Former director of a California mental hospital sentenced to more than two centuries in jail for serial sex abuse
A former state mental hospital director was sentenced Wednesday to 248 years in prison for molesting his adopted son over eight years as part of what prosecutors claimed was a pattern of abuse that spanned four decades and ensnared a dozen young boys.
Superior Court Judge James B. Pierce called defendant Claude Foulk, 63, a “sick, sick man” and said he should have been the No. 1 patient at the mental hospital he oversaw.
The judge drew applause from the courtroom after issuing the maximum possible sentence.
“Someone was selected out of an adoption book, totally selected at a very young age, and made a sex slave,” the judge lectured Foulk. “I don’t think the word father or dad belongs in the same sentence with Mr. Foulk. A father or dad couldn’t do these things.”
The victim is now 27 and living in Atlanta. The Associated Press is not naming the man because it has a policy not to identify alleged victims of sexual abuse.
Foulk, the former head of Napa State Hospital, was convicted of 20 counts of forcible oral copulation, nine counts of sodomy and two counts of lewd acts for abuse between 1992 and 2001. He was acquitted of two counts each of sodomy and oral copulation for charged acts that occurred after the victim was 18.
“It’s beyond the comprehension of most human beings,” the judge said. “It’s not unlike slavery of old, to go through the (foster) system and obtain a human being and attempt to mold that individual to satisfy one’s own sexual desires. Disgusting. This one has got to be the worst. It’s the worst of the worst.”
Foulk, who has repeatedly denied the allegations, testified at trial that his adopted son had a history of lying.
Prosecutors said another 11 men came forward to claim Foulk molested them as children dating back to 1965, but only the son’s case could be prosecuted because of the statute of limitations.
Foulk was fired from his post at Napa State Hospital after his arrest last year.
During a weeklong trial, five adult men testified that Foulk had abused them for years. They claimed the man they knew as an uncle and foster father bought them pizza and took them to a mountain cabin before forcing them to engage in sex acts.
One of Foulk’s two adopted sons told jurors Foulk abused him from the time he was 9 until he was 21, telling him it was how a man shows love.
Foulk worked as a nurse, obtained a master’s degree in business administration and held previous state jobs before working at Napa State Hospital. He was a foster parent to two boys and adopted two sons.
Prosecutor Danette Gomez argued that Foulk used the foster care system to acquire boys to meet his insatiable sexual appetite, knowing they had no parents to turn to.
She said the years of horrific abuse led the boys to turn to alcohol and drugs and to have trouble forming lasting relationships.
Foulk’s attorney Richard Poland argued there was a lack of physical evidence.
The investigation into Foulk began when someone reported sexual abuse to police after learning Foulk was head of Napa State Hospital.
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