- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 9, 2013

DENVER (AP) — The Denver apartment where four young, malnourished brothers were living was squalid and filled with an unbearable odor when police checked on their living conditions last month, authorities said.

Seven years earlier, police who checked on the same address where the same parents lived with three other young children described strikingly similar conditions.

The parents, Wayne Sperling and Lorinda Bailey, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor child-abuse charges in the earlier case and were ordered to take parenting classes while serving two years of probation.

On Tuesday, they appeared in court on more serious felony child-abuse charges, and state welfare officials are reviewing the case.

Bailey, 35, and Sperling, 66, are the parents of all seven children, according to an arrest warrant affidavit and court records.

Bailey is free on bond. She declined to comment after leaving court Tuesday.

Sperling was still in custody, and his attorney made no public statement. He appeared in court with his long white hair in a ponytail and wearing a long, flowing beard.

Police were called to the couple’s apartment in October 2006 when passers-by reported two young children were playing in the street. The children, ages 2 and 4, were dirty, wore unwashed clothing and had not been fed for several hours, officers said. The oldest spoke few words and mostly grunted and pointed to communicate, the records show.

The officers said they found rotten food, trash and insects in the apartment.

Sperling and Bailey arrived at the home later with their third child, then 3 months old, the records show.

All three children were placed in the care of child services. Their current status and whereabouts were not publicly known.

Police began investigating the new case 10 days ago. Bailey took her youngest son, age 2, to St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital on Sept. 29 for a cut on his forehead that she said happened after a fall.

An emergency room doctor informed authorities that the boy was unwashed and smelled like cigarette smoke. Bruising behind the child’s right ear appeared consistent with pinching, the doctor said.

Bailey said the bruise was caused by one of the other boys who threw a toy at the 2-year-old.

A police officer and Denver Human Services caseworker went to Bailey and Sperling’s apartment — at the same address as the 2006 case — where they found the other three boys.

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