DENVER - It happened again. That's all Meagan could keep thinking. How on earth could it have happened again?
We'll only use Meagan's first name in order to protect the privacy of her children, but her words to 9News on Wednesday promise to bring renewed focus on a Denver child abuse case that is now generating national headlines.
Last week, Denver prosecutors charged Wayne Sperling, 66, and his common-law wife Lorinda Bailey, 35, with four counts of felony child abuse. Denver Police say they left their four boys, ranging in age from 2 to 6, in squalid conditions. All four, according to a Denver Police report were "non-verbal and malnourished."
The four have since been taken into protective custody.
What bothers Meagan is that seven years ago, Denver Police arrested the same two parents on a child abuse case that now bears striking similarities to this most recent case.
Back in 2006, Denver Police say they found children running in and out of traffic on 18th Avenue near Emerson. When went into the house, a police report said they found "trash everywhere." The oldest, a 4-year old girl, "said very few words and would only grunt and point at things."
Denver prosecutors went on to charge Sperling and Bailey with misdemeanor child abuse. Both eventually pleaded guilty and were sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to take parenting classes.
A few years after the arrest, Sperling and Bailey lost custody of three of their children. Two of them went on to be adopted by Meagan and her husband.
And then this past weekend Meagan says she went on to hear the news about the most recent case involving four more of the couple's children.
"I immediately thought how could this happen again, because these people weren't capable of parenting children when my kids were removed. So I can't imagine they would suddenly be capable of raising children now," Meagan said during a phone interview.
Denver Human Services has been involved with the case since at least 2006, according to court documents, but its involvement in the most recent case remains uncertain due in large part to privacy laws. A spokesperson for the office couldn't answer any of 9News' questions on Wednesday.
Meagan says her two children are doing remarkably well considering their upbringing inside a filthy Denver apartment.
"They're just so worth it. They're so wonderful and they really have so much potential," she said. One is now 7 years old and the other is almost 9.
"The system is broken if this exact same thing can happen again," she said.
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