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Former California mental hospital chief guilty of abusing son

February 3, 2011 |  6:21 pm

A former California mental hospital director, who prosecutors alleged had a history of sexually abusing young boys, was convicted Thursday of molesting his son.

A Long Beach jury found Claude Edward Foulk, 63, guilty on 31 counts of sexual molestation, including lewd acts on a child and sodomy by use of force. He was acquitted on four other counts.

His son, now 27, testified that he was abused from the age of 9 until he fled home at 21, and said he was “beyond happy” at the verdict. “I’m very relieved. He will never see the light of day,” he said.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Danette Gomez alleged that Foulk molested 11 other boys since 1966, but charges couldn’t be filed in those cases because the statutory deadline had passed.

However, four of those victims, who are now adults, testified about the abuse at the trial. Those witnesses, who had lived in the foster care system or came from abusive homes, said Foulk showered them with gifts and affection, but began molesting them.

Until his arrest last year, Foulk worked as executive director of Napa State Hospital in Northern California, which mostly houses adults who are judged incompetent to stand trial or found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Defense attorney Richard Poland argued that the case hinged on the testimony of men with histories of lying, drug abuse and theft. “Just because people say something does not make it the truth,” he said. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 23. Foulk faces up to 248 years in prison.

-- Shan Li