Closing arguments are expected to conclude today in the trial of Dr. William Ayres, the once-prominent child psychiatrist accused of lewdly touching half a dozen boys under the guise of medical necessity.
Prosecutor Melissa McKowan and defense attorney Doron Weinberg began their closing statements Monday in San Mateo County Superior Court. Ayres, 77, faces nine counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor younger than 14. The charges are based on the accusations of six former patients who argue that they were molested by Ayres between the ages 9 and 13.
McKowan said Monday that a 10th charge had been dropped during the course of the trial that stemmed from the accusations of a man referred to in court as Eric B., who testified that Ayres masturbated him during a physical exam when he was 13. He originally was going to testify that a second incident had occurred, McKowan said.
She told the jury Monday that Ayres performed physical and genital exams exclusively on male patients because he is a pedophile — a psychiatrist who desired to undress, touch and see the bodies of young boys. She referred to the exams he conducted as "sloppy, drop your pants and sit on the table" procedures.
"If genital exams are necessary in the diagnosis of adolescent children with psychological or mental health issues, why would you only conduct those exams on boys?" she asked the jury.
McKowan urged the jury to consider why Ayres kept poor notes of the exams and the unusual conditions under which he gave them. She also pointed out that no witness ever testified for the defense that Ayres taught the importance of physical exams at UC San Francisco, something he told the court last week that he had done.
Judge Beth Freeman issued jury instruction before closing arguments. She told the jury that four former patients who accused Ayres of molesting them but whose charges fall outside the state's statute of limitations can be considered in deciding if Ayres has a disposition to commit sexual offenses, or if their testimony can show that Ayres had a plan to lewdly touch the in-statute accusers.
Weinberg told the jury that there is simply no evidence Ayres committed a crime. He said the case rests entirely on memory, asking jurors to recall the testimony of memory expert Dr. Elizabeth Loftus.
"This case is about memory and memory alone," Weinberg argued. "There is no physical evidence."