By Keith Coffman
DENVER (Reuters) - The mother of four small boys found inside a squalid Denver home malnourished and unable to speak except by grunts was sentenced on Friday to 90 days in jail and five years of probation, prosecutors said.
Lorinda Bailey, 36, and her common-law husband, Wayne Sperling, 67, were charged last year with multiple counts of child abuse after police found the boys aged 2, 4, 5, and 6 living in an apartment littered with cat waste and swarming with flies.
Bailey pleaded guilty in August to one count of felony child abuse. In exchange for her guilty plea, prosecutors dropped six other child abuse counts against her.
Prosecutors had sought a seven-year prison sentence for Bailey, but the judge imposed a lighter jail term and ordered her to attend mental health and peer mentoring programs, said Lynn Kimbrough, spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney's Office.
Bailey also was ordered to have no contact with her sons, who now live in a foster home.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit filed by Denver police, authorities were alerted to the situation after Bailey took the 2-year-old to an emergency room for treatment of a head laceration.
The attending physician noted that the toddler was filthy, reeked of cigarette smoke, and was "non-verbal," the affidavit said.
Police then went to the couple's apartment on a welfare check and found Sperling there with his three older sons. The boys were not toilet trained and made "infant-like noises," the affidavit said.
"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.
Sperling is set for a disposition hearing next week, Kimbrough said.
(Reporting by Keith Coffman; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Eric Beech)