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Mother of boys found in squalid Denver home pleads guilty to child abuse

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - The mother of four young boys who were found inside a squalid Denver home suffering from malnutrition and unable to speak except by grunts pleaded guilty on Friday to felony child abuse, prosecutors said.

Lorinda Bailey, 36, pleaded guilty to one count of child abuse, and in exchange prosecutors dropped six other child abuse counts, said Lynn Kimbrough, spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney's Office.

Bailey and her common-law husband, Wayne Sperling, 66, were arrested in October and charged with abusing their sons, aged 2, 4, 5 and 6, after police found them living amid animal waste in an east Denver apartment teeming with flies.

Bailey faces a maximum of seven years in prison when she is sentenced next month, Kimbrough said, adding that the case against Sperling is on hold while he undergoes a competency evaluation.

According to an affidavit filed by Denver police in support of the couple's arrest, law enforcement were alerted to the situation when Bailey took the 2-year-old to an emergency room after he suffered a head laceration.

The treating physician noted that the boy was filthy, reeked of cigarette smoke and was "non-verbal," the affidavit said.

Police conducted a welfare check after learning that there were three other children in the household. Sperling was at the home with the three older boys when police arrived.

Responding officers said none of the boys were toilet trained and they were all making "infant-like noises."

"Sperling stated the children have their own language and grunt at each other but were able to speak to him and Bailey," the affidavit said.

Police found two inches of cat feces under a bed, and the entire unit reeked of feces and urine, the affidavit said.

The four boys are living together in foster care and are "doing as well as could be expected under the circumstances," Kimbrough said.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Mohammad Zargham)

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