospital. North Carolina medical license revoked in 2009 because of molestation allegations. Kicked off the foundation he started because of sex abuse allegations. Total number of victims who have come forward: 50