Duchesne County commissioners discriminated against children with mental and physical disabilities and violated the Utah Fair Housing Act in denying applications for group homes in 2005, a new lawsuit claims.

In a suit filed in 3rd District Court this week by, the Antidiscrimination and Labor Division of the Utah Labor Commission accused the commissioners of "a pattern of discriminatory conduct."

The claims stem from three applications for group homes in Duchesne County filed by Uintah Mountain Housing on Feb. 1, 2005. The applications were rejected three days later based solely on "public clamor," according to the Labor Commission.

According to an earlier lawsuit, the defendants cited safety concerns as the reason for denying a conditional use application. "The neighbors have also raised issues of safety. No matter how you characterize it this is a facility for troubled youth, and troubled youth have their problems."

Uintah Mountain and the Labor Commission sued for damages Monday. The lawsuit names the county and then-county commissioners Kent Peatross, Larry Ross and Lorna Stradinger as defendants. Attempts to reach Peatross, Ross and Stradinger were not immediately successful.

An earlier court ruling determined the commission acted in an "arbitrary and capricious" manner in denying the applications, and failed to provide substantial evidence for its decision. The county and the commissioners have appealed that ruling.