Town Square

Post a New Topic

Psychiatrist who molested boys is jailed

Original post made on Aug 7, 2013

Dr. William Ayres was a former president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He had treated pediatric patients from the 1960s to 2006, and evaluated hundreds of cases in San Mateo County juvenile court going back to the 1970s.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, August 7, 2013, 8:36 PM

Comments (15)

Posted by Too little, too late
a resident of another community
on Aug 7, 2013 at 10:22 pm

The way Steve Wagstaffe talks about the victims, you might actually think the victims appreciated the work that he and state bar disciplined prosecutor Melissa McKowan did on their behalf.

But peel away the onion, and you'd find that the victims despise Wagstaffe and McKowan, feel that they had to pull teeth to get this prosecution off the ground, and that Victoria Balfour, not Wagstaffe, nor McKowan (who abused Balfour, was disciplined by the state bar for it, yet is still defaming Balfour, apparently with no pushback from Wagstaffe), is responsible for bringing justice to the victims.

It's just another sad story in a long line of fiascos in this DA's office.

Oh, and the supervisors showed true "leadership" by rescinding Ayres lifetime achievement award after his no contest plea. Riiighht. The leadership would have come by rescinding it when victim #5 came forward, because the stubborn refusal to do so, and the closing of ranks around Ayres because he was a San Mateo county guy, sent a message to the victims that they were not credible.

Expect more imbroglios to hit Wagstaffe pretty soon. Former chief inspector Ivan Grosshauser is in a real pickle of a situation right now, and Wagsaffe was in lock step with him. Film at 11.

Posted by Lurker
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 5:45 am

Wagstaffe did not attend the hearing yesterday. How would he know if the victims were "emotional" or not? Although this is one of the biggest cases of child abuse in recent California history, Wagstaffe has not once in the six and a half years of this case ever shown his face in the Ayres courtroom.

Yet according to many inmates from San Mateo County (some of whom are Ayres victims) Wagstaffe was a constant presence at their trials, despite not being the prosecutor on their case. The inmates say that Wagstaffe was always providing daily guidance in the courtroom to prosecutors like Sean Gallagher on their cases.

Mckowan was in over her head and yet Wagstaffe, who'd had complaints about her for four years, did nothing about it. Mckowan had two mistrials in the Ayres case. Then after she and Wagstaffe refused to consider an investigator's evidence that Ayres was competent to stand trial, they shipped him off to Napa, where Ayres proceeded to try to groom a victim with another Napa inmate.

It was only after the San Mateo Board of Supervisors became aware that Mckowan was disciplined by the Bar, and that victims and their families wrote in to the Board to complain about the incompetence and mistreatment by the DA's office, that the Board pressured Wagstaffe to add other prosecutors.

All Wagstaffe has done is complain about how much money this trial has cost him.If he'd an effective competent prosecution on this case, it would have been wrapped up in less than a year. If they had wanted to nail him fast, they would have. In Pennsylvania, they convicted Sandusky just seven months after his arrest.

At the hearing yesterday, a mother of a victim complained in her statement about the bizarre six and a half year length of this trial and talked about how speedy the convictions were of Ariel Castro and Sandusky.

There are new lawsuits coming against San Mateo County because this County continued to send boys to him until 2003, almost 40 years after the first complaint came in about Ayres from a juvenile in 1966.

Posted by Lurker
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 6:04 am

[Post removed. Parody video seems inappropriate.]

Posted by Lurker
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Oh, come on, Almanac editors! The humor in the video is more objectionable than San Mateo County judges and prosecutors sending boys to Ayres like lambs to a slaughter for 40 years, despite dozens if complaints by victims, some of whom later committed suicide? I would suggest that the reporters at the Almanac start investigating the County's culpability. Video can be seen over at or at YouTube.

Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2013 at 1:41 pm

And yet, the electorate of SM County re-elected the DA last year.....You get what you tolerate people. And, NO,I definitely did not vote for him.

Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2013 at 6:26 pm

There was no option for the voters, Steve Wagstaffe ran unopposed.

Posted by Lurker
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2013 at 6:33 pm

Well, then, Mr. Stogner, let's find a candidate to run against Mr. Wagstaffe.

Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 9, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Isn't it interesting that in Santa Clara County there's usually someone from within the DA's office that wants to run against the incumbent every election. Not in San Mateo County. Wonder why?

Posted by Lurker
a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Menlo Voter: I don't know the answer to your question as to why no one wants to run against the incumbent DA in San Mateo.

However, the times they are a changing. Stay tuned.

Posted by Jack Kirkpatrick
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Rescinding Dr. Ayres award from the County Board of Supervisors is a step in the right direction. Justifying their decision, perhaps a wall plaque should be hung, explaining to the public a no contest plea of child molestation. A copy should displayed in the chamber of the board as a reminder that the police and board should have circled wagons in 1988. It was then when the County should have canceled his contract even if his behavior couldn't be proved.

It seems to me that even if his violations could not be proved, we should not give him the benefit of the doubt. The benefit of a doubt is overused by decision-makers. It is better to side in the victim's favor and let the contractor defend why he should be retained. This is especially true where behaviors are in question. Certainly, the victims, especially if there's more than one, suggest some basis about the truth.

We can also consider chief probation officer Stu Forrest , who is facing a child photography charge and was placed on administrative leave and he resigned to save his pension. What honors has the County awarded him over the years?

The problems are exacerbated with the fact that former district attorney Fox and his successor, Wagstaffe, argued that many sex offenders, where there is compelling evidence, were not required to register as sex offenders. It was argued that the waivers were a good punishment for the guilty defendants which we all know is BS; were talking about a tae kwon do instructor who had relations with a 13-year-old. Of course, there are a number of other similar waivers of sex registration that can be cited.

It is also time to turn to current sex offenders in their professions and add those offenders who are parents, relatives and neighbors who satisfy their needs within the neighborhood constellation. All too often, family members and victims rarely come forward, simply because some of these offenders are "breadwinners."

Lastly, when this sordid affair ends, the County grand jury should be convened to investigate where the failures occurred in the Dr. Ayres case and establish new written protocols that will improve future investigations of child abuse! The investigation should also cover the many sex offenders, where there is compelling evidence, and where sex registration requirement was waived.

Posted by Jack Kirkpatrick
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2013 at 4:46 pm

The problems of Dr. Ayres and other professions is only one tip of the iceberg. There are other examples:

There seems to be a clear pattern of behavior between our San Mateo County Dist. Atty.'s and defendants to avoid or waived the sex registration requirements once a plea of no contest or guilt has been confirmed. Since sexual misbehavior has been established, the San Mateo Superior Court should not waive the sex registration requirement. The latest behavior occurred when, "A former custodian and coach at a Belmont middle school accused of groping two female students on campus was sentenced Friday to nine months in jail." The defendant "must attend sex offender treatment but is not required to register" despite placing his hands down the pants of a 13-year-old and fondling another student, as reported in the Daily Journal on July 13.

Other examples of waived sexual registration requirements: sex offender arrested in Menlo Park "pleaded no contest to charges he committed lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14"; a Burlingame man who had consensual sex multiple times with a 12-year-old girl he met at a bus stop was sentenced to six months in jail [and] does not have to register as a sex offender; a 20-year-old tae kwon do instructor who performed a sex act with a 13-year-old girl he considered his girlfriend told police “he had performed a sex act with the girl to celebrate their four-month anniversary; a Foster City masseur must... spend three years on supervised probation but is not required to register as a sex offender.... [He] inappropriately touched and orally copulating a female client," and the list goes on.

These cases were under the supervision of former Dist. Atty. Fox and his chief deputy, who is now the Dist. Atty. Wagstaffe. When you have the goods on offenders and the DA offers or the court grants a light sentence and waives the sex registration requirement, that negotiated plea abuses the system in the name of settling cases!

Least not that we forget that there are many molesters can be identified as neighbors, friends and relatives (father, sister, siblings, aunts and uncles and grandparents…). All too often these offenses are overlooked because it represents an embarrassment to the family and many of those are breadwinners. They can't be removed without protest, in many instances.

Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2013 at 8:13 pm

I spoke to the Board of Supervisors about this case and asked them to speak to Steve Wagstaffe because the consensual sex statement came from him. I told the BOS that a 26 year old man can't have consensual sex with a 12 year old girl...

"a Burlingame man who had consensual sex multiple times with a 12-year-old girl he met at a bus stop was sentenced to six months in jail [and] does not have to register as a sex offender"

Posted by Lurker
a resident of another community
on Aug 12, 2013 at 5:32 pm

What I can't figure out is why DA Steve Wagstaffe's office recused itself from San Mateo Probation Chief Stu Forrest's child pornography case, but it wouldn't recuse itself from the Ayres case. The DA's office hired Ayres to evaluate boys. The prosecutors prosecuted juveniles who were evaluated by Ayres, and some of these juveniles in these court ordered sessions were molested.

James Fox was a counselor at Hillcrest in the 1960s. One of the juveniles he was in charge of was sexually assaulted by Ayres in 1966. In 2011, when the victim learned that Ayres had been arrested, he called and wrote to Fox about the molestation. Fox never responded.

Judge Robert Foiles, who recused himself from the Forrest case because he worked with Forrest and ALSO recommended him for his job, last week presided over an Ayres hearing. But Foiles had ties to Ayres too Foiles also prosecuted the case of a juvenile tried as an adult . The DA's office and the juvenile's attorney agreed to have the boy evaluated by Ayres. That juvenile was assaulted by Ayres after he was arrested.

The ties go much, much deeper between Ayres, the judges and the DA's office. Why didn't Wagstaffe's office recuse himself? Was he afraid of the can of worms that might be exposed if another County prosecuted the case? Is he afraid that some of his precious murder cases might be overturned because Ayres molested some of the boys his office prosecuted?

For a DA's office to take six and a half years to convict a guy on what should have been a slam -dunk, nine -month case at best, is very suspect.

Posted by Lurker
a resident of another community
on Aug 22, 2013 at 5:38 am

Yesterday, Ayres' lawyer filed a last-minute motion ahead of August 26th's supposed sentencing, claiming yet again that Ayres is mentally incompetent:

Web Link

As usual, District Attorney Wagstaffe doesn't appear to be very concerned about this case.

Posted by Lurker
a resident of another community
on Aug 23, 2013 at 4:38 pm

The sentencing of Dr. Ayres, a court-appointed San Mateo child psychiatrist for forty years (despite complaints from victims dating back to 1966) will take place on Monday, August 26th at 9:00 AM.

Victims, their families and friends are encouraged to attend and to give statements.

Prior to the hearing, coffee and donuts will be served in a conference room on the second floor of the Redwood City courthouse, starting at 8:15 AM on the 26th.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Almanac Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

What to do if you get a noisy Rheem/Ruud heat pump water heater
By Sherry Listgarten | 15 comments | 4,746 views

Do Palo Alto city officials ever, ever have enough money?
By Diana Diamond | 48 comments | 3,506 views

Beverly Hills' hit restaurant Mírame completes the lineup at Menlo Park’s Springline
By The Peninsula Foodist | 3 comments | 2,897 views

Travelin’ Solo: Salvation Mountain and East Jesus
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 1,725 views

Need vs Needy
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 972 views