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Ex-Napa State Hospital Chief Testifies On Sex Charges

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Former Napa State Hospital Director Claude Edward Foulk. (WPSHA)

Former Napa State Hospital Director Claude Edward Foulk. (WPSHA)

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NAPA (AP) — A former Napa State Hospital hospital director denied Monday that he sexually abused his adopted son and others when they were children.

Claude Foulk, 63, told jurors in Superior Court in Long Beach that his 27-year-old adopted son had a troubled history and was often caught up in lies. Foulk also denied sexually abusing four other now-grown men who accused Foulk of molesting them years ago.

He said he believed the allegations from his son stemmed partly from a family conflict.

“He had difficulty telling the truth at times,” said a balding Foulk, who used gold-rimmed reading glasses to review exhibits handed to him by attorneys. “He was known for lying.”

Foulk has pleaded not guilty to 35 counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child.

He was director of Napa State Hospital until his arrest last year. The hospital houses mostly adults judged mentally incompetent to stand trial or found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Authorities say 13 men, including one of Foulk’s adopted sons and one of his foster sons, came forward with claims he molested them as children as far back as 1965. Only one case could be prosecuted because the statute of limitations.

During the emotional trial, Foulk’s son testified that his father had sex with him repeatedly from the time he was taken in as a foster child when he was 9 until he fled the house at age 21. The Associated Press is not naming the son to avoid identifying an alleged victim of sexual abuse.

The investigation was sparked when someone reported sexual abuse to the police after learning Foulk was head of Napa State Hospital, prosecutors have said.

Detectives from the sex crimes division found evidence that five boys under age 14 had been molested in Long Beach, where Foulk had lived, and in Rancho Murieta in Northern California, authorities said. Additional victims were listed in an amended complaint filed last year.

During cross-examination on Monday, prosecutor Danette Gomez repeatedly asked Foulk whether any of the five now-grown men who took the witness stand knew each other or had spoken in the years, or decades, since he had last seen them.

“You cannot offer them (jurors) a single reason or explanation for these five men to come in here and say these horrific things about you, right?” she asked.

Foulk, who spoke in a calm, composed manner, answered no.

Later, in response to questions from his own attorney, he said that drawing any conclusion “would be mere speculation.”

Attorneys expect to wrap up the trial with closing arguments on Tuesday.

(© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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