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Former mental hospital director convicted of molesting his son

A Long Beach jury finds Claude Edward Foulk, 63, guilty on 31 counts of sexual molestation. Now 27, his son, a former foster child who was later adopted by Foulk, testified that he was abused from age 9 until he fled home at 21.

February 04, 2011|By Shan Li, Los Angeles Times

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.

Now 27, his son, a former foster child who was later adopted by Foulk, testified that he was abused from age 9 until he fled home at 21. He said he was "beyond happy" at the verdict.

"I'm very relieved," he said. "He will never see the light of day."

Deputy Dist. Atty. Danette Gomez alleged that Foulk molested 11 other young boys since 1966, but charges couldn't be filed in those cases because the statutory deadline had passed. However, four of those now-grown men 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 and then began molesting them.

Until his arrest last year, Foulk worked as executive director of Napa State Hospital in Northern California, which mostly houses adults 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.

Foulk faces up to 248 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 23.

shan.li@latimes.com

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