Jurors have begun deliberating in the case of a prominent San Mateo County child psychiatrist charged with molesting some of his young patients.

Dr. William Ayres is charged with nine counts of child molestation. Authorities allege that he molested several boys between 1988 and 1996.

He has pleaded not guilty in the case.

Jurors began deliberations Tuesday after a 23-day trial.

Ayres took the stand on his own behalf during the trial and insisted that physical exams he conducted on some of his patients were necessary because he had concerns about their physical health.

If convicted, the 77-year-old Ayres could spend the rest of his life in prison.