Suspected molester could face additional charges 

William Ayres, the child psychiatrist accused of molesting boys who were under his care, will face additional charges as a result of a continuing effort to locate alleged victims, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Ayres, 75, faces 14 counts of lewd acts with a minor for allegedly molesting three boys in the early 1990s, ages 9, 11 and 12. He is free after posting $250,000 bail Monday. A judge lowered his bail Friday from $1.5 million, a move prosecutors denounced.

The San Mateo doctor arrived, with cane in hand, to court Wednesday afternoon for an arraignment, which was continued until today because prosecutors are preparing to add an unspecified number of charges.

Throughout his reputable career, Ayres was retained by school districts and the San Mateo County Juvenile Court to examine children. He has served on the county’s Children and Families First Commission. In 2003, he was paid by the County Child Welfare Services Department to examine a boy.

Two years ago, Ayres settled a civil lawsuit with an unnamed 40-year-old man, who claimed he was victimized in the 1970s. As a condition of the settlement, Ayres did not admit to any wrongdoing. The settlement spurred law enforcement officials to investigate Ayres.

Deputy District Attorney Melissa McKowan is requesting a protective order to seal the names of 30 alleged victims that span the last three decades of Ayres’ practice. Much of the alleged abuse occurred before 1988, falling beyond the legal statute of limitations forcriminal prosecution. However, those who were allegedly abused before 1988 may be called as witnesses in the criminal trial, McKowan said.

"That’s not everyone we’ve talked to or everyone we will talk to," McKowan said. "There are still a lot of people being interviewed. We have received a lot of phone calls from people saying things like, ‘Thank God I wasn’t the only one.’ We’ve been getting calls saying, ‘I don’t want to tell you who I am. I just want to say it happened to me too.’"

In an August 2006 interview with The Examiner, Ayres denied molesting patients, adding that he did conduct full-body medical exams, which included contact with patients’ genitals.

"Obviously the defense will say, these [boys] went through physicals," McKowan said.

Ayres, who appeared with two acquaintances Wednesday, had no comment. His lawyer, Jim Collins, did not return calls for comment.

McKowan said with the additional charges, she will request bail be increased. She would not say how many more victims will be named in the criminal charges. She aslo indicated that a judge has suspended Ayres’ medical license. His license will be formally reviewed by the state medical board.

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