Sunday, January 24, 2010

We Bring You McDougall's Jury Questionnaire- Grammatical Errors Included!

[Original post date: 01/24/10 07:30am PST by Trapellar] 
 Recently we were able to get our hands on one of those juror questionnaires Ayres' new lawyer, Jonathan McDougall, sent off in December to the jurors in the first trial. The jurors were under no obligation to return the six-page questionnaire and we have no idea how many - if any - even responded to it. Judge Freeman also ordered that any responses would be maintained by McDougall and would not be revealed to the public without a further court order

The questionnaire is divided into four parts:


In the VERDICTS section, we're not sure why McDougall bothered to ask the jurors for the breakdown of the final vote for each victim. Both Doron Weinberg and the prosecutor spoke to the jury right after the mistrial and heard for themselves what the breakdown was. Why go through this all over again when McDougall already knows the answer?

Another thing : will a juror - nearly five months after the end of the trial- be able to recall enough to answer a question like this one: "What concerns or issues created the division of the votes.(Sic) Be specific for each victim if possible. (For example, the credibility of one or more of the victims or other witnesses, or the believability of Dr. Ayres, or the delay in reporting the events, etc.")

That last part about the "delay in the reporting the events" seems way off to us. Although studies have shown that the vast majority of male victims never report the abuse to authorities (let alone tell their spouses or other family members or friends) in their lifetime. In this questionnaire, McDougall appears to be stating as fact that it naturally follows that a delay in reporting abuse by victims would affect their believability. And in the TRIAL EVIDENCE section, he brings it up again: " Which of the complaining witnesses/victims did you or the other jurors struggle to believe, if any? How did the delay in reporting affect their believability?

If he's planning to go down this path at the next trial, we can tell you right now it's a lost cause. There have been literally hundreds of books, journal articles, newspaper articles and experts who say that most victims never report the abuse at all or when they do come forward, it's decades later. This point has been hammered on so often by experts in the mainstream media in recent years (especially in the wake of the pedophile priests scandals) that at this point, most Americans know that one of the most common characteristics of an abuse victim is to not come forward for years after the abuse. A few years ago, every once in a while you'd see some ignoramous on a readers' section of a newspaper story about a pedophile make a sneering remark like,"Why did it take the victim so long to come forward?" But we've noticed lately that remarks such as theseare becoming a true rarity. People are a lot more educated about the characteristics and behaviors of abuse victims, and you can be sure if he tries to bring that up, the San Mateo DA's office will shoot him down fast!

Under the TRIAL PUBLICITY section, we were frankly astonished by this question:

"What effect did the trial publicity and internet reporting have on you or the other jurors? Were the deliberations effected (sic) in any way?"

Never mind our surprise that an Ivy League graduate like McDougall would commit a glaring grammatical error by using "effected" instead of the correct word,"affected." The larger issue is: the jurors were admonished by Judge Freeman not to read the papers or any other publicity about the case. As far as we know, they obeyed her. Where is McDougall's evidence that anyone read anything about the case during the trial? For him to state this as fact is irresponsible.

By the way -that misuse of "effected" was not the defense lawyer's only grammatical error. Here's another in this question in the TRIAL ATTORNEYS section: "Anything done by the attorney's have an impact on your vote or the votes by the other jurors?

[Some additional commentary from Deep Sounding]:
I've added a few comments to the scanned document. I realize that it's a bit nit-picky to look so hard at the grammar in this document, but it is STRIKING that a well paid attorney, who claims to have attended Brown and Pepperdine would produce such a poorly worded, confusing document, given the relative simplicity of the questions which I believe were intended.

In general, I don't really have any feelings either way about the relative value of the questions asked. I don't find them to be overly informative, nor are they overly offensive. For the most part, I'm left with a bit of a sad sense of distaste for the entire judicial system. I seems like it has more to do with out-maneuvering the opponent with insignificant technicalities than it has to do with any real justice. On that note, here's an interesting observation about the questionnaire:

There are some variations on questions of outside (press/internet) influence during deliberations. In his opening, McDougall tells the jurors: "All answers are assumed to the best of your recollection, and are NOT sworn under any penalty of perjury or other negative effect. Please complete any question you can..." While this may be true of the questionnaire, I think there may be a bit of an interesting gotcha, which McDougall isn't being entirely open about:

I'm fairly certain that at one point during the trial, the jurors were asked to individually confirm that they were not reading external sources of information about the case ( media and internet). These answers were given under oath, and each of them affirmed that they had obeyed the court's instructions NOT to look at these sources during the trial.

While the jurors may not be under oath or penalty of perjury for answering questions on the questionnaire incorrectly, they could feasibly be in jeopardy of charges of juror misconduct or perjury if their answers to the questionnaire conflict with statements that they made in court, when they were under oath.

Seems like a bit of a nasty little trap, and I find myself wondering if that was the whole point of McDougall's little fishing expedition. Further, it seems like a bit of an oversight on the court's part that they would allow McDougall to open up that kind of a trap without a warning to the jurors.

In all though, we thought the questionnaire was a snoozefest.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ohio Pediatrician Gets 21-27 Years For Molesting Adolescent Boys

We've got two new William Hamilton Ayres stories in the works, and they'll be ready within the next couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, we thought some victims in the Ayres case might be encouraged by the news that Ohio pediatrician Dr. Mark Blankenburg - whom we first wrote about in October - was just sentenced to 21-27 years for his sex crimes against his adolescent boy patients.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Judge Keith Spaeth had some harsh words for the disgraced doctor:

Spaeth said Blankenburg was sexually fixated on adolescent boys, and the doctor acted upon his urges repeatedly, with no appreciation of the wrongfulness of his actions. The victims suffered serious harm, Spaeth said.“Their lives are a wreck,” the judge said.

In the Enquirer story, a forensic psychologist who evaluated Blankenburg says that "he seems “oblivious” to the seriousness of his offenses and the consequences...

Some nuggets from the nine page report on Mark Blankenburg by forensic psychologist Bobbie Hopes :

-“His own sexual and emotional maturity does not appear to have progressed past adolescence, despite his superior intellect and professional success.”

Blankenburg said he never forced anyone to have sex, the report says. And, “he professed that each time he was involved with an adolescent male, he was in love with them and believed or hoped that they were in love with him,” Hopes wrote. Blankenburg told the psychologist, " I always hoped for love."

- The doctor’s “emotional neediness and immaturity,” coupled with narcissism, “may partially explain why he chose to have relationships with much younger men from such unstable backgrounds,” the report said.

Blankenburg showed no signs of being a psychopath or being mentally ill, the psychologist said, but he did behave inappropriately during the evaluation. “He was unusually happy and seemed oblivious to his current legal circumstances and incarceration. He chuckled and laughed aloud at times, and he scoffed at his charges and (at) the thought that anyone would believe what others said about him during his trial,” Hopes’ report says. She also described Blankenburg as arrogant and condescending.

Hmmm, that line "seemed oblivious to his current legal circumstances" might strike a chord with those who attended the Ayres trial in July, when Ayres and his wife often acted as if they were at a party. Case in point: William Ayres' inappropriate and bizarre "Isn't it a lovely day"comments to the parents of victims; his cheery waving to parents of victims; Solveig's greeting visitors with a big smile and hug to the courtroom as if they were guests at a wedding.

And come to think of it, the words "arrogant and condescending" have also been used in conjunction with Ayres by those who knew him - especially if they were low on the food chain, like the secretaries at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, or probation officers at Hillcrest- you know, the people who weren't in a position to give him access to boys.

As for Mark Blankenburg, it's not over yet. He still faces trial on a dozen child pornography cases.

And as for Scott Blankenburg, Mark's identical twin pediatrician brother, he's under house arrest and his movements are electronically monitored as he awaits trial in April on sex, drug, money and pornography charges involving minors.

Cincinnati Enquirer story, "Doctor Gets 21-27 Years For Sex Crimes" here:
Our Original October 2009 post on the pedophile Blankenburg twins here:


This just in: The attorney for Mark Blankenburg's identical twin, pediatrician Dr. Scott Blankenburg - who was slated to go on trial this April for molesting adolescent male patients- has just announced that his client will plead guilty to the charges.

Wise move!

Story here in the Dayton Daily News:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office Studies Ayres Case as it Weighs Decision To Prosecute Dr. Frontera

We just spoke with Jason League, Chief of the Child Abuse Sex Offense Division of the Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office in Maryland to ask him for updates on the Dr. Miguel Frontera case. As we have pointed out, there are some strong similarities between the child molestation cases of William Ayres and Miguel Frontera.

Although Frontera has not yet been criminally charged, League said he has indeed been looking at all of the new details that have been provided about Frontera's activities from his former patients since news stories first appeared about Frontera appeared in November. Additionally, League told us he has been "studying" San Mateo's William Ayres child molestation case in his effort to make a decision about whether to prosecute Frontera

We hope ultimately League's office will decide to prosecute Frontera. After all, the Maryland Board of Physicians has already determined that Frontera had engaged in"sexual misconduct" with his young boy patients.

And by the way -- League told us that there's no statute of limitation for child molestation victims in the state of Maryland. If that had been the case in California, Ayres would have been arrested a whole lot sooner!!

UPDATE: January 8, 2010 : Meredith Cohn, a reporter from the Baltimore Sun told us that several new victims of Frontera contacted her after her story came out. Let's hope these new victims contact Jason League at the Baltimore County State's Attorney's office.

Meanwhile, we found a photo of Dr. Frontera on Facebook-- with two boys on his lap!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Maryland Psychiatrist Busted For Child Molestation Actually Admits: Physical Exams Were "Not, You Know, Necessary," "Very Out Of the Mainstream"

"I'm pretty much the accepted model"- Testimony of William H. Ayres, July 8, 2009.


"I now realize that it is not, you know, necessary. I'm very out of the mainstream of psychiatry." Statements made by Towson,Maryland child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Miguel Frontera in 2006 to officers from the Crimes Against Children Unit of the Baltimore County Police Department in 2006 when questioned about the need to perform genital exams on two boys, age 10 and 12 who had come to him for behavioral issues associated with ADD.


"In his interview with the Board, the Respondent stated that his examinations were either 'not necessary' or were 'uncalled for.'... The Respondent also admitted that he could have performed physical examinations on his minor male patients while they were clothed but did not do so 'out of habit.'"From Section 16 of the Maryland Board of Physicians' Order for Summary Suspension of Dr. Miguel Frontera's License to Practise Medicine, November 2009

Is there a mini-epidemic of child psychiatrists who molest children ? Because recently we stumbled upon yet another such case- this one very similar to the Ayres one. This past November, the Maryland Board of Physicians suspended the medical license of Dr. Miguel Frontera, an adolescent and child psychiatrist from Towson Maryland for touching the genitals of five boys, -aged 10 to 12 -he was treating for behavioral issues between 2000 and 2009.

According to the report put out by the Maryland Board of Physicians, Frontera's case was reviewed by a psychiatrist who was board certified in adult psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry and forensic psychiary. The reviewer found that Frontera "engaged in unprofessional conduct in the practise of medicine, immoral conduct in the practice of medicine, sexual improprieties and sexual misconduct with patients."

After perusing the report ourselves, we can say that the Maryland Board of Physicians sure has different ideas about appropriate standards for psychiatrists who are treating minors than William H Ayres does. Because they punished Frontera for exactly the same things that Ayres blithely admitted were part of his routine for years.

Here are some of the Board's findings against Frontera:

1) Failing to Notify Parents About Physical Exams:
Both Ayres and Frontera performed genital exams on the boys without the parents' knowledge. Indeed, in some of the cases, Frontera forgot to mention he was even doing a physical exam. In one case, when a terrified boy who had already had his genitalia touched extensively by Frontera discovered that Frontera was going to "examine" him again on the second visit, asked that his mother be present in the room. Frontera refused. As for Ayres, there have been reports that he actually asked parents to leave the waiting room altogether.

2) Failure to Use a Chaperon During The Exam:
Remember when Ayres testified he didn't examine girls because they would need a chaperon and in the process bizarrely implying that boys don't need chaperons? Well in Maryland, for a doctor to examine a minor of either gender without a chaperon is a big no-no. Frontera, it seems never used one (and apparently, just like Ayres, he never did physical exams on girls)
What was Frontera's excuse for not having a chaperone with boys? Well, he told the Board that he "did not provide a chaperon during physical examinations or request this patients' parent(s) remain in the room when performing them because of embarrassment he experienced as a child when undergoing physical examinations in the presence of his mother"!!

3)Failure to Leave the Room When the Boys Undressed:
For both Ayres and Frontera, this was standard practise.

4)No Examining Table:
Ayres "examined" his victims on the table where they'd made clay models. Frontera used an ordinary couch.

5) No Medical Reason to Make A Boy Undress:
According to the Maryland report, Frontera "failed to weigh the intrusiveness of a physical examination against its probative or diagnostic value;" Frontera "had patients undress, which did not further support the diagnosis of treatment plan;" Frontera "required minor male patients to undress during parts of an examination that did not require the patients be unclothed."

As for Ayres, we all know he just gave physicals when he felt like it, for no reason whatsoever. Whether a boy came to him because he was being bullied at school or was suicidal, his diagnosis was the same: off with his pants!! And then Weinberg and he tried to come up with some cockamamie excuse for Ayres' pedophiliac urges.

But there's one big difference between the two disgraced psychiatrists: Frontera at least admitted that his examinations were "not necessary," "uncalled for," and "out of the mainstream."

Ayres,on the other hand had the gall to testify that he was "the accepted model." As for being the proven model, try telling that to Ayres' former colleagues at Judge Baker who say that if Ayres had ever been caught giving a genital exam to a boy during therapy, he would have been instantly fired.

Read the rest of the Maryland Board's Suspension Order against Frontera here: