California ‘Doctor Monster’ Finally Brought Down

Michelle Durand

Article provided by Michelle Durand

San Francisco Bay Area Daily Journal


Ayres art

For the victims of Doctor William Hamilton Ayres and their families, yesterday was the day they’d been waiting decades to see — the once-prominent child psychiatrist wheeled off into sheriff’s custody to begin serving time for molesting former patients.

Ayres, 81, won’t be formally sentenced until August 26 but Judge Beth L. Freeman ordered him taken to the county jail to await that hearing and a mandatory doctor’s report on his likelihood to reoffend. The jail time served will count as credit toward his ultimate prison sentence.

Ayres’ incarceration is a change for a man who has spent most of the last six years free on bail while being prosecuted for abusing boys under the guise of medical exams. During a hearing last year to determine if he was faking dementia to avoid trial, prosecutor Melissa McKowan referenced a report from Napa State Hospital, where he’d been committed as incompetent, that said Ayres was intentionally refusing treatment. Ayres, McKowan said, asked “Why? So I can go to prison?”

Although Ayres was originally charged with molesting six patients between 1988-1996 when they were ages 9 to 13, authorities believe he abused dozens of other patients whose cases fall outside the statute of limitations. 

Ayres was once well-known as president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Police began looking at him in 2002 and, in 2005, Ayres settled a lawsuit with a former patient but he wasn’t arrested on a $1,500,000 warrant until 2007. Between then and yesterday’s remand into custody, Ayres posted bail over the years as charges were added.

Both his criminal and competency trials ended with hung juries and he was eventually released from Napa State Hospital to stand trial again. After changing his plea in May, the judge allowed him to remain free pending sentencing. But the court-appointed doctor’s need for more time to complete the “dangerousness” report prompted the judge to act.

Judge Freeman indicated a likely eight-year prison term for Ayres’ crimes but will consider up to 22 years after hearing from the victims.

Here’s more on medical monster Ayres:


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