Psych Crime Reporter

November 12, 2012

Psychiatrist William Ayres faces child molestation retrial in March 2013

Filed under: child molestation,psychiatrist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 11:16 am

A once-prominent Northern California child psychiatrist is set to be retried on charges that he molested patients after a judge sided with prosecutors who argued that he fooled mental health experts into believing he had dementia to avoid prosecution.

San Mateo County Superior Court Judge John Grandsaert set a March 2013 trial date for William Ayres, 80, on Wednesday.

Ayres was tried in 2009 on charges that he molested several young boys under his care, but a jury couldn’t reach a verdict. He was accused of using physical exams that included the genitals as a cover for the abuse.

Prosecutors attempted to retry him, but Ayres was ruled incompetent and sent to Napa State Hospital.

Grandsaert said a key factor in his ruling was a report from a psychologist who said Ayres faked or at least exaggerated dementia.

The psychologist, John McIlnay, said Ayres was able to perform tasks that would be difficult for someone with dementia, including spelling “Alzheimer’s” for the nurse filling out his admissions form and recognizing and greeting a fellow psychiatrist he hadn’t seen in more than a year.

The defense countered that a dozen mental health professionals who examined Ayres, including two doctors at Napa State Hospital, agreed he had dementia.

Ayres’ attorney, Jonathan McDougall, told the San Mateo County Times (http://bit.ly/W8vULB ) he’ll consider appealing Grandsaert’s decision.

Ayres is the former president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. His patients were a mix of private clients from wealthy families who were referred by their pediatricians and troubled juvenile delinquents ordered to undergo therapy by the courts.

He was arrested in 2007 after a four-year investigation, and his license to practice medicine was suspended.

Ayres testified at his trial that the exams he conducted on some of his patients were necessary because he had concerns about their physical health.

Source: Judge: “Psychiatrist fooled mental health experts,” Associated Press, November 1, 2012. 

November 2, 2012

Child psychiatrist William Ayres, charged with molestations, lied about having dementia

Filed under: child molestation,psychiatrist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 2:10 pm
Tags:

A once-prominent Northern California child psychiatrist is set to be retried on charges that he molested patients after a judge sided with prosecutors who argued that he fooled mental health experts into believing he had dementia to avoid prosecution.

San Mateo County Superior Court Judge John Grandsaert set a March 2013 trial date for William Ayres, 80, on Wednesday.

Ayres was tried in 2009 on charges that he molested several young boys under his care, but a jury couldn’t reach a verdict. He was accused of using physical exams that included the genitals as a cover for the abuse.

Prosecutors attempted to retry him, but Ayres was ruled incompetent and sent to Napa State Hospital.

Grandsaert said a key factor in his ruling was a report from a psychologist who said Ayres faked or at least exaggerated dementia.

The psychologist, John McIlnay, said Ayres was able to perform tasks that would be difficult for someone with dementia, including spelling “Alzheimer’s” for the nurse filling out his admissions form and recognizing and greeting a fellow psychiatrist he hadn’t seen in more than a year.

The defense countered that a dozen mental health professionals who examined Ayres, including two doctors at Napa State Hospital, agreed he had dementia.

Ayres’ attorney, Jonathan McDougall, told the San Mateo County Times ( http://bit.ly/W8vULB ) he’ll consider appealing Grandsaert’s decision.

Ayres is the former president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. His patients were a mix of private clients from wealthy families who were referred by their pediatricians and troubled juvenile delinquents ordered to undergo therapy by the courts.

He was arrested in 2007 after a four-year investigation, and his license to practice medicine was suspended.

Ayres testified at his trial that the exams he conducted on some of his patients were necessary because he had concerns about their physical health.

Source: Judge: “Psychiatrist Fooled Mental Health Experts,” Associated Press, November 1, 2012.

October 30, 2012

State revokes psychiatrist Williams Ayres

Filed under: child molestation,mental health,psychiatrist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 10:45 am

On October 24, 2012, the Medical Board of California revoked the license of psychiatrist William Ayres.

Ayres was arrested in April 2007 on charges of lewd and lascivious conduct upon a child under age 14 years.

His trial commenced in July 2009 and ended in a mistrial.

Retrial was scheduled for April 2010.

In March 2010, Ayres’ counsel filed a request to inquire into Ayres’ competency to stand trial. The jury in that matter informed the court on June 17, 2011 that it was hopelessly deadlocked and unable to reach a verdict as to competence.

The court ordered Ayres to evaluation and treatment. He was admitted to Napa State Hospital on October 25, 2011. A February 2012 report from the hospital confirmed a diagnosis of dementia.

(A Napa Hospital psychologist later reported that Ayres faked having symptoms of dementia. News items reported that Ayres had been seen in public carrying on socially with friends and family without any signs of dementia.)

Source: Stipulation to Surrender and Revocation of License and Order in the Matter of the Accusation Against William H. Ayres, Physician and Surgeons Certificate No. G 8452, M.D., Case No. 03-2007-182874, Medical Board of California, Department of Consumer Affairs.

Psychologist says psychiatrist William Ayres, charged with child molestation, faked dementia symptoms

Filed under: child molestation,mental health,psychiatrist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 10:40 am

REDWOOD CITY, California  — The psychologist who branded William Ayres a malingerer took the stand Monday to explain why he believes the accused child molester has been lying about his symptoms of dementia.

Napa State Hospital sent Ayres, 80, back to San Mateo County this summer after concluding the former child psychiatrist was fit to undergo a second criminal trial on charges of sexually abusing five young boys who were sent to him for treatment. Ayres’ first criminal trial in 2009 ended in a hung jury.

John McIlnay, a forensic psychologist who specializes in sniffing out people who are faking mental problems to escape punishment, testified that Ayres exhibited abnormal swings between lucid and foggy states of mind. Ayres’ results on assessments of his overall ability to function day-to-day also varied widely, said McIlnay. He also noted that there were discrepancies between how the patient acted in clinical settings and during down time.

“I don’t believe that dementia can wax and wane to the degree that the behavioral observation and reports would suggest,” said McIlnay, who combed through Ayres’ records from before and after he was admitted to Napa in October 2011. He ultimately overruled several Napa clinicians who had diagnosed him with dementia.

Followed suggestion

One episode that caught McIlnay’s eye involved the level of staffing during lunch at the psychiatric facility. Concerned about his safety, Ayres sought out the nursing supervisor of his unit to request that she increase the number of staff present at that time. When the supervisor, having noticed the same issue, followed Ayres’ suggestion the next day, he sought her out to thank her.

That behavior contrasted sharply with some of Ayres’ interactions with clinicians. In one competency test regarding the legal system, McIlnay said, Ayres was uncooperative and evasive, claiming he didn’t know what a judge does.

Three Napa clinicians who testified Friday for the defense said it’s normal for the symptoms of people with dementia to vary from day to day.

Many questions

Ayres’ lead attorney, Jonathan McDougall, made the unusual decision Monday morning to testify as a witness regarding his client. McDougall described episodes of Ayres’ forgetfulness and the difficulty he has had strategizing with a client who doesn’t remember previous conversations.

When prosecutor Melissa McKowan asked about comments Ayres made at Napa indicating he believes he will be convicted if tried again, McDougall said Ayres misconstrued conversations the two men had regarding the case. McDougall said he’d told his client their chances of winning at trial would be worse if Ayres is not sharp enough to testify on his own behalf.

Prosecutors believe Ayres molested more than 30 boys, but most of the alleged victims fell outside the statute of limitations. After the 2009 mistrial, Ayres’ family hired McDougall, who soon raised questions about his client’s mental state. A trial on Ayres’ competency ended in 2011 with a hung jury, and the District Attorney’s Office conceded the defendant had dementia.

But McIlnay concluded Ayres was grossly exaggerating his cognitive problems. Now San Mateo County Superior Court Judge John Grandsaert is tasked with ruling on Ayres’ fitness. The competency hearing will continue Tuesday with more direct examination of McIlnay, followed by cross-examination.

Source: Aaron Kinney, “Napa psychologist brands William Ayres, accused child molester, a malingerer,” San Mateo County Times, October 29, 2012.

October 29, 2012

Psychologist John William Visher arrested on charge of sex crime with 8-year-old; lawsuit

Filed under: child molestation,child pornography,psychologist,sexual abuse,sexual exploitation — Psych Crime Reporter @ 8:00 pm

SANTA CRUZ — A civil lawsuit has been filed against a Capitola psychologist who is facing criminal charges of sexual abuse against a child.

Dr. John William Visher was arrested last month at his La Selva Beach home after Capitola police investigated allegations that he committed lewd acts against an 8-year-old girl. The girl had been his patient and detectives believe the incidents occurred at Visher’s former Bay Avenue office in 2009.

Last week, the girl’s family filed a personal injury suit against Visher in the civil divisions of Santa Cruz County Court. It charges him with sexual harassment, professional negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and seeks unspecified damages.

Visher pleaded not guilty on Oct. 9 to five felony charges that include lewd acts upon a child, sending obscene material and possession of material depicting a minor engaging in sexual conduct. He is due back in court Nov. 14.

The family is being represented in their civil suit by attorney and psychologist Joseph C. George.Capitola police detective Sarah Ryan said earlier this month that the alleged acts against the girl were first reported in January but the investigation was complicated by doctor-patient privilege issues.

Ryan said her continued investigation has uncovered complaints about abuse of two boys who were ages 6 and 10 at the time. Ryan has re-interviewed the boys and her investigation into those incidents is ongoing.

“While Ms. Doe is very sad that her daughter was abused by the defendant after two minor patients had previously been harmed by Dr. Bill, she is also extremely grateful to law enforcement officials who investigated this case against a trusted, child psychologist who has treated Santa Cruz area kids for 30 years,” George said.

Visher’s license to practice psychology was suspended by the California Board of Psychology on Sept. 24 after his arrest on those charges. He was first licensed to practice psychology in the state in August 1982 and has no prior administrative citations or disciplinary actions on record with the agency.He has posted bail and is no longer in custody.

Capitola police urge anyone with more information to contact the department at 475-4242 and ask to speak with a detective.

Source: Jessica M. Pasko, “Suit filed against Capitola psychologist for allegedly sexually abusing a child patient,” Santa Cruz Sentinel,
October 22, 2012.

October 24, 2012

California psychiatrist Stephen Melcher loses Texas medical license following child molest conviction

Filed under: child molestation,crime and fraud,mental health,psychiatrist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 11:43 am

On August 3, 2012, a Disciplinary Panel of the Texas Medical Board temporarily suspended, without notice, the Texas Medical License of Stephen Melcher, M.D., of Sacramento, CA, after determining that Dr. Melcher poses a continuing threat to the public welfare.

It is alleged that on October 11, 2011, Dr. Melcher molested an 11-year-old boy during a dinner party at his residence and an arrest warrant was issued for Dr. Melcher, charging him with that offense. On May 25, 2012, Dr. Melcher entered a plea of no contest to the charge of felony sexual act with a minor and was sentenced to one year in jail with a five-year probationary term.

Melcher’s California Medical License was suspended in June. Melcher is board-certified in psychiatry.

The suspension remains in effect until the board takes further action. Dr. Melcher has a right to another hearing, with notice, as soon as is practicable.

Source: “TMB suspends Texas License of California Physician,” news release of the Texas Medical Board, August 3, 2012.

October 8, 2012

Army mental health specialist charged with raping child

Filed under: child molestation,mental health — Psych Crime Reporter @ 1:50 pm

A Fort Bragg soldier is accused of raping a child, under the age of 13.

The incident took place in mid September in a private residence.

Pfc. John Jinsoo Kim, 20, of Kedenburg Street on Fort Bragg, was charged Tuesday with first-degree rape, taking indecent liberties with a child and another sex-related offense, according to an ABC news report.

The offenses are alleged to have happened Sept. 14, warrants said. Fayetteville police said they happened at a home on Bedrock Drive, off post near the Yadkin Road gate entrance.

Kim serves as an active-duty behavioral health specialist assigned to Womack Army Medical Center, a Fort Bragg spokesman said.

He is held at the Cumberland County Jail with bail set at $150,000 bond.

Source: Kelly Twedell, “Behavioral Health Specialist at Bragg Accused of Raping a Child,” Fort Bragg Patch, October 3, 2012.

September 25, 2012

California psychologist John Visher arrested on child sex abuse and child porn charges

Filed under: child molestation,child pornography,psychologist,sexual abuse,sexual exploitation — Psych Crime Reporter @ 8:06 pm

CAPITOLA, California — A 65-year-old psychologist was arrested Wednesday at his La Selva Beach home on suspicion of child sex abuse and child porn possession.

Capitola police received a report in January that Dr. John Visher possibly had committed lewd acts with a minor who was his client at the time. According to the criminal complaint, the incidents are alleged to have taken place sometime between September 2009 and December 2009, prosecutor Michael Gilman said.

The girl was 8 years old at the time.

During the course of the police investigation, a search warrant was executed at Visher’s home and his office on Bay Avenue in Capitola.

Due to potential patient-therapist privilege issues, the court appointed a special investigator to review all items seized during the investigation. Members of the Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office assisted.

Visher was arrested by Capitola police detectives Wednesday. He’s charged with committing lewd acts with a child younger than 14, displaying harmful matter to a child and four counts of possession of child pornography.

Visher was taken into custody and booked into County Jail without incident. He was out on bail as of Wednesday night and is scheduled to be arraigned Monday.

Authorities have notified the state licensing board that oversees licensing of psychologists of the investigation and the arrest.

Visher was first licensed to practice psychology in California in August 1982, according to the California Board of Psychology. He does not have any prior administrative citations or disciplinary actions on record with the agency.

The investigation is ongoing, according to Capitola detective Sarah Ryan.

Source: Jessica M. Pasko, “Capitola psychologist arrested on suspicion of child molestation,” Santa Cruz Sentinel, September 20, 2012.

State charges psychiatrist Richard J. Pines with sex abuse of children

The Idaho State Board of Medicine has filed a complaint against a Boise child and adolescent psychiatrist alleging he had improper sexual contact with four former patients or foster children and had a three-year affair with an adult patient to whom he was prescribing painkillers.

The complaint against Dr. Richard J. Pines was filed on June 28 and alleges abuses dating back to June 2001. He has denied the allegations in his response to the board. Pines’ attorney, David Cantrill, declined comment.

The board is seeking a hearing on whether Pines’ license should be suspended or revoked or if he should face other punishment. No criminal charges have been filed.

The board’s complaint alleges that in two cases Pines told young men he needed to practice giving massages to naked bodies to maintain his medical license and improperly touched them, including one who was 14.

Pines acknowledged taking naked pictures of another patient who was about 14 while they were at Pines’ cabin in Garden Valley and acknowledged taking money to that patient before Pines was interviewed by Boise police in March 2011, the board’s complaint alleges.

In January 2011, the board alleges Pines told a former foster child that he needed a “test patient” on whom to practice hernia exams and that he acknowledged giving that person $2,000 after the incident.

The board also alleges Pines prescribed controlled substances to an adult patient with whom he had a three-year affair without records showing that the patient needed the medication. The board said the last prescription, for acetaminophen and codeine, was filled in June 2010.

Pines has been licensed to practice medicine in Idaho since June 1997 and has worked at several places including Boise Public Schools and Saint Alphonsus Health System.

Source: “Medical board files complaint against Boise doctor,” Associated Press, August 27, 2012.

August 30, 2012

State issues charge against psychiatrist Richard J. Pines for sexual contact with foster children

Filed under: child molestation,psychiatrist,sexual exploitation — Psych Crime Reporter @ 11:26 am

The Idaho State Board of Medicine has filed a complaint against a Boise child and adolescent psychiatrist alleging he had improper sexual contact with four former patients or foster children and had a three-year affair with a patient to whom he was prescribing painkillers.

The complaint against Dr. Richard J. Pines alleges abuses dating back to June 2001. He has denied the allegations in his response to the board.

The board’s complaint alleges that in two cases Pines said he needed to perform naked massages to maintain his medical license, in one case he took naked pictures of a 14-year-old patient at his cabin and told a former foster child that he needed a “test patient” on which to practice hernia exams.

The board seeks a hearing on whether Pines’ license should be revoked.

Source: “Medical board files complaint against Boise doctor,” The Associated Press, August 27, 2012.

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