July 27, 2009

Professionals behaving badly

Mistrial in psychiatrist molestation case

Remember the case of the San Francisco Bay Area psychiatrist whom the juvenile courts kept sending boys to for at least 16 years after allegations of molestation first surfaced?

Disappointingly for the prosecutor and the alleged victims, the jury trial of 77-year-old William Ayres ended in a mistrial today, after nine days of deliberations.

Ex-patients, now men in their 20s and 30s, had testified that the prominent psychiatrist molested them in his private, soundproof office under the guise of giving them medical exams.

"Much of the testimony during the trial centered on whether Ayres followed acceptable psychiatric practices when he gave the exams, which [the prosecutor] argued were merely a ruse to give the doctor a reason to fondle boys," according to a San Francisco Chronicle report. "While the details varied, Ayres' former patients told authorities similar scenarios: Ayres would direct them to undress, then conduct a physical where he fondled their genitals or masturbated them for several minutes."

Juvenile court judges continued to send new victims to Dr. William Ayres until 2003, long after the first of multiple complaints against him by boys and their parents. Several dozen men accused Ayres of molesting them as boys dating back almost four decades. Economic class disparities between the accusers and the accused likely influenced the failure to prosecute until the chance intervention of a freelance writer from New York.

Although Ayres is elderly and ill, a retrial is likely.

Tuesday postscript: A writer who attended the trial tells me that the jury was leaning 10-2 and 11-1 for guilt; the main holdout was a young woman who recently graduated from law school and who did not believe the alleged victims.

My original blog post is HERE; the blog Psych Watch ("Documenting Psychiatrists Behaving Badly") has a special "William Ayres Watch" page devoted to in-depth coverage of the case.

Lawsuit in forensic psychologist voyeurism case

Meanwhile, in another case involving alleged sexual misconduct by a forensic mental health professional, an employee of Stuart Greenberg has sued the estate of the once-prominent forensic psychologist.

The ex-employee alleges that she was fired after discovering the video camera that Dr. Greenberg allegedly used to spy on women in his office bathroom. A former president of the American Board of Forensic Psychology and a consultant for the Seattle Archdiocese, Dr. Greeberg committed suicide after the voyeurism allegations surfaced. In her civil suit, the woman alleges that Dr. Greenberg confessed to her that he had videotaped her and two other women as they used the bathroom.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer story is HERE.

Sex crimes prosecutor charged with rape

And, finally, back in court today is a prosecutor in Contra Costa County, California, who has been fired pending trial for the alleged gunpoint rape of a female colleague. In one of the more chilling aspects of the case, the woman alleges that the sex crimes unit where she and former supervisor Michael Gressett worked together was a highly sexualized place where prosecutors "bantered about rough sex and directed gallows humor toward the crime victims they represented," according to a San Francisco Chronicle article.

And they wonder why some rape victims balk at reporting the crime. Talk about a perception of revictimization!

Photo credit: Kristopher Skinner, Contra Costa Times

1 comment:

Trapellar said...

The San Mateo District Attorney's office will most likely retry the case.

It was 11-1 to convict on most of the counts. The hold out was a very young female who was a new lawyer.