No decision yet on whether to retry Ayres

August 4, 2009 1:16:52 PM PDT
The attorney who prosecuted William Ayres, a prominent child psychiatrist accused of molesting several young patients, said today she has not decided whether to retry the case after a mistrial was declared in San Mateo County Superior Court last month.

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Ayres, 77, had been charged with nine counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14. Deputy District Attorney Melissa McKowan said the jurors had leaned toward guilty on all nine counts.

Judge Beth Freeman declared a mistrial July 27 after announcing the jury was hopelessly deadlocked in the highly publicized case.

McKowan said today the jury was split 11 to one on four of the counts. On the other five counts, the votes ranged from 10 to two to seven to five.

She said that for the past week she has been interviewing jurors, speaking with the alleged victims and talking to the defense attorney in an effort to decide whether to retry the case.

"We're going to make a decision as soon as possible," she said.

She said the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office cannot change the charges against Ayres.

Ayres, who was president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry from 1993 to 1995, would have faced up to life in prison if convicted.

After the mistrial was declared, Ayres' defense attorney Doron Weinberg said he and his client were relieved the jury didn't convict Ayres, but disappointed that he wasn't acquitted.

The trial focused largely on physical exams Ayres conducted on his patients. The six alleged victims testified the doctor groped them, and while Ayres admitted to performing physical exams in which the boys were naked from the waist down, he testified that nothing inappropriate happened.

McKowan and Weinberg will meet with Freeman at the end of August to discuss the next step. Ayres is free on $750,000 bail.

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