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Doctor Claims No Memory in Child Molestation Case

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San Francisco Chronicle: Dr. William Ayres testified Wednesday that he has no memory of the patients who now accuse him of having molested them when they were children, and he defended his practice of conducting physical exams on the young boys.

Dr. William Ayres
Ayres is 77 years old, uses a walker to get around, and has been treated for prostate cancer, among other ailments. He said the treatment, medication and his age have diminished his memory and made it difficult to remember names and nouns.

"It's always a little embarrassing when someone approaches me and says I was their doctor and I just don't remember them," he said. "I think that's true for a lot of doctors, but more so for me because my patients were children then, and they change so much when they get older."

Ayres took the stand in his own defense Wednesday, to answer charges that he molested former patients in his private, soundproof office under the guise of giving them medical exams. Ayres has pleaded not guilty to 21 counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14. He is charged with molesting seven male patients, ages 8 to 13, between 1988 and 1996.

Ayres, now retired, had a four-decade career. He was president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry from 1993 to 1995 and saw hundreds of adolescent patients referred by San Mateo County's juvenile justice system, its court-appointed attorney program, pediatricians and social workers. County officials praised him in 2002 for his "tireless effort to improve the lives of children."

Prosecutors say Ayres used his position to victimize vulnerable and troubled boys, knowing they would hesitate to come forward and probably wouldn't be believed if they did.

Much of Ayres' testimony Wednesday related to the controversial practice of having a psychiatrist giving physical exams, including examination of the genitals. Ayres said he did not perform physicals on every one of his 2,000 to 3,000 patients. He said, however, that he considered himself a doctor first and psychiatrist second, and that if there were a need to know more about the body-mind connection, he would not hesitate to conduct a physical.

Ayres, who studied medicine at the University of Wisconsin, Yale and Harvard, said he was taught to go slow with new patients and to perform detailed examinations. Typically, he said, you start at the head and work down so the child gets comfortable with the exam.

He said he never used gloves. Almost no doctors used rubber gloves, he said, before the onset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

Under examination by his defense attorney, Doron Weinberg, Ayres said he had no memory of any of the men who accuse him of molesting them. Weinberg walked him through the medical file of one of the accusers, but Ayres could do little more than refer to the notes and testify as to what he thought they meant.

Ayres' trial will resume Thursday at the San Mateo County Superior Court in Redwood City.

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4 comments so far | Post a comment now
jennifer costa July 9, 2009, 6:49 PM

because he is old he thinks he can play the i forgot role. your a sick man no doubt about it and i hope he goes to jail

Duncan July 16, 2009, 12:35 AM

Hei Jennifer…GOOD ONE !

….and…HE FORGETS !!! HAHAHA
Doctor ! Hahaha
What was his name again ?
“Doctor Crook?” WOW….
He’s gonna jail alright….

Duncan July 16, 2009, 12:44 AM

O…by the way…He says…
that he considered himself a doctor first and psychiatrist second, and…
3rdly-MAD id..t!!
Yes-He should be ‘going in’…try it
there & he’ll have a couple of broken
ribs…


Duncan July 16, 2009, 12:46 AM

O…by the way…He says…
that he considered himself a doctor first and psychiatrist second, and…
3rdly-MAD id..t!!
Yes-He should be ‘going in’…try it
there & he’ll have a couple of broken
ribs…



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