Monday, June 29, 2009

"Yes, I Sent Kids To Ayres, And I Now Have Great, Great Guilt And Regret"-former Juvenile Judge Pat Bresee

The San Francisco legal paper, the Daily Journal has just come out with what we believe is the best article yet on the Ayres trial. What we find very interesting is the Judge Marta Diaz's connection with Dr. Ayres, and how telling it is that she refuses to speak with the reporter, John Roemer. 

We salute the bravery and honesty of former juvenile judge Patricia Bresee for stepping up to the plate and talking to the reporter about her regret and pain that she unknowingly sent boys into the lion's den of Dr. Ayres.

Please note that Steve Wagstaffe in this article says that his office never referred anyone to Ayres. According to Dr. Ayres himself, that is incorrect. In Dr. Ayres' deposition for the civil suit, Ayres says under oath that Marta Diaz sent kids to Dr. Ayres when she was working for the prosecutor's office. 

In this story, our  fact checkers have caught another lie from Doron Weinberg: According to the  reporter Weinberg says that they were "routine physicals administered by a pediatrician who later became a child psychiatrist."

We sure hope the DA's office is going to call out Weinberg on this lie

Ayres has never ever been a pediatrician - not in Connecticut and Massachusetts, where he did his training. Ever.  We fervently hope that the DA's office has thought to call Yale University where he did his residency. At least one citizen has checked and double checked and triple checked with Yale and at no  time was he a "pediatrician" board certified or any other way. 

Like every other med student who was training to go into psychiatry, Ayres - along with his classmates -- was required to take pediatrics in his first year. That single year was  the only training he has ever had with pediatrics. For the following two years at Yale, the records department says that Ayres trained in ADULT PSYCHIATRY. During that time, Ayres worked at a Veterans Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut, treating the minds of ADULTS. He received no further training in pediatrics ever again.

After his residency, from 1959-63 Ayres went to work as a child psychiatrist at Judge Baker Guidance Center in Boston. Weinberg refers to this as working at Harvard but every other child psychiatrist who trained there says that this is not entirely true. It has an association with Harvard but no psychiatrist we talked to who worked with Ayres ever said they called it "teaching at Harvard." Additionally, a check with Harvard University and Harvard Medical School shows no records of a Dr. William Ayres working on staff there. 

Judge Baker Guidance Center - a place for troubled kids - has an on-site pediatrics unit. The staff pediatricians attended to the kids if they had something physically wrong with them.  At no time did any of the staff child psychiatrists administer pediatrics to the children. Why on earth would they ? Although we tracked down a number of doctors who trained with Ayres at Judge Baker at the same time, not a single doctor said that they had touched the children during the therapeutic session. Indeed when Dr. Stanley Walzer - who later became head of Judge Baker Guidance Center--  heard that Ayres was telling his colleagues in San Mateo that he had been trained to give physical exams during the therapeutic session at Judge Baker, he was shocked. "We didn't do that!  Touching boys during therapy ? Giving them physical exams ?That's just crazy ! " Of the four other doctors we tracked down who trained with Ayres, they were all aghast at the suggestion that they would be administering physicals during the therapeutic session. As world renowned child psychiatrist DrJacqueline Amati Mehler said to  one of our correspondents  who contacted her, "At Judge Baker, child psychiatrists treated the children's minds only.  The pediatricians examined the children. "

We kinda wish some reporters would do their homework and do some fact checking on Weinberg's bogus statements. The hard cold truth is that his client has never been a pediatrician; has never been a board certified pediatrician, and that to call him a former pediatrician is a bald lie. 

Daily Journal story:

June 29, 2009

By John Roemer 
Daily Journal Staff Writer

REDWOOD CITY - San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman peered with concern at the sobbing young man in the witness box last week, the first alleged victim to testify in the trial of a prominent child psychiatrist accused of molesting adolescent boys.

"Take some breaths," Freeman advised, motioning to a courtroom deputy to fetch the witness a cup of water. "Deep, slow ones. It's OK."

It was shaky opening testimony in a high-profile trial that has implicated much of the county's juvenile justice system and raised questions about why defendant William Hamilton Ayres was allowed to treat children for years despite the accusations against him.

The witness, a college student identified as Orion B., broke down as he was recounting how Ayres fondled and masturbated him as a 9-year-old boy during therapy sessions at Ayres' San Mateo office.

Ayres, 75, has pleaded not guilty to 10 felony counts of committing lewd and lascivious acts on six children under the age of 14 between 1988 and 1996 and is free on $750,000 bail. Another dozen or more alleged victims are outside the statute of limitations. People v. Ayres, 06-4366.

The charges have riveted the county, and Freeman spent part of a morning in court rejecting requests by television and still photographers to record opening statements by the prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Melissa R. McKowan of San Mateo, and defense lawyer Doron Weinberg of San Francisco.

The Ayres trial has been delayed several times, most recently because Weinberg was in Los Angeles representing record producer Phil Spector at his murder retrial. The current trial is expected to continue through July.

Who's on trial here?

Ayres faces disgrace and imprisonment, but in a way, San Mateo County juvenile authorities themselves are in the dock. Ayres was a respected figure in the county's juvenile services system for 40 years as school nurses, social workers, judges, court-appointed attorneys and other physicians referred young patients to him.

At least three of Freeman's fellow jurists on the San Mateo County bench sent youths in the juvenile justice system to Ayres.

Former Superior Court Commissioner Patricia T. Bresee of Atherton, who retired in 2003 after years hearing juvenile court cases, is among those who made referrals.

"Yes, I sent kids to Ayres, and I now have great, great guilt and regret," Bresee said. "Thank goodness a police investigation finally led to charges."

The current presiding juvenile court judge, Marta S. Diaz, who also referred cases to Ayres, has come under withering criticism from some in the county who contend she should have known Ayres was a problem as early as 1987, when a man came forward with pedophilia allegations against Ayres - allegations police could not verify.

Diaz at the time was a deputy prosecutor. Her critics assert her assignment in the district attorney's sexual assault unit means she must have heard the allegations against Ayres, and so should have been on notice as a judge to not refer juveniles to him.

Diaz did not return a call last week. In a March interview she dismissed the claims as "bullshit" and said her critics have a "little jihad" against her.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Stephen M. Wagstaffe, who was Diaz's supervisor, said she was on the district attorney's sexual assault team from 1984 to 1986, before the report on Ayres' alleged crimes was filed.

"Her detractors feel she was in a position to know about him, but within our system timewise that doesn't fit," Wagstaffe said. "Is it impossible? I can't say that."

As a judge, Wagstaffe said, "Diaz was known to have appointed [Ayres] with some regularity and spoke very highly of him, even socialized with him."

The third San Mateo County judge known to have referred juveniles to Ayres was Margaret J. Kemp, who retired in 2004 and now works as a neutral for ADR Services Inc. of San Francisco. Kemp could not be reached last week. In a 2007 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, she said Ayres had a "glowing" reputation and "always did good work for the court."

"Every time we saw someone charged with child molest, family and friends would stand up in court - even after the person had pleaded guilty - and say there had to be a mistake, he wouldn't do such a thing," Kemp said. "I hear echoes of that in what I'm saying to you. Oftentimes, child molesters, particularly middle-class, educated people, are completely unsuspected by people who live with them or work with them."

Ayres was president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry from 1993 to 1995. In 2002 the county's board of supervisors voted Ayres a lifetime achievement award for his work with youth.

Allegations take hold

Word of his alleged crimes, however, later erupted, and Ayres was arrested in 2006.

"This is a big case, one that has garnered more attention and more child victims than any other here," said Wagstaffe, the chief deputy district attorney. "If he committed these crimes, he should be locked up for life.

"The district attorney's office feels regret for what happened, but we never referred anyone to him."

In her opening statement, Deputy District Attorney McKowan described the physical exams Ayres allegedly gave his victims as "a ruse designed by a pedophile" that turned into molestations and "creeped out" adolescent males sent to him for treatment.

Defense attorney Weinberg insisted there was no improper touching, only routine physicals administered by a pediatrician who later became a child psychiatrist.

Physical exams are no longer the norm for psychiatrists, Weinberg said. "Some things shifted in the profession. Some things became too dangerous to do."

Weinberg elicited testimony from Orion B.'s mother that the youth had had some sexual issues with a sibling and a playmate and that he'd been born with a hormonal imbalance that sometimes inhibits genital development. The clear implication was that Ayres was correct to conduct a physical.

In the 1960s Ayres generated controversy by working with the public television station KQED to produce a series of films for youths that included sex education content, then a controversial topic.

The films were shown in San Mateo County schoolrooms to fifth and sixth graders, provoking a parental backlash. "Dr. Ayres became a lightning rod symbol in a very polarized community," Weinberg said.

"Am I saying he was targeted because of his announced views? No. What's really going on here is that young people with emotional psychiatric burdens have misconstrued, elaborated and exaggerated. I'm not saying it's their fault. But they brought their own set of problems to their experience with Dr. Ayres."


  1. Wow, it looks like not only is it hot outside today, but Wagstaffe must feel like he is sitting his ass on hot gridle only suited for a waffle!

    Keep the stories coming! Great article. So many contradictions from the DA.

    At lease Bresse has the moxy to apologize, it appears that is her confession that Ayres is guilty!

    Yes, the County of San Mateo court system let down the kids. Will they be sued? Time will tell.

  2. Excellent research Trapellar on the pediatrics information.

    Every doctor does a rotation here and there including surgery etc.

    Until they begin to decide on a specialty I assume.

    One thing for sure Trap, you don't mind if I call you by your nickname, he he, maybe you should become a prosecutor.

    The depth of your research makes me wonder why no one has ever posed these questions to Ayres, he took the stand for the civil suit right?

    So he is not a board certified pediatrician....did he continue with CME in pediatrics, that's continuing medical education by the way... or only CME is psychiatry?

    Great questions for the beast if he takes the stand!

  3. "This is a big case, one that has garnered more attention and more child victims than any other here," said Wagstaffe, the chief deputy district attorney.

    Wagstaffe is incorrect. Compared to the Dr. Mel Levine child molestation case, which was on the front page of the New York Times, nationally the Ayres case is not a big one.

    The only reason that it was a big story nationally in 2007 was because a certain journalist alerted the major papers way ahead of time about the arrest and gave them all the background material. The DA's office seems to think that papers around the country just magicaly heard about the case on their own. They should be grateful that someone went out of their way - for free- to get their case publicity.