Ayres charged with four more counts of abuse 

Four more counts of sexual abusewere added Thursday to the criminal case against the renowned San Mateo child psychiatrist, bringing the total number of boys he is accused of molesting to five.

The additional counts against William Ayres, the respected former president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, stem from two additional victims named in the criminal case against the 75-year-old.

He is now facing 18 counts of molestation with five boys who were between the ages of 9 and 12 at the time of the alleged abuse.

Ayres was arrested at his home last Thursday after a two-year investigation by San Mateo police, prompted by a civil lawsuit from a former patient who claimed Ayres molested him in the 1970s.

While Ayres settled the lawsuit for an undisclosed amount, he maintained in an interview with The Examiner in 2006 that he never molested his patients.

Claims of molestations have rapidly surfaced since his arrest due to the case’s publicity. Some 30 men have accused Ayres of molesting them as boys, said Deputy District Attorney Melissa McKowan, but charges can’t be brought if the alleged abuse occurred before 1988, because that falls outside the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution.

She said alleged victims who are currently in their 40s are stepping forward because they have had time to heal from alleged sexual abuse.

"Those are people who’ve overcome what has happened to them," she said. "The problem is … those who are 19, 20, 21 — they are not yet comfortable with the consequences they would face if they come forward."

Ayres, who has health problems and walks with a cane, has not retained a permanent lawyer and instead has been represented on a special basis by a defense attorney. On Thursday, the attorney who appeared, Phil Barnett, declined comment.

When asked what he thought of the charges against him, Ayres replied, "Nothing."

Ayres, a longtime child psychiatrist, was used by local school districts and the San Mateo County Juvenile Court to examine children throughout the 1990s. He has served on the county’s Children and Families First Commission and was awarded a lifetime achievement award from the county in 2002.

McKowan will ask the court today to raise bail $100,000 per additional count, which would total $400,000. Ayres is free after posting $250,000 bail Monday. His initial bail was decreased from $1.5 million last week.

bfoley@examiner.com

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