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A judge Thursday sentenced the husband of a former Casper daycare operator to probation for child abuse.

David L. Lang will serve one to three years of probation as part of first-time offender treatment. Although he pleaded guilty to a single felony count of child abuse in May, Lang would avoid a conviction on his record should he successfully complete probation.

In Natrona County District Court on Thursday, Lang, who leaned on a lectern while he supported himself with his left hand, declined to speak when offered the opportunity to do so.

After Judge Daniel Forgey asked Lang if he would like to address the court before being sentenced, Lang shook his head.

“Not really,” he said.

Forgey also ordered Lang to pay $844 in restitution, $350 for the cost of prosecuting the case and another $2,750 to the public defender’s office.

Lang, whose wife operated a since-closed daycare, admitted in May to spanking a child and leaving a red mark, but he denied bruising the child’s buttocks as prosecutors had alleged.

“I swatted him twice and put him on time out,” Lang told Forgey when he pleaded guilty as part of a deal with prosecutors that secured him the first-time offender treatment.

Prosecutor Michael Schafer said that medical experts told attorneys the bruising on the child’s buttocks could have been the result of the boy sliding down a set of stairs.

The Wyoming law that applies to Lang’s plea deal allows people who have not previously been convicted of a felony to plead guilty and serve probation before the conviction is entered. If the convicted person successfully completes probation, a judge can then dismiss the case and wipe the felony conviction.

A person can only qualify once for first-time offender treatment.

The child’s mother first reported the bruising to Wyoming Medical Center staff on Sept. 20. After hospital staff called police, a doctor told officers the child had said “they spanked me really hard,” according to court documents.

The boy had deep bruising on his buttocks, the back of his legs and inner thighs, court documents say the doctor told police.

The boy’s mother told police that the operator of ABC and 123 Childcare in Casper had texted her the night of Sept. 19, stating the boy had rug burn on his buttocks from sliding down stairs. The mother left work and picked the boy up from the daycare, according to court documents.

While being driven home the same night, the boy told his mother Lang had spanked him. After arriving at home, the boy told his mother his buttocks “really hurt,” the documents state.

The daycare operator initially told police the boy’s bruising came from sliding down the stairs. About a week after the initial interview, the woman called a police investigator and told him Lang had spanked the child twice, the documents allege.

The court documents indicate that the daycare’s license was suspended following the incident. The facility’s license was revoked in December, a Department of Family Services official said earlier this year.

Lang was convicted of child abuse in 2003 in Nebraska, the documents state.

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Follow crime reporter Shane Sanderson on Twitter @shanersanderson

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Crime and Courts Reporter

Shane Sanderson is a Star-Tribune reporter who primarily covers criminal justice. Sanderson is a proud University of Missouri graduate. Lately, he’s been reading Cormac McCarthy and cooking Italian food. He writes about his own life in his free time.

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