[Updates: 04/08/10 08:00pm]
Three years ago today, the San Mateo Police showed up at the house of the former president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (an organization which is obviously a complete sham) william hamilton ayres, with a warrant for his arrest and dragged him out in handcuffs. The charges relate to his molestation of many young boys over the course of his career, in which he was allegedly a psychiatrist. He has been accused of using that practice to gain easy access to young boys from both his private practice, and from the juvenile justice system. ayres was contracted to evaluate young children sent to him by judges in the juvenile system: ayres was the LOW BIDDER on these contracts according to one of the judges in the juvenile system.
In an article by John Coté of the San Francisco Chronicle, Coté says that the arrest was the culmination of four years of investigation. (Please read the arrest details, and background, if you haven't seen them lately.) Prior to his arrest, ayres settled out of court in a civil lawsuit (moderately high six figure settlement.) The 2002 criminal complaints which started the investigations did not result in a criminal trial, due to devastatingly inappropriate statute of limitations rulings. It is a testament to that victim and a few other victims who agreed to provide corroborating testimony that they had the strength of will to pursue a potentially brutalizing civil suit. The out of court settlement, while likely not anywhere near enough to "fix" the damage done, was substantial enough to make it VERY clear that even though ayres did not admit guilt, he wasn't going to be able to successfully defend himself. That victim achieved a great victory for all of us, and he is owed a great debt of gratitude!
The reason that the criminal investigations got started in the first place was due to the interest and persistence of investigative reporter Victoria Balfour, who was pretty pissed-off when she found out that a co-worker had been molested, and that the molester was still practicing "psychiatry." (Again, read the "background" link above if you're new to this case.)
The current criminal case was tried in June/July of 2009, and was the result of a police investigation, in which they retrieved recent (in-statue) patient records and contacted former patients to ask what had taken place. Ultimately they found some victims, and other victims, hearing of the investigation, voluntarily came forward, and the case was brought to trial, which ended in a hung jury, largely due to one hold-out juror. (That juror appears to have been a recently graduated unemployed lawyer, and was apparently very unsympathetic to the victims. I hope she has a very busy career, and doesn't have time to ruin the lives of any of her own children.) Mistrial was declared on July 27, 2009. During the trial, the several IN-STATUE victims testified that ayres molested them in the guise of performing "medical examinations" and several more out-of-statute victims also testified to show patterns of intent and propensity to molest.
Before reaching the June 2009 trial date, there were four other trial dates set and missed (the earliest was March 10, 2008) due to a variety of reasons, including alleged health issues, constitutionality of the arrest warrant, judges who didn't like the attorney, poor planning on the part of the defense attorney, etc...
During the first trial, Weinberg and ayres referred several times to his "retirement" from practice. In actuality, however, ayres also stated that he was planning continue "practicing" in "volunteering" at some kind of facility (which he couldn't remember the name of) with a group of volunteer pediatricians and other doctors. Fortunately for those "patients" ayres' medical license was yanked by the State of California.
The case is slated to be re-tried, and has already missed the first scheduled trial date (April 12, 2010) due to incompetence claims filed by the new attorney on behalf of ayres. On April 28th, 2010, we are slated to see the results of ayres' competency evaluations, but given the new attorney's recent track record, we fully expect that that date will slip by as yet another date in the long string of missed dates due to the successful maneuverings of ayres' representation.
After charges were filed in 2002, Juvenile Court Supervising Judge Marta Diaz was still referring juvenile court cases (potential victims) to ayres as late as January 2003, according to the articles above. And ayres has very strong political ties with judges as well as local politicians, such as District Attorney Jim Fox and local Supervisor Richard Gordon. He was lauded by the county of San Mateo and by peers for his “contributions” as a preeminent practitioner in his field, and specifically as a “child and adolescent psychiatrist.”
In January of 2002, he was nominated by San Mateo County Supervisor Rich Gordon for a "Lifetime Achievement Award" and the resolution was passed by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors in spite of the fact that several report had already been filed (and dismissed without investigation) with various county agencies.
(Board Members who approved the nomination unanimously: Mark Church, Richard S. Gordon, Jerry Hill, Rose Jacobs Gibson, Michael D. Nevin; County Manager: John Maltbie; County Counsel: Tom Casey) This nomination was specifically related to his "service on the Children and Families First Commission, and his tireless efforts to improve the lives of children and adolescents." Other Children and Families First Commission members serving with ayres at the time were: Maureen Borland, Patricia Bresee, Jim Fox (yes... that's San Mateo County District Attorney Jim Fox) Floyd Gonella, Richard Gordon, Christine Kennedy, Amy Liew, and Margaret Taylor.
It is unlikely that DA Fox is still standing behind ayres, and Gordon's position is unknown to me at this time. Judge Marta ("I don't care. I know it's all bullshit") Diaz gives the public impression that she believes ayres is innocent of the charges.
It is also a fact that should ayres be found guilty, San Mateo County (and its power-players) will have a good deal of egg on their face, due to their long time support and due to the fact that several local agencies for some reason ignored or whitewashed much earlier reports of ayres' abuses. There is no way to know if this embarrassment factor is something that is still helping ayres to avoid/delay prosecution, but it is very routine for child molesters to make these kinds of politically expedient relationships exactly so that they can abuse their trust when necessary.
To repeat: The animal used his position and his profession and his political connections to gain access to and to molest young males. The county could have stopped this. Because they failed repeatedly, more young children were damaged, quite probably irreparably in many cases.
In addition to his political ties, there are several "doctors" who support ayres, some publicly, such as Dr. Etta Bryant, MD, past president of Northern California ROCAP, and is practicing Adolescent and Pediatric Psychiatry, among other things.
Privately, in a fundraising letter, the following doctors have pleaded on ayres' behalf:
Bart Blinder, M.D.: APA Assembly Representative 1990-Present
Etta Bryant, M.D.*: President Northern California ROCAP 1986-1988
Mel Blaustein, M.D.: President Northern California Psychiatric Soc. 1991-93
Harry Coren, M.D*.: President, Northern California ROCAP 1994-1996
Tom Ciesla, M.D.: President of California Psychiatric Ass 2000=2002
Robert Kimmich, M.D.*: President Northern California Psychiatric Soc. 1993-1995
Larry Lurie, M.D.*: President Northern California Psychiatric Soc. 1981-1982
Maria Lymberis, M.D.: Secretary of American Psychiatric Assn., 2000-2002
Richard Shadoan, M.D.: President of California Psychiatric Assn., 1994-1996
Captane Thomson, M.D.: President of California Psychiatric Assn., 1992-94
Harold Wallach, M.D.: President of California Psychiatric Assn., 1990-1992
I do understand the idea behind helping a colleague to get the legal assistance they need to represent themselves if charges seem unfounded. But I find it telling that these individuals have apparently not come forward to publicly refute their support of ayres, given the breadth and depth of the accusations against him, as well as the availability of the transcripts of ayres' own testimony, (which I have reported on, and are available for purchase from the San Mateo County Court ) which psychiatric professionals should probably recognize as more than a bit troubling.
The public needs to be aware of the methods, the excuses, the incompetent colleagues who cover for molesters like this, and they need to be aware that people in positions of authority have the propensity to look the other way, probably because of the prominence of these kinds of molesters, and they way that molesters like ayres drag officials into their web to ensure that they can continue to molest.
People need to be aware so that they can protect their own kids. It is a horrid mistake for the public to assume that government officials and professional medical associations are looking out for them, and that there is nothing to worry about, and people need to be reminded of this. The officials ONLY step in after it's painfully clear that they are no longer going to be able to sweep the dirt under the rug, and by then many lives have been ruined.
ayres even manged to insert himself into the process of defining his organization's guidelines for treating childhood victims of molestation, working as the chair of the Work Group on Quality Issues in writing a paper for the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry called “Practice Parameters for the Forensic Evaluation of Children and Adolescents Who May Have Been Physically or Sexually Abused” which is still considered to be an important guide in the practice, and was even used as a source for expert testimony in his own trial, by experts in his field. In the course of his testimony during his trial, it became clear that he tried very hard to insert the "necessity" for "medical examinations" into the practice parameters,but was met with opposition. What a slam dunk that would have been for a burgeoning young pedophile!
Currently, the search for older victims is well underway in places that ayres was "practicing" when he was younger, and perhaps even farther back than that.(Just look back in this blog for the last few months for plenty of details.)
Meanwhile, there are FIVE new civil suits against ayres for the exact same types of charges. Four of these civil cases are scheduled for trial in the fourth quarter of 2010, on of them is brand new as of this year.
Meanwhile, we continue to do what we have always done. We wait.