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Colorado Springs father says he'll clean house to get son back

12:48 PM, May 18, 2013   |    comments
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COLORADO SPRINGS - Hazmat crews were at a home where a boy with autism was found naked, living in a home littered with human waste.

The crews were seen at the Colorado Springs home Friday. The home was condemned and deemed unfit for human habituation.

The boy's parents, former Colorado Springs councilman Charles Wingate and his wife, Sharon Starkey, were arrested and issued a summons.

Police say the 13-year-old was living with rodents. The county Department of Human Services took custody of the teen.

The teen's parents were not at the home in the 6100 block of Corinth Drive at the time police were called.

Wingate says the whole thing has been blown out of proportion.

After first telling 9NEWS Thursday night that his home was clean and safe, Wingate admitted Friday he and his wife didn't do a lot of housekeeping.

"It is something we didn't put a high priority on," Wingate said. "The house has trash that shouldn't probably be there."

A view inside the kitchen from the porch of the home showed garbage everywhere including pizza boxes stacked high.

"No question in in my mind that the officer acted properly when he condemned the property," Ken Lewis, City of Colorado Springs Code Enforcement Administrator told 9Wants to Know Friday.

The home is temporarily condemned until the owners can clean out the inside, Lewis said.

Wingate said he wants to clean up and get his son back.

"My concern is that there's a 13-year-old boy that my wife and I care much for and are concerned for his safety. We may not have been the best housekeepers. We acknowledge that," Wingate said Friday.

Police report that the 13-year-old, who they say suffers from autism, told them he couldn't remember the last time he went outside. Wingate says he doesn't believe that's true.

"He went to dinner with us on Monday, so he was outside. In terms of playing outside on recreational basis, that's not something he enjoys doing," Wingate said. "When the process is complete, then he'll get to come home, and I'm thinking that will not be a very long process."

Neighbors told police they have not seen the boy outside in several years.

Wingate is a former Colorado Springs City Council member. He was elected to the city council in 2001 and resigned in 2003, with two years remaining in his term.

Wingate has a long criminal history. He left office while facing accusations of embezzlement, forgery and fraud for illegally using credit cards. He later pleaded guilty to the embezzlement charge.

Wingate and his wife will likely appear in court in about a month, a spokeswoman with the El Paso County District Attorney's office tells 9NEWS.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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