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Director of state hospital that treats child molesters accused of repeatedly raping foster child [Updated]

February 24, 2010 |  3:28 pm

The executive director of Napa State Hospital, a Northern California mental institution whose patients include convicted child molesters, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of sexually molesting a foster child in his care for more than a decade.

Claude Edward Foulk, 62  had been charged Tuesday with 35 felony counts, including 22 counts of forcible oral copulation, 11 counts of sodomy by use of force and two counts of forcible lewd act on a child, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Prosecutors asked that bail be set at $3.5 million.

If convicted on all counts, he faces a maximum sentence of 280 years in state prison.

An appointee of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Foulk allegedly began molesting the then-10-year-old boy in the fall of 1992, shortly after taking him in as a foster child. They lived in Long Beach at the time, authorities said.

The molestation allegedly continued through 2003, after Foulk and the youth moved to Walnut.

Prosecutors said there are "numerous" additional victims "who fall outside the statute of limitations." According to a statement from the Orange County district attorney's office, they cannot pursue cases of molestation that occurred before 1988 because of a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Police were alerted to the allegations of sexual assault last year after one alleged victim, now in his 40s, discovered that Foulk was in charge of a hospital in Northern California.

Neither Foulk nor his attorney could be reached for comment.

State officials released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying Foulk had been removed from his job.

[Updated at 3:36 p.m. "Long Beach police served an arrest warrant at Napa State Hospital today, taking Executive Director Claude Edward Foulk into custody on felony charges of child molestation," the statement read. "Foulk served as executive director at the hospital from 2007 to the present. The charges are related to incidents that predate Mr. Foulk’s tenure at Napa State Hospital. Mr. Foulk’s employment with the Department of Mental Health has been terminated, effective immediately.”]

--Andrew Blankstein and Richard Winton