News of sexual allegations against two former Biddeford police officers, first reported by Benjamin Meiklejohn of the Courier, ” is taking the city by storm.” David Charns, WMTW news reporter, broke the news about the allegations on television to a larger audience just days after the Courier reported the same. With the media so controlled it’s a breath of fresh air that Ben and David have the courage to report on what needed reporting years ago.
On March 5, 2015 the Courier reported ” A man who grew up in Biddeford has turned to social media to begin a dialogue with city leaders about how to prevent child sexual abuse and provide resources to victims. Matt Lauzon, who now lives in Boston but grew up in Biddeford, said he was sexually abused by a former Biddeford police officer nearly two decades ago, but felt too afraid and ashamed of his experience to speak out about it to authorities.
Lauzon, who graduated from Biddeford High School in 2003, has filed a complaint with the Maine attorney general and requested an investigation into an officer who is now retired and living in Florida. Lauzon said he first approached the Biddeford Police Department about the alleged crime last fall.
In recent weeks, Lauzon started to publicly engage Police Chief Roger Beaupre and Mayor Alan Casavant on Facebook about how the community can prevent child abuse and support victims – while articulating details of an experience that left him struggling his whole adult life.
“I feel guilt and shame that I didn’t speak up sooner and that he’s never been convicted and now lives free and clear in Florida,” Lauzon posted, “and now that numerous people are telling me similar stories, I have nightmares about staying silent and letting this abuse happen to other young women and men, or letting silence lead to young women or men taking their own lives.”
Lauzon shared publicly on Facebook his experiences growing up in Biddeford and always feeling like the officer was watching him.
Beaupre said he is prohibited by law from talking about the officer being investigated by the attorney general, but takes seriously any criminal activity by the city’s police officers.
“There’s nothing worse than a criminal cop,” Beaupre said. “It puts a black eye on the whole agency.”’
Read more HERE.
Mar 12, 2015 David Charns, WMTW reports “Allegations of sexual abuse at the hands of a Biddeford police officer have been forwarded to the attorney general’s office.” View HERE.
March 12, 2015 the Courier reports “Public reacts to allegations.” Read more HERE.
April 8, 2015 David Charns, WMTW reports “3 men claim sexual abuse at hands of former Biddeford officer.” View HERE. “WMTW News 8 has learned the same state detective who looked into Alexander’s case in 2002 and 2003 is now investigating the new claims of abuse.”
On April 9, 2015 the Courier reported “Abuse alleged against second officer. Larry Ouellette said he was abused by former Biddeford police captain Norman Gaudette when he was 15 years old. Although the case was investigated by the state attorney general’s office, no charges were brought against the officer.
Ouellette, 43, said he is telling his story to bolster fellow Biddeford native Matt Lauzon, 30, who recently alleged former officer Stephen M. Dodd abused him when he was a boy. Lauzon first announced the allegations last month on his Facebook page. The case was forwarded to the attorney general’s office by the Biddeford Police Department.
Since then, another Biddeford man, Jonathan Clark, has also alleged that Dodd abused him and is requesting documents related to his case from the state attorney general’s office.
Dodd worked at Biddeford Police Department from 1978 until July 18, 2003. His last day of work was Dec. 19, 2002, and he went on leave the day after. Dodd was suspended in November 2002 pending an attorney general’s investigation. Police Chief Roger Beaupre said Dodd cited medical reasons for retiring after 25 years of employment.
Dodd surrendered his certificate of eligibility to work as a law enforcement or correction officer in Maine, effective July 18, 2003, upon retirement.
The attorney general’s office would not confirm or deny whether Dodd was or is the subject of an investigation, citing confidentiality statutes.
Ouellette filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain documents from his case, which dates back to 1989- 90, but was told in a March 27 email sent by Assistant Attorney General Phyllis Gardiner that, after a search, the office has no records in response to his request.
“The records that we did have were forwarded to state archives some years ago, and we learned today upon checking that these particular records have been destroyed in the normal course of business per the retention schedule in place,” Gardiner wrote.
Ouellette has filed a complaint with the attorney general’s office regarding destruction of the files, maintaining that they could have been used in a current investigation related to Dodd and the Biddeford Police Department as a whole.”
Read more HERE.
On April 9, 2015 the Courier also reported “Allegations made against officer are similar. Robert Kalex, who no longer lives in Biddeford, alleges that former police captain Norman Gaudette initiated a sexual relationship with him when Kalex was 15.
Kalex, now 50, said his troubles began in the 1980s, when Gaudette took him under his wing. According to several previously published news reports, Gaudette was investigated by the attorney general for sexual misconduct in 1990. Assistant Attorney General Phyllis Gardiner would not confirm or deny that an investigation took place, however, citing statutory requirements.
The Courier contacted Gaudette last week for his response to the allegations.
“I don’t have anything to say about that,” Gaudette said. “Why don’t you ask the chief about that?”
Said Kalex, “I tried many years ago to get attention brought to this, but I couldn’t say something productive for the good of the community – (the police) turned it all around and used it against me.” Eventually, Kalex said he spoke to investigators from the Attorney General’s Office, not only about Gaudette, but about the Biddeford Police Department’s treatment of him after he alleged abuse by Gaudette.
“Nothing ever happened,” he said. “They had the knowledge, but it was shoved under the rug because these were high-standing officers.” Kalex said there are a dozen more people he alleges are victims of either former sergeant Stephen Dodd or Gaudette.
According to past communications between the Courier and the Biddeford Police Department – as well as sources who were interviewed – Dodd was investigated by the attorney general’s office in 2002. Police Chief Roger Beaupre declined to comment on the nature of the investigation, and now declines to confirm the existence of an investigation, citing statutory requirements.
In 2003, Dodd notified the Maine Criminal Justice Academy that he would surrender his law enforcement certificate, effective upon his resignation July 18 that year.
Since the Courier reported on March 5 about the complaint against Dodd, five more men in addition to Lauzon have alleged abuse by Dodd or Gaudette.
Read more HERE.
April 9, 2015 the Courier reports “Residents plan to attend the city council meeting Tuesday, April 21 to address recent allegations of child sex abuse that have surfaced against two former Biddeford police officers.” Read more HERE.
Apr 12, 2015 “The silence is over,” Matt Lauzon said in a recent YouTube video about the case. “And together, we are much stronger.” View video HERE.
The charges against Biddeford police officers has reached the ears of The Boston Globe.
April 16, 2015 the Courier reports “AG looks at cases that span decades. Amidst recent allegations of child sex abuse by two former police officers, several men who allege they were abused are questioning whether the Attorney General’s Office was negligent in prosecuting the officers earlier investigations.
Richard Alexander of South Portland said he interviewed in 2002 with Michael Pulire, an investigator from the Attorney General’s Office, that he was abused by then-officer Stephen Dodd. Alexander alleges that the abuse began in the mid- 1970s when Alexander was 10 years old and the abuse lasted for five years. Alexander said Pulire told him back in 2002 that Pulire was interviewing other people who may have also been abused by Dodd.
In February, Matt Lauzon, a Boston man who grew up in Biddeford, alleged on Facebook that he had been molested by Dodd as a child and had filed a complaint with the Biddeford Police Department, which was forwarded to Maine Attorney General Janet Mills. Pulire is also the investigator on Lauzon’s case.
After reading an article about Lauzon’s story in the Sentry several weeks ago, Alexander said he called Pulire to ask what happened with the investigation (theSentry covers news in South Portland and Cape Elizabeth, and is owned by Mainely Media LLC, which also owns the Courier). Alexander said Pulire told him the investigation was “still open.”
When Alexander asked Pulire why it was taking so long to complete the investigation – which is still open 13 years after his initial interview – Alexander said Pulire told him, “Well, you know, Mr. Alexander, it’s an ongoing investigation.”
Dodd worked as a Biddeford policeman from 1978 until July 18, 2003. His last day on duty was Dec. 19, 2002, and he went on leave the day after. Dodd was suspended in November 2002 pending an attorney general’s investigation.
Dodd notified the Maine Criminal Justice Academy on June 25, 2003 that he would surrender his certificate of eligibility to work as a law enforcement or correction officer in Maine, effective July 18, 2003, upon his retirement.
Brian MacMaster, who was chairman of the academy, accepted Dodd’s surrender on July 8 that year. MacMaster was also director of investigations for the Maine Attorney General, responsible for overseeing the 2002 investigation of Dodd. MacMaster has been the director of investigations since 1984.
Biddeford resident Jonathan Clark, another man who alleges that Dodd abused him as a boy, said he too, was interviewed by Pulire in 2002, but the interview was one of the most embarrassing times of his life.
Clark said Pulire’s tactics were intimidating and he felt deterred from telling the whole story about the abuse; Clark said Pulire told him he would go to jail if he lied.
Lauzon, who initially submitted his complaint against Dodd to the Maine State Police in October, wrote on Facebook that he never received a response from the Maine State Police, but was instead contacted by a Biddeford detective.
“I felt very confused about who to reach out to, given that it involved a former Biddeford police officer, so I tried hard to reach someone outside their office,” wrote Lauzon. “Frankly, in retrospect, I’m not sure why they didn’t send me directly to the attorney general’s investigator given the nature of what I was reporting.”
As others have come forward alleging abuse by former Biddeford policemen, and claiming to have already cooperated with the attorney general more than 10 or 20 years ago, Lauzon has gotten increasingly frustrated with the absence of an indictment or arrest.
Lauzon has called for the city council to suspend Police Chief Roger Beaupre and Deputy Chief JoAnne Fisk, to allow for a “fair and independent” investigation to occur.
For Alexander, who recently sat down with the Courier to tell his story (see “Man racked with guilt, PTSD after abuse” on 1), the fact that Dodd remains free causes him a lot of guilt. Alexander said when he first talked to Pulire back in 2002, Pulire mentioned that Dodd’s relationship with his foster son, Larry Carey, was also being investigated. Carey died at the age of 30 in 2000.
When Alexander read Lauzon’s story, he said it brought back guilty feelings. Alexander said if he had come forward earlier to accuse Dodd, perhaps he could have prevented Lauzon from being abused and Carey might still be alive.
With the attorney general failing to take action indicting Dodd, Alexander said feels it is important for others to know what he experienced, and hopes he can prevent others from being abused.” Read more HERE.
April 21, 2015 – Biddeford City Council meeting.
View council meeting HERE. (starts at 13:40)
“Victims call for Biddeford chief’s suspension pending investigation”, WMTW reporter, David Charns – View here.
WGME reporting “It was standing room only inside the Biddeford council meeting Tuesday night where alleged victims came forward with horrifying accusations.” View here.
Has anyone ever wondered why the mayor/city councilors stood back and watched this happen?
Has anyone made the connections from the Attorney General’s Office to the Criminal Justice Academy?
Has anyone wondered why the same investigators, who failed in their duties years ago, are back in the picture?
The non-compliance with the law, the lies, the violation of peoples’ rights, the obstruction of justice, the abuses – call it what you may – abuse is abuse and has long been the norm in the Biddeford PD. A full and fair investigation into the PD is warranted! And yes, it’s fully documented!
It takes a lot of courage to do what Matt, and others, have done. The truth must come to light and perpetrators (and aiders/abetters) must be held accountable, otherwise the pattern continues. The abuses, atrocities, brutalities inflicted upon the people of Biddeford, and other Mainers, have gone on way too long and must cease! Mainstream media has been the “shield” in protecting this corruption, until recently, when reporter Ben Meiklejohn (Bidd-Saco Courier) and WMTW reporter, David Charns had the courage to take the Biddeford bull by the horns….the right thing to do!
Matt, God put you on this path for a reason….stand tall, stay strong! You are not alone.
April 23, 2015 – David Charns, WMTW reports “Documents reveal more about accused Biddeford officer’s past.” View HERE.