A former prominent child psychiatrist who allegedly faked a mental illness in order to avoid prosecution on molestation charges was denied bail Wednesday.
William Ayres, 80, who is charged with molesting seven youths from ages 8 to 13 during counseling sessions in the early 1990s, will remain in San Mateo County Jail while awaiting a hearing scheduled for Oct. 1.
The past president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry also is suspected of molesting more than 30 others on occasions that are now beyond the statute of limitations.
In 2009, prosecutors nearly secured a guilty verdict against Ayres, with all but one juror in favor of conviction on four of nine counts. Afterward, the retrial process dragged on, and last year attorneys on both sides agreed that Ayres had been experiencing the onset of dementia.
The San Mateo psychiatrist spent the next nine months at Napa State Hospital.
But a recent report from hospital doctors revealed that Ayres has been faking his illness, prosecutors said. He has reportedly used his extensive medical knowledge to fool the justice system.
Judge John Grandsaert’s decision Wednesday to deny Ayres the opportunity to make bail was praised by a group representing alleged victims.
After the ruling, a commenter wrote on a blog dedicated to the case, “There aren’t enough years left in his life to rot there for the appropriate time.”
“But this is a modest start,” the commenter added.
The group had claimed all along that Ayres was faking dementia. Only days before his competency hearing last year, a private investigator filmed Ayres chatting with pals at San Francisco restaurants and “appearing competent,” victims group advocate Victoria Balfour said.
Many of Ayres’ victims, Balfour has said, have suffered from depression, alcoholism and drug addiction — last year, a 48-year-old man committed suicide by running into oncoming traffic and a 44-year-old victim died of complications related to alcohol abuse.
Also, some have ended up in the slammer themselves, Balfour added. Her group’s blog questioned whether Ayres might run into any of them during his stay in County Jail.
Ayres is next scheduled to appear in court Oct. 1 for a hearing to determine his mental competency.