February 25, 2011

Napa Hospital chief gets 248 years in prison

A year after police marched into California's largest psychiatric hospital and arrested its executive director, Claude Edward Foulk Jr. has been sentenced to 248 years in state prison. A jury had convicted him of sexually assaulting a foster son he adopted back in the 1960s.

Prosecutors said they identified more than a dozen other boys molested by Foulk over a 40-year period. Those cases were too old to prosecute. However, four of the now-grown men, all boys from abusive homes whom Foulk took in through the foster care system, testified against Foulk at trial.

"You are a sick, sick man," the judge told Foulk. "And the irony is you were director of the state hospital. How does that happen? You should have been the number one patient."

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 public and private sectors.