Police marched into California's largest psychiatric hospital today and arrested its executive director on 35 felony charges stemming from the alleged molestation of a foster son for more than a decade. The alleged victim, who was 10 when the abuse allegedly began, came forward when he learned that Claude Edward Foulk Jr. was in charge of the hospital. Foulk is suspected of molesting at least four other boys going back to the 1970s.
Foulk was appointed to head the beleaguered hospital in 2007, shortly after the U.S. Attorney General's Office negotiated a consent decree mandating sweeping changes aimed at improving patient care and reducing suicides and assaults. The federal investigation had revealed widespread civil rights violations at Napa, including generic "treatment" and massive overuse of seclusion and restraints. Napa is the only state psychiatric hospital in Northern California, and houses defendants undergoing competency restoration treatment and those found not guilty by reason of insanity.
At the time of his appointment, Faulk was lauded for his lengthy career in mental health services in both the private and public sectors, according to news accounts.
The arrest, breaking news on television and in print media across the country and even internationally, will do nothing to boost staff morale, already abysmal at Napa and elsewhere in California's state hospital bureaucracy. It surely won't improve patient care, either.