Police look for doctor's patients
Probe surrounding child psychiatrist widens
By Kelly Pakula,
San Mateo Times
October 25, 2006
SAN MATEO — The molestation investigation surrounding prominent child psychiatrist William Ayres has widened, as the San Mateo Police Department, along with the Department of Justice, attempts to contact 1,200 people who may have sought treatment from Ayres in San Mateo County.
A former president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Ayres, 74, for decades treated county residents referred to him through local school districts and the county's juvenile justice system. He also ran a private practice.
Some of Ayres' former patients and their family members have come forward to file police reports charging that Ayres molested them while they sought counseling from him. However, most of those cases are too old for prosecution under the statute of limitations.
According to San Mateo Police Capt. Mike Callagy, using materials taken from Ayres' home and office during a search of his property in March, a court-appointed "special master" has compiled a list of more than 1,200 possible patients, all meeting the statute of limitations. The special master previously drafted a list containing the names of only 700 former patients, Callagy said.
"We are still going through mounds and mounds of records over here," Callagy said Tuesday. "It's going to take quite some time. It's very time-consuming tracking (the patients) down."
Callagy said the police department hopes to finish the investigation within the next four-to-six months.
Last summer, Ayres settled a lawsuit with a man who claimed the psychiatrist molested him in 1977, when he was 13, according to court documents. Details of that lawsuit have not been released.