Ex-Colorado Springs councilman pleads guilty to child neglect

Charles Wingate during a May 2013 interview with FOX21 News

The former Colorado Springs councilman accused of child neglect pleaded guilty Monday morning, according to the Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s Office. 

Charles Wingate was sentenced to serve two years of probation.

It was last May when Wingate was arrested on the misdemeanor charge of child abuse.

Officers responded to a home in the 6100 block of Corinth Drive on a ‘check welfare’ call. Reports indicated the home was full of rodents and feces.


READ MORE: Autistic boy found naked in home with dead rodents; two arrested

 

“The conditions were such that it was unclean,” Colorado Springs police spokesperson Larry Herbert told FOX21 News at the time. “There were rodents in the house, both deceased rodents and live rodents. Feces was present in the house.”

Inside the home, officers found a then 13-year-old autistic boy naked and alone. He told police he was an only child, was home schooled and did not remember ever being outside the house.

Neighbors told officers they had not seen the boy outside the house in several years.

Police said trash and human feces were also found in the home.

Also arrested on the child neglect charge was Sharon Starkey. 

In a March 17 interview, Wingate said the boy was his son and he was never in any danger.


WATCH: Father of boy found in filthy home says son was never in any danger

“This situation is not a situation where my son was somehow put in danger, or somehow imprisoned against his will inside. My son is a very intelligent and very remarkable man,” Wingate said in the interview.

Wingate admitted there were rodents in the home but he attributed it to a recent mouse infestation they were working to clear up.

As for the boy being outside, Wingate said that was something not restricted on him.

“It’s not something that is restricted on him,” Wingate said. “It’s something he chooses not to do. He prefers to play on his computer, he prefers to write in his journal and prefers inside activities. And I don’t think there’s anything inappropriate about that.”

Wingate also argued to FOX21 News his son was not autistic.

“I think that kind of hits below the belt for me and I think that’s an unfair portrayal of what’s occurred,” Wingate said.

Wingate served as a Colorado Springs city councilman in the early 2000s. He was accused of using city credit cards to buy pizza for personal use. He was charged with forgery and embezzlement.

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