A Casper man accused of hitting and injuring a toddler denied the single felony charge brought against him Wednesday morning in Natrona County District Court.

David Leroy Lang pleaded not guilty to one count of child abuse before District Judge Daniel Forgey. Lang could face up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $10,000 if convicted.

Charging papers say the victim, who was two or three years old at the time, was taken to the emergency room at Wyoming Medical Center on the morning of Sept. 20 after his parents discovered redness and bruising on the boy's buttocks, upper legs and inner thighs.

The child's mother told police that she picked the child up from a daycare at about 9:45 p.m. the previous evening, after the operator of the daycare -- Charlotte Lang -- sent the child's mother a text message regarding redness on the boy's backside.

"How's it going, just thought I would let you know that the boys were sliding down the basement steps on their butts and [the alleged victim]'s butt is red because he had underwear on. It's kind of like a rug burn, but its a little red on his legs and his butt," the text message read, according to court documents.

On the car ride home, the boy told his mother that "anoose" spanked him very hard three times. Charlotte Lang's husband, David, went by the name "Uncle Moose."

The child's parents, based on the text message Charlotte Lang had sent, decided to check on the injury again in the morning before taking any action, as they felt it could be a rash. On the morning of Sept. 20, the injury looked like bruising and was covering the boy's "whole buttocks... portions of his upper legs and inner thighs."

The parents then took the child to the emergency room.

Charlotte Lang, in her first interview with a detective, denied that the child had been hit or that the child's injuries were related to a "discipline issue."

A week later, however, Charlotte Lang contacted police again and asked to speak with investigators a second time. During that interview, she said the child had been playing on the stairs, "but David spanked him twice."

In his interview, David Lang reportedly admitted to spanking the child after the child used a toy to hit another child at the daycare.

David Lang expressed regret for the alleged incident, and stressed that while the child "needed to be disciplined," what had happened was not intentional.

A review of Lang's criminal history, according to the police affidavit, showed Lang had been convicted of fourth-degree child abuse out of Grand Island, Nebraska in 2003.

The Casper detective reviewed that report, which detailed Lang hitting a 10-year-old child of his then-girlfriend for coming home late. Lang "admitted to hitting the child over the head and stated he 'went overboard,'" according to the affidavit.

Lang remains free on bond pending trial.

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