MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A civil lawsuit against a Montana program for troubled youth says participants were exploited for labor, abused and neglected before the state removed 27 children from its facility.

The Missoulian reports that the family of a Spokane, Washington boy and program participant claims the minor was also subjected to extended periods of social isolation and exploited for labor at the Ranch for Kids owner's personal homes.

Officials say the family filed the lawsuit against ranch owner Bill Sutley, his brother Daniel Sutley and mother Joyce Sterkel.

Officials say the state Department of Public Health and Human Services removed the children July 23.

Owner Bill Sutley denied the allegations dating back 10 years and requested a hearing contesting the license suspension.

Sutley could not immediately be reached for comment.

———

Information from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.