State seeks to yank William Ayres' license for dementia (though prosecutor gets retrial on accusation that he's faking dementia)

August 16, 2012

On August 8, 2012, the Medical Board of California issued an Accusation against San Mateo child psychiatrist William Ayres, seeking to revoke or suspend his medical license on the basis that he is suffering from dementia and so is unfit to practice. This is both ironic and just.

Ayres was tried in criminal court in 2009 on nine counts of performing lewd acts on seven boys he counseled in the early-to-mid 90s. That trial ended in a hung jury but the district attorney decided within months to retry the case. Ayres is suspected of molesting more than 30 boys in his career as a child psychiatrist. Most of those charges however are beyond the statute of limitations.

Before he could be tried again, his defense brought up the issue of competency. Ayres' June 2011 competency hearing ended in mistrial as jurors could not agree on whether he would be able to assist in his own defense. He was remanded to Napa State Hospital, a psychiatric facility, and remained there for nine months. However, based on the contents of a sealed report from Napa doctors, prosecutors now allege that Ayres used his knowledge of psychiatry to fake the symptoms of dementia and to mislead court-appointed doctors.

It is not likely that the 80-year-old Ayres, who is former president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, will ever practice again, the but irony of claiming to have dementia and then being exposed as having faked it...and then losing your license because of a lie. Well, that's poetic justice.

News stories reported Ayres having been observed lucidly conversing in a restaurant with his wife and companions, obviously not suffering from dementia. A private investigator on the case shot surveillance video of this, which is posted on YouTube here and here.

Judge John Grandsaert ordered that Ayres remain in custody without bail in San Mateo County Jail while awaiting his competency retrial on October 1st.

Ayres was ordered to cease and desist the practice of medicine in April 2007 when the molestation charges started mounting against him. However, the state never issued a final decision. The Accusation issued on August 8 is the first step toward a final decision.


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