A California child psychiatrist charged with sexually molesting five of his patients faked Alzheimer’s disease to avoid a retrial, a prosecutor says.
William Ayres, 80, of San Mateo, former president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, appeared at a court hearing Friday in shackles and a prison jumpsuit, the San Jose Mercury News reported. He was in a wheelchair.
Ayres was committed to Napa State Hospital last year. In 2009, a jury deadlocked on sexual abuse charges filed against him.
Deputy District Attorney Melissa McKowan said a report by John McIlnay, a psychologist working for the state of California, suggests Ayres faked the symptoms of dementia and was able to use his knowledge of the field to get past tests meant to discover malingering. Judge John Grandsaert has sealed the report.
“I am skeptical of anything the doctor has done up to this point,” McKowan said after the hearing. “Based on the report, we have reason to believe this whole thing was a hoax and we have been duped.”
Grandsaert scheduled a full hearing Oct. 1 in San Mateo County Superior Court.