Hearing for William Ayres' Release Postponed

William Ayres was accused of molesting seven male patients in the early 1990s.

A hearing on whether a San Mateo psychiatrist charged with molesting male patients should be from the state mental hospital where he was committed last year has been postponed in San Mateo County Superior Court.

William Ayres, 80, was ordered to to Napa State Hospital within 30 days on Sept. 7, 2011, after he was found mentally unfit to stand trial on the molestation charges.

He appeared in court on Friday in a wheelchair, looking "disheveled and very thin and with a long white beard," District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Judge John Grandsaert agreed to postpone the hearing to May 3 on the defense petition to declare Ayres is not restorable to competency. Should the petition be granted, Ayres would be transferred from Napa State Hospital to a community facility or to an outpatient program, Wagstaffe said.

The hearing was postponed at the prosecution's request based on the late filing of the defense legal brief and providing of medical records and neuropsychological evaluations.

Ayres, the former head of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, had been charged with nine counts of performing lewd acts on seven boys during counseling sessions that took place between 1991 and 1996.

A criminal trial in the summer of 2009 ended with a hung jury, but prosecutors decided to retry the case.

But the criminal proceedings were suspended when Ayres' attorney, Jonathan McDougall, questioned his client's competency due to the onset of dementia.

A jury trial to determine Ayres' competency was held in June 2011, with jurors deadlocked 8-4 in favor of finding the defendant incompetent.

Ayres was required to spend a minimum of six months in custody at Napa State Hospital before hospital staff and the court can recommend any other type of custody arrangement.

If his competency is restored -- which is unlikely, given the progressive nature of dementia -- Ayres would return to San Mateo County to face a criminal trial, according to the district attorney's office.

Bay City News contributed to this article.


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