By CHRISTINA NG
A Denver couple who had four "non-verbal and malnourished" young children removed from their filthy home previously had three children taken away from them for child abuse, according to authorities.
Wayne Sperling, 66, and Lorinda Bailey, 35, were arrested and charged with four counts of felony child abuse, and their four children were removed and placed in protective care.
Records show that three previous children, with the oldest four years old, were removed from the couple after a similar incident in 2006.
Bailey and Sperling made their first court appearance in Denver on Tuesday. Sperling is still in custody and Bailey is out on bond.
The abused children were discovered when Bailey brought her 2-year-old son to St. Joseph's Children Hospital in Denver with a cut on his forehead on Sept. 29. She told the doctor that the cut was from a fall, according to an arrest affidavit.
The doctor also found "bruising and swelling" near the child's ear that was "not consistent with the report but was consistent with pinching." A police officer reported that the child was "non-verbal and smelled un-washed and of cigarette smoke," the affidavit said.
A welfare visit was ordered for three other boys, ages 4, 5 and 6, who were also living at the house with Sperling.
When Sperling opened the door, the officer noticed "the strong odor of a decomposing animal" coming from the house.
The officer also reported five cats running around the apartment, feces on the floor throughout the apartment, and no sheets or pillows on a single mattress and a bunk bed.
"The officer noted the room from which the smell seemed to emanate was full of flies to the point they were covering every surface," the affidavit stated.
"The officer noted the children appeared to be non-verbal and were making 'infant like noises' to each other," authorities wrote. "The officer noted he could not determine any age or developmental difference between the three children."
All four children were placed in protective custody and were examined at a hospital where they were found to be "non-verbal and malnourished." Officials said none of the children were toilet-trained and were not in any form of daycare or school.
Bailey waived her right to an attorney and "stated she did not think the apartment was bad and stated she had seen Sperling clean and mop the floors," the report said.
She allegedly denied that the children had any developmental delays and said they speak to her without problems, police said.
Sperling allegedly told officers he understood their concerns and that the apartment was "not spotless."
This is not the first time the couple have been charged with child abuse and had children taken away from them.
A criminal complaint from October 2006 states that Denver police were called to do a welfare check for children who were playing in the roadway.
The door to the children's apartment was open and they were unattended by a guardian other than an upstairs neighbor who was using a sound monitor to watch them.
Police said the children were dirty, smelled and had not eaten all day. The apartment had "trash everywhere," "rotten food in the pans, on the floors, and in the sink" and "insects everywhere."
"Their faces were black with dirt and their knees were black," police said of the children in a criminal complaint. "The children's clothes were unwashed and 'reeked.' The oldest of the children (4 yrs. old), said very few words and would only grunt and point at things."
The other children were 3 months old and nearly two years old.
The children were removed and placed in protective care. The couple were charged with three counts of child neglect.
Both pleaded guilty in 2007 to a single misdemeanor count of child abuse by neglect, according to the Associated Press. They were placed on probation for two years and ordered to take parenting classes, and Sperling was ordered to undergo a mental-health evaluation, the AP reported. It is unclear if they fulfilled the requirements.
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