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Couple accused of neglect has background working with children

Couple accused of neglect have ties to other children

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Colorado Springs couple whose 13 year-old autistic son was allegedly found in unsafe and unsanitary conditions worked with other children in the community.

Sharon Starkey was a part-time employee at the First United Methodist Church. She worked on an as-needed basis in the nursery, according to a statement from the church. The statement also said they conducted a thorough background check on her, but it turned up nothing questionable.

"She has been a responsible, reliable employee, volunteer, and a long-time member of this church," the statement said.

The church did have guidelines in place for the nursery. A safe sanctuary policy requires at least two people to be with the children at all times, so Starkey wasn't ever alone with the children. She is on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

An online profile of Starkey from a few years ago says she tried to develop a special needs program for children at her church.

Charles Wingate officiated baseball games as a member of the Colorado High School Baseball Umpire Association. Chuck French, a local director with the organization said they didn't do a background check on him because Colorado doesn't require background checks on high school officials.

French wouldn't comment on the charges Wingate faces. He told us what he is like in the field.

"Charles Wingate is a very confident high school official," he said. "And he was very reliable, he was dependable, and he showed up for his assignments, and he did his job as far as I was concerned."

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