A detailed account:
[Update 8/31/2013 - 7:30AM]:
Several updates to body of article (I'll let you find them) also news stories added at bottom.
My opinion – let’s get this out of the way right off the bat:
It is great vindication that ayres was found guilty, convicted, and sentenced to prison. Equally vindicating were the comments that Judge Freeman had to say to ayres (and really, to his family as well) about BOTH the criminal charges AND the dementia claims.( I’ll cover this LAST.)
Conversely: the 8 year sentence that ayres received for molesting children was a gentle smack on the wrist, and nothing more.
You can read the details of the sentence in the post below this one. When you do the prison sentence math, IF appeals fall apart, and IF ayres isn’t released because of “overcrowding” then we’ll probably see him out on the street again before the end of 2019.
The judge gave the MAXIMUM allowed for EACH of the 8 charges, but, as she explained after McDougall asked for leniency, she WAS giving him consideration for both his age and health, and for the fact that he had not been previously convicted of any crimes. She gave this consideration, turning 64 years into 8 years by allowing the terms to be served concurrently. (Note: I think there was also an overall cap of 22 years, so really, it was probably a reduction from 22 to 8 years. I think you get my point either way...)
I’ll make quick work of this: He was not previously convicted because all of the prior reports and back-door whispers were summarily ignored by the very system from which Freeman is giving ayres the benefit of the doubt for not having prior convictions. It may not be my place, but I'm NOT OK with this line of logic.
Monday August 26, 2013 was probably the longest day of my life.
Here’s a synopsis (leaving out large chunks):
Who was there: There were a good number of victims, families, good friends (among them victim’s advocate Victoria Balfour, jurors from the first trial, and the couple who protested against the ayres sex education video series.) I’d say the courtroom was about 70% full. They came from the far reaches of both sides of the United States. There were more reporters than I’ve ever seen by the end of the day. Maybe six or eight. Possibly more. As always, Steve Wagstaffe was there too. Just kidding! Never seen the guy there. Ever. Not once.
There were 6 people there in support of ayres, including Solveig, Barbara Ayres of Sacramento, and Robert Ayres of Chicago. The other three LOOKED like granola eating hippy-shrinks – If you have a mental problem, they’ll make it worse for only $250 an hour, but they’ll probably smoke a joint with you. (Warning: That’s just my jaded, comedic characterization of them – as we all know, opinion becomes fact, and then fact becomes law, and then law becomes pitchforks and torches. Or something.)
Morning (first hour-ish):
Court started late; everyone was in Judge’s chambers hashing out details of Shyster McDougall’s motion.
Shyster had two motions on the table: The first was to suspend proceedings because he had “significant evidence” that ayres is suffering dementia (!). The second related to the change of plea to “no contest”: The defense was worried about the sex offender registration being listed on the plea form, with ayres’ signature indicating that he understood the ramifications, but the court record did not indicate that it had been discussed.
Motion to Suspend Proceedings:
Shyster claims that there is significant new proof that ayres is suffering dementia. As evidence, he submitted a confidential medical report prepared by Dr. Simon Tan of Stanford which Shyster alleges shows SIGNIFICANT “further” deterioration. Shyster also submitted his own observations of the deterioration (Because he’s specially trained in telling the difference between malingering and not malingering.) Also submitted was a large document: the deposition that ayres gave at one of his recent civil lawsuits. Shyster purports that the document shows how confused ayres is.
There was discussion about sealing the medical report – fine, sealed – they will discuss in general terms so that everyone didn’t have to leave the courtroom.
There was discussion about US vs Dusky, the Medina case that we have mentioned before, People vs Lawley, etc, etc, etc… I’ll skip ahead to the Judge’s ruling:
Some general paraphrasing about Judge Freeman’s comments:
1) Dr. Tan’s report was of the same character and content as the other reports submitted much earlier. There needs to be evidence of significant degradation, and there is none. Further, in the competency hearing, the judge had commented on the nature of the reports submitted at that time; he ruled that they were inadequate, and that the reports and testimony of EACH of the doctors (even the ones claiming incompetence) were enough to convince him that ayres was competent and exaggerating or malingering. Since this new report is nothing new, it also is not adequate; it doesn't convince. Further, Judge Freeman made it clear that the law does not require proceedings to be halted simply because a doctor files a report; particularly when the matter has already been so adequately addressed, and significantly new data has not been provided.
2) The judge thanked McDougall for his diligence in reporting his own observations, and noted that the court is also allowed to take their own observation into account, and as she was the Judge on the first criminal trial, she felt comfortable in observing that she did not feel that there was any deterioration of note.
3) The civil deposition: The deposition was about 50 pages of content, and full of “ums” and “ers” which Shyster argued was indication that his memory was failing very significantly. The Judge noted that it’s always surprising how many times people use “ums” and “ers” when speaking, she said that she’s always convinced that she doesn’t do that, and is always surprised when transcripts are read back.
Then she dropped this bomb:
She counted the "ums" and "ers".
She found that the questioning attorney used roughly the same number of ums and ers.
Further, she read the document:
She noted situations where a complex hypothetical scenario was presented, substituting real names with aliases. Ayres was able to navigate the questioning with no apparent problems, as far as she could tell. Judge Freeman indicated that 50 pages of testimony equates to about a half day of questioning, and she also noted that McDougall stated that ayres asked to end questioning early (implicating that it was due to fatigue, I suppose) Freeman told the court that in fact the transcript indicates that they stopped because the tape ran out.
She also found that his testimony (given only weeks ago) was entirely consistent with his testimony at trial in 2009.
Motion about Sex Registration:
McDougall was concerned (hopeful) that the change in plea could be invalidated because the signed form indicates that ayres understands the ramifications of sex offender registration, but in the court record, they did not DISCUSS those ramifications.
Prosecutor McKowan indicated that the forms are standard, and it’s never the procedure to discuss at length the ramifications of the charges during court. It’s the defendant’s responsibility to discuss what they’re signing with their defense attorney. If anyone failed to inform the defendant, it was the defense attorney. She explained that while it could have ramifications for McDougall if he didn’t adequately inform his client, it has nothing to do with this case.
I don’t even remember what the judge said. Probably something like: “Yeah. What she said.” The matter was closed.
Grammar aside to Jonathan McDougall: “It became apparent to myself.” is not correct grammar, and is particularly uneducated. “It became apparent to me.” is correct grammar. Kthxbye
After the motions were dispensed with, it was time for victim impact statements. First, McDougall whined a bit about a couple of things he wanted the judge to admonish the public:
He wanted to make sure that the people giving statements were ONLY people allowed within the statue of the law.
And he wanted to make sure that we were aware that we were supposed to comport ourselves properly.
I’ll take a moment to note: I've been present for most of the court proceedings over the last 5 years or so. Never once been asked to shush by a bailiff, and in fact, if were to venture an estimate, I’d say that victims and supporters have been admonished 3 or 4 times total over that time, and family and friends of the child molester about twice that, perhaps three times that. Whatever – I’m mostly content to be very respectful in the courtroom.
There was a break while the lawyers wrangled with the list of people who wanted to make statements.
Victoria Balfour had the honor of being the topic of an aside motion! Balfour wanted to speak, and she had a couple of brief letters from the mothers of victims who had not reported to police. She was asked to read those letters.
Balfour was the ONLY person on McKowan's list to whom Shyster objected. Argument passed back and forth briefly to with the prosecution, and it was hard to tell who was doing the objecting, even though the prosecution had presented the list. Neither side would state that Balfour was on their witness list, but that she WAS on the witness list for the DEFENSE in the first trial. In the end, both sides seemed to be arguing that it was the OTHER side that DIDN'T want Balfour to speak. (It makes me think of the kid's cartoon that they used to show at the beginning of the grown-up movie at the drive-in theatre, for some reason.)
I think Freeman was intrigued.
Freeman jumped into the argument, stating that Balfour HAD been on the witness list, and was affected adversely last time by being barred from the courtroom. (If you've been reading the blog for a while, you’ll remember that Freeman has brought this up before – she was angry about witnesses being listed, barred, and then not even called. ) Freeman also mentioned that Balfour had actually been involved in the case directly, at the initiation of the police investigation, and at other points in the case.
Just while it was beginning to seem that BOTH prosecution and defense were objecting to Balfour speaking, the judge ruled that Balfour was allowed to give a statement.
Victoria spoke near the end of the impact statements, but I’ll cover her talk briefly right here, since I'm not going to speak at any length about any of the impact statements:
Victoria gave a very brief background about how she was involved with initiating the investigation, and she read from a letter from the mother of a victim who recently contacted Victoria. The victim does not want to report to police, but the mother wanted the letter read. Victoria also read from a letter from an inmate who was molested when he was sent to be evaluated by ayres while in juvenile detention. Victoria also mentioned many other letters that she’d received from inmates who were molested by ayres. This caused some consternation for the prosecution, but no interruptions were made. Victoria was succinct, passionate, and touched on some critical issues that the County needs to consider.
I've already indicated that I wasn't going to write much about what people had to say. I’m going to stick to that. Here’s my reasoning:
I was very focused on making my own statement, and yet I wanted to be able to hear every moment of what others were saying. I did not take any notes at all. I did not want to be distracted.
You’ll note that there is much press on the sentencing, with only a limited number of quotes in each of the stories. I can tell you that in most of the articles, one-liners that are presented as “quotes” are actually not entirely accurate, often they are close, but sometimes, they are not presented in context, and are not quite as meant. Almost, but not quite. I pride myself on pretty good note-taking and pretty close regurgitation when I’m attentively taking notes. I was not taking notes, so I’m not willing to butcher anyone.
(If anyone who spoke is reading this, and wants to submit their statement, I’d be happy to post it (email me email@example.com) I won’t put up your name or email, or anything)
So instead, I’ll say just this:
We heard from victims, a spouse, moms and dads, Victim’s advocate Balfour, even a person who was there to represent a family friend who was a victim, and who had committed suicide. (He asked ayres to rot in hell please. – See… inaccurate quote: there was no “please,” and it wasn't really a question.)
All spoke with passion, with heart, were believable, human, in pain, and were righteous. There is nothing I can say here to transmit to you the passion and emotion. I’m very sorry that everyone reading wasn't able to be there to experience this powerful part of the day.
It was stark contrast: struggling humanity standing to defend against that which is bereft of humanity.
Finally, we heard from the defense character witnesses: Solveig Ayres, Barbara Ayres, and Robert Ayres. I DID take some notes for the defense statements.
Barbara went first.
For some reason, I thought that she was pretty intelligent. Once she opened her mouth, she truly appeared to be a bit stunted, both with regard to maturity and intelligence. I was rather surprised.
She opened with a chuckle “This is unnerving!” (Yeah… I kinda felt that way too! I kinda wasn’t laughing though, as you might imagine.)
She said that she felt threatened by all of us because of the hateful glares and muttered comments. (Yes, the glares ARE hateful, sweetcheeks.)
Apparently she’s not frightened by her nasty bitch mother, who makes hateful comments out loud, and who physically interceded in a conversation between a victim and a police detective, while trying to figure out who the victim was. (Fuck you Barbara. You know you have nothing to fear after all of this length of time with no one giving you a second thought outside of court. Barbara: You're an idiot.)
Barbara spoke about her right to “Free Speech” and that we need to have a balance. (Not relevant.)
She reminds us that the “number of votes does not make it right.” And about the “Persecution of an innocent man..” She complained that it was hard to find allies when one is accused of child molestation. (Hmm... maybe so, but not relevant.)
She spent a good time talking about how she just can’t believe it, her father is a good man, he would never hurt anyone, he was such a good father, etc. (Not relevant.)
She spoke a great deal about competency. Judge Freeman had to shut her down – We’re not re-trying the competency issue… Also, NOT RELEVANT.
She said that people who were claiming to be “masturbated” by ayres were making it up or misunderstanding a medical examination – other rote child molester excuses were given. (Blame the victim all you want, hunny, you're still stupid, and your daddy diddles little boys FOR A LIVING. He masturbated and sodomized little boys so that you could eat your dinner, and live in a nice house, and go to college. I suppose it makes you feel better to keep telling yourself that the victims are lying or misunderstanding, or making things up, and are to blame for the pain that you're feeling, but it in the long term, it's not going to help you; YOU'RE a bad person for bearing false witness against all of us.)
She presented a number of things as “positive” but which are actually troubling if you’re aware of what has been written about the behavior of pedophiles and/or are just strange behavior in general:
She said that she used ayres as her own physician until she was in her 20’s. (Is Relevant!)
She said that ayres was like a “country doctor” and that he frequently went to his patients houses and that he talked to them on the phone from his home office, and that they knew they weren't to interrupt him during those times. (Is Relevant!)
Finally, she asked the judge for leniency because it “Makes no sense to take a bed [in prison] away from a younger, violent person.” (Maybe just double up on cells, or something?)
Robert Ayres’ Testimony:
Robert pulled out his “ACT-TOR” act, and pretended to be a lawyer for much of his presentation.
He talked about how warm, and wonderful and caring and generous his father was. (Not Relevant.)
Robert told us that “Physical exams were an acceptable part of diagnosis” when ayres was trained. He told us that he understands how someone might FEEL physically aroused” by a doctor’s examination. (Good job blaming the victims there! -- Also: not correct, according to the people your daddy trained with, and blame the victim all you want, your daddy diddles little boys FOR A LIVING. He masturbated and sodomized little boys so that you could eat your dinner, and live in a nice house, and go to college.)
He told us about foreskin that must be pulled back in all of those uncircumcised boys ayres was seeing. (Perhaps Robert has a thing for foreskin? Either way, not relevant.)
“He never did one thing ever in my entire life” that resembled this kind of behavior. (Not ever? Never, never, ever?)
He regurgitated the usual False Memory Syndrome Foundation screed. (Not Relevant - recovered memories were not an issue in the trial.)
Robert began to detail victim testimony from the first trial at length, describing how the defense attorney skillfully proved inconsistencies in their testimony. Blow by blow, Robert began instructing the Judge about what Whineberg did to "disprove" their testimony. This went on for some time, until Shyster McDougall lept up and said “I think it’s about time for a break!”
The judge eagerly agreed.
During the break, Shyster was animated but hushed in his rapid-fire instructions to Robert and Solveig.
When we came back, Robert told us that he’d been advised not to address certain things, and that he’d move on. But first, he reiterated that it was irrefutable that when subjected to the defense’s cross examination, the witness testimony fell apart.
Robert talked about Victoria Balfour, and suggested that she had bullied the police into getting a warrant, and bullied the prosecution into agreeing to prosecute.
He told us that rumors become truth, and truth becomes evidence (or something.. can’t remember) and that that becomes pitchforks and torch wielding mobs. (At this point, I nonchalantly tucked my pitchfork under the seats...)
He asked the judge to “Be a hero” and send ayres to someplace close, with a medial facility capable of treating his dementia, if not simply releasing him for "medical" treatment.
Like his sister, Robert also made some troubling statements, presented as positive witness:
Robert was very careful to make it clear that ayres spoke to children “as children” that he spoke on their level, there was no condescension. (There are aspects of pedophilia having to do with the pedophile “relating” better to children than to other adults.)
He told us that ayres often attended the sporting events in which his patients were involved. (Highly inappropriate from a medical (psychiatry) perspective, as well as just outright creepy.)
Solveig smiled vapidly most of the time she was on the witness stand.
When she took the stand, she seemed fascinated by the microphone. She acted a bit stoned, frankly.
She told us a story about ayres going to a restaurant, and they didn't put his coffee on the bill, so he told them to add it. (Everyone knows molesters aren't honest about their coffee bill!)
She told us an interesting story about ayres treating a boy who had a fishhook in his eye. (See He's A Doctor!)
She told us that she had oh-so many different recollections about ayres that are not consistent with pedophilia. She did not elaborate. (Not Relevant)
She told us that at some point after the first trial, ayres became aware that “something was not right with his mind.” (I’d tend to agree with that – but it ain’t Alzheimer’s, and a State Hospital and two Judges, the original team of court-appointed evaluators, and a hung competency jury all agree that it WASN'T dementia. In fact, it appears that the ONLY people who believed that story were the people in the DA's office.)
She was unhappy about some blog that was put up that had pictures of ayres with fangs. (She didn't mention the horns and little "666" on his forehead... Also, there weren't ever any fangs, She's not terribly observant. )
She mentioned that a “lady in New York wants to punish them, and that she’s rumored to be a Scientologist. (Dun, dun , DUN) (Remember – NO SCIENTOLOGY DISCUSSION ALLOWED.)
In line with Barbara and Robert, she told us things meant to show what a great guy he was, but that make my stomach knot when I hear them:
“Kids related to him, and he to them.” (Yes, this IS creepy, if you've read APA stuff about pedos)
On more than one occasion, when walking along in public places with ayres, she would frequently lose track of him, and she’d backtrack to find him, and he'd frequently be found entertaining a child (stranger).
She said that he went to his patient’s sporting events, and that he was physically affectionate (but in a normal way.)
Earlier in the day, one of the victims recalled Solveig's often trotted out statement that ayres is a "Physician first and a psychiatrist second". The victim then proceeded to recite the Hippocratic Oath that physicians take. Here are some excerpts:
[...]Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.And yet, in the afternoon, Solveig rolled the old thing out again. She said: "He was a physician first and a psychiatrist second." And then she hesitated, and looked down at the bench and her family. I believe that someone may have been waving her off, but she continued: "He was a physician first because physicians are allowed to give physical examinations and psychiatrists aren't!"
If I fulfill this path and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot.
I suspect that she meant to say that psychologists can't give medical examinations, but the point that she was not intending to make was made very clearly to most in the room: He wanted to be able to use medical examinations as an excuse.
The ayres family in general:
The ayres family complained about friends and supporters abandoning them, but they blamed the attention and amplification that was being given to the public support that these friends were showing for the child molester. The ayres clan didn't consider the possibility that witness after witness, and combined statements of shrinks who trained with ayres saying they weren't trained that way, combined with determination of malingering, combined with ayres using a wheelchair in court, but apparently no-where else, may have made the ayres "friends" realize that they were just the last scabby rats on the sinking sewage barge they all call home.
The ayres family all used classic "innocent until proven guilty", "mob mentality", "Torches and Pitchforks" rote protestations that every single child molester and sex offender ever has used. Blame the victims. Blame the people who support the victims.
In fact they used language similar to that used by San Diego Mayor Bob Filner just the week prior: "I've never sexually harassed anyone," Filner said, blaming a "lynch mob" -- the media and political opponents -- for his departure. He argued he "would be vindicated" if he had been given "due process."
Filner also said that in a "lynch mob mentality, rumors become allegations, allegations become facts, facts become evidence of sexual harassment which have led to demands of my resignation and recall."
Sounds familiar doesn't it? Same thing with every pervert.
It's well past time for the ayres clan to come to terms with the fact that daddy has no soul, and that he hasn't. Ever.
The judge pronounced her “preliminary” sentence, then allowed some brief argument, and then made it the formal sentence. I won’t detail the conditions again, you can read them in the post below this one.
She did have some statements to ayres:
She told him that she is sentencing him to the MAXIMUM allowable for each count. Paraphrasing:
You violated the innocence of your patients, which you were sworn to uphold.
You violated the trust of the parents
You violated the confidences of the Juvenile Court
You continued to manipulate by malingering.
As the deputies tried to haul ayres off to the California Corrections department, his attorney was talking to him, and ayres roughly shoved one of the deputies away and shouted “I’m trying to listen to my attorney.” It was over with as soon as it started. There was no Taser or gunplay involved.
That's it for now folks!
If you're a victim or family/friend, etc, and you read a statement, and want it published here (whatever reasonable conditions you want) send it to me, and tell me how you want to be credited, etc... firstname.lastname@example.org.
READER COMMENTS, Letters to Editors, and Outside Content:
We've received some updates and found some letters to editor posts that we'd like to share:
1) It was mentioned that the Jury Foreman from the 2009 criminal trial attended the sentencing on Monday. This is very touching, and I'm grateful that he was there!
2) I've received this email from a regular blog follower: "A in Northern California" sent this:
I've been following this story since the arrest in 2007, and keeping up with the news thanks to your blog.
I was a patient of Dr. Ayres for one year in the mid 1980's. Ayres helped me to focus on my life at a time when I was struggling with school and work. Nothing inappropriate happened, and I suspect it was because I was an adult at the time (early 20's). I suspect that many child molesters aren't interested in harming adults.
His care for me made it all the more shocking and reprehensible for me to have learned what he did to his child patients. I am horrified that a man who had the knowledge and skill to help his most vulnerable patients and could have used his abilities for good ... instead he took advantage of them and caused such harm. I am horrified that one who should have been protecting people was actually a monster. In particular I can hardly bear the thought of what evil he did just minutes or hours before my appointments in that very office.
I only hope that his conviction and incarceration provides some measure of relief to those he harmed and their friends and loved ones.
3) The San Mateo Daily Journal has this letter to the editor:
Regarding the story, “Eight years prison for Ayres” in the Aug. 27 edition of the Daily Journal, what a travesty to justice that a person in a position of extreme trust to the public — that we entrust our children to when mental illness occurs — molests the children and attempts over the many years to walk away from any blame. He then is not incarcerated for his remaining years but gets only an eight-year sentence — and there appears to not be any monetary assistance to help people through therapy, or any other assistance offered to the victims of these horrendous acts by other psychiatrists.
Truly, “the figure of justice has her eyes covered with a blindfold — symbolic of the errors of man’s efforts to be just.”
Mercury News (pdf)
ABC Local (pdf)
SF Gate (pdf)
San Mateo Daily News (pdf)
Novato Advance (pdf)
SF Examiner (pdf)
william hamilton ayres was arrested on April 5, 2007 on charges relating to his molestation of many young boys while he was alleging to provide psychiatric care to private patients as well as referrals for evaluation from the juvenile court system in San Mateo County. After years of playing demented for the courts, ayres plead "No Contest" and was found guilty of all charges against him on May 16, 2013. ayres was sentenced to 8 years in prison on August 26, 2013. ayres is currently under the conservatorship of his daughter Barbara Ayres of Sacramento, CA.
ayres has had significant interaction over the years with local politicians on boards like the "Children and Families First Commission," including the DA who was serving when prosecution began Jim Fox and Assemblyman Rich Gordon. In fact, Gordon nominated ayres for a lifetime achievement award for his "Tireless effort to improve the lives of children." ayres has also been vocally supported during his criminal trial by local head-shrinkers like Bart Blinder, Etta Bryant, Mel Blaustein, Harry Coren, Tom Ciesla, Robert Kimmich, Larry Lurie, Maria Lymberis, Richard Shadoan, Captane Thomson, and Harold Wallach.