REDWOOD CITY -- Accused child molester Dr. William Ayres has difficulty keeping track of time or the day of the week and rates as "severely impaired" on a dementia test, according to court documents submitted Friday in the case of the once-prominent child psychiatrist.
In a motion petitioning for his client's release from Napa State Hospital, attorney Jonathan McDougall argues that Ayres' mental state is deteriorating. The motion includes letters from Ayres' adult children, asking for their father's release, and the summary of an evaluation by a Napa doctor who conducted a neuropsychological evaluation April 18, finding the 80-year-old has suffered "significant deterioration" in his mental functioning.
Ayres appeared Friday in San Mateo County Superior Court for a hearing on whether he can be transferred to an unlocked senior facility or released for outpatient treatment. He appeared frail and notably thin. His white beard, once close-cropped, was long and unkempt.
Can't track time
Judge John Grandsaert ultimately postponed the hearing until Thursday at the request of the District Attorney's Office, but the motion submitted by McDougall shed new light on the condition of his client, whose trial on charges of molesting several young male patients at his San Mateo office ended in a hung jury in 2009.
Ayres' daughter, Barbara, said in a letter to Grandsaert that, during her weekly visits with her


father, he repeats questions and stories and when she brings a variety of foods, he has trouble recognizing them.
"He can still tell time, but he does not know what day of the week it is nor does he know what time of day it is," Barbara Ayres said in the letter. "He reports that he no longer knows what to expect from moment to moment. He no longer even tries to track what will happen further out than a week."
Ayres' other child, Robert, told the judge there is no hope for his father's condition to improve, and keeping him at Napa, separated from his family and without stimulation, serves only to punish him.
"It's utterly heartless and unconstitutional to deliver a punitive ruling when my father's presumption of innocence remains intact after the prosecution's failure to convict him in 2009," Robert Ayres wrote.
Ayres was required to stay at Napa for a minimum of 180 days after the district attorney, who wanted to try him a second time on molestation charges, conceded last year that Ayres' mental health was in decline, and he could not aid in his defense. That milestone passed this week, and Ayres was transported for a hearing from Napa to the Hall of Justice in Redwood City.
A 'setup'
Ayres, who suffers from several physical ailments, including loss of muscle control in his legs, sat in a wheelchair at the defense table. He complained of being cold, and he told McDougall that he hadn't been given a T-shirt to wear underneath his orange jail clothes, like other inmates. It was, he said to McDougall, "a setup."
"They forgot to give me a T-shirt," Ayres said. "They forgot. Yeah. Right. Sure."
When a sheriff's deputy handed him an orange shirt, Ayres made a motion to take off the shirt he was wearing -- until McDougall stopped him.
Asked about his client's seeming paranoia, McDougall said outside court it could be a result of his failing mental health.
"I think it is a byproduct of dementia and cognitive problems," McDougall said. noting that Ayres was "focused more on this T-shirt than his court appearance."
Several doctors are expected to testify Thursday as to whether Ayres should remain at Napa. District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said Ayres should not be released.
"We aggressively oppose that and will do so next week," Wagstaffe said. "He belongs at Napa in our mind."
Contact Aaron Kinney at 650-348-4357.