A U.S. District Court jury here today convicted two counselors at the D.C. Children's Center in Laurel of assault and battery charges stemming from the April beating of a severely retarded center resident.

The jury deliberated one hour before convicting the two counselors, James Melvin Ivy, 27, and James Eugene Garlington, 34. Prosecutors said the pair beat the 25-year-old inmate with their belts because he had soiled himself.

According to testimony during the two-day trial here, the counselors took Campbell and 46 other severely retarded adult residents to a basement laundry room to change clothes after dinner on April 4.

"Thomas Campbell had soiled himself," Assistant U.S. Attorney Kurt L. Schmoke told the jury. "The evidence showed he was the only one, so they decided to make an example of him to show the other residents they shouldn't do this.

"So they beat him," Schmoke said, as the other residents watched.

Earlier in the trial, Genevieve Hayes, a food service worker, testified she heard screams, saw the two counselors lashing at Campbell with their belts and ran to get help.

Defense attorneys for Ivy and Garlington said no beating occured and charged that the administration of the center was "trying to frame the defendants."

"I think she [Mrs. Hayes] testified to what she believed occured," said Stanley J. Reed, attorney for Ivy.

". . . When Dr. Mitchell (Reginald Mitchell, a staff doctor now retired) examined him, he didn't find anything. If there had been the slightest evidence of a beating, Dr. Mitchell would have seen it."

Mitchell testified that Campbell suffered from a skin disease, aggravated by Campbell's own scratching, which caused red welts on his body.

Ivy and Garlington each could receive a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $500 fine for the two misdemeanor charges.