Watched Child Molestation Trial Take New Turn

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    A San Mateo County Superior Court judge has ordered two doctors to evaluate the competency of a prominent child psychiatrist facing a retrial on charges that he molested his patients.
         
    William Ayres, 78, is charged with nine counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14 for allegedly molesting several young patients in the 1980s and 1990s.

    His highly publicized trial took place last summer and ended in a hung jury, with jurors split on all of the charges. The San Mateo District Attorney's Office in August decided to retry Ayres.

    On Tuesday, Ayres appeared in court with his new defense attorney Jonathan McDougall, who requested doctors examine the competency of his patient.

    Judge Beth Freeman agreed to suspend criminal proceedings in the case and appointed two doctors to examine Ayres.

    McDougall did not give a reason in court for why he believes his client may not be competent to stand trial. He did not immediately return a call today seeking comment.

    The trial last summer focused largely on physical exams Ayres conducted on his patients. 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.

    The doctors' reports are due in court on April 28. Ayres remains out of custody on a $750,000 cash bond.