DENVER, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- The Colorado parents found with their four young boys in squalor and without the ability to speak were known to child welfare workers, officials said,
Wayne Sperling, 66, and Lorinda Bailey, 35, were charged with four counts each of felony child abuse after investigators acting on a tip from an emergency room doctor who treated one of the children found the family's Denver apartment littered with feces. The children, ages 2, 4, 5 and 6, were malnourished and only able to communicate in grunts.
Both Sperling and Bailey were known to child protective services. Both parents pleaded guilty to child abuse in 2006 and 2009. Three other children were taken away and Sperling was given a year's probation and ordered to take parenting classes in 2009.
The Denver Post said Sperling appeared at a court hearing Tuesday morning after posting bond. Bailey was not in court and remained in custody.
When investigators arrived at the home Monday Sperling denied the living conditions were hazardous but admitted to investigators it "wasn't spotless," KMGH-TV, Denver, reported.
Sperling said he intended to home school the 6-year-old but had not obtained any certifying paperwork to do so, the Post said.