Ex-hospital director sentenced for sex abuse
A former state mental hospital director was sentenced Wednesday to 248 years in prison for molesting his adopted foster son over 10 years as part of what prosecutors claimed was a pattern of abuse that spanned four decades and ensnared a dozen young boys, many of whom appeared in court as grown men to confront him.
Claude Foulk Jr., 63, showed little emotion as Superior Court Judge James B. Pierce dressed him down for nearly 20 minutes before handing down the maximum sentence. The judge called Foulk a monster and a "sick, sick man," drawing applause from Foulk’s victims, their supporters and a half-dozen jurors who had returned for the hearing.
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.
The Associated Press is not naming the man, now 27, or other alleged victims who testified because it does not identify victims of childhood sexual abuse.
Foulk used an "adoption book" provided by the county’s foster care system to select the victim when he was eight and then molested him for years until he ran away from home at 21, according to trial testimony. The young man, who recently moved to San Francisco from Atlanta, was one of two foster boys whom Foulk adopted.
He testified that his father, who also took in two other foster sons, told him the abuse was how a man shows his love.
Prosecutors said 11 other men came forward during the investigation to claim Foulk molested them as children dating back to 1966, but only the youngest son’s case could be prosecuted because of the statute of limitations. Five other now-grown men testified at trial and several read statements at Wednesday’s sentencing hearing.
The judge said the evidence in the case was the "worst of the worst" that he had seen in his career and compared Foulk to a modern-day slave holder.
"Someone was selected out of an adoption book, literally selected at a very young age, and made a sex slave. I don’t think the word father or dad belongs in the same sentence with Mr. Foulk," he said. "You are a sick, sick man and the irony is you were the director of the state mental hospital. You should have been the No. 1 patient."
Foulk, who has repeatedly denied the allegations, testified that his adopted son had a history of lying. His attorney, Richard Poland, told the judge that there was no evidence to back the victim’s claims and reminded the court that Foulk had no prior criminal record.
On Wednesday, Foulk read from a brief statement apologizing for not better understanding his son and for any inconvenience he had caused his family and co-workers, but denied the charges. He also encouraged the victim to continue with therapy.
"My thoughts and prayers are with my family always," Foulk said.
The other men who testified said 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.
The victim said Wednesday he spent the first eight years of his life in the foster system, bouncing from one dysfunctional family to the next, and was overjoyed when Foulk selected him for adoption. He said his future father gave him the first toy he had ever owned: a Lego set.
"I thought I would be in a home that was loving and stable and caring and have the family I always wanted ... and we all know in this room how it turned out," he said, fighting back tears. "He’s a monster and I’ll never, ever forgive what he did to me. I thought I would have a normal home and a normal childhood and a normal life and I will never, ever have that."
Foulk worked as a nurse, obtained a master’s degree in business administration and held previous state jobs before working at Napa State Hospital. Investigators began looking into Foulk when someone reported sexual abuse to police after learning he had become the hospital director.
Long Beach police Detective Jennifer Kearns, the lead investigator, said Wednesday outside court that she believes there are more victims, but wasn’t able to locate them.