- Associated Press - Thursday, October 29, 2015

ALFRED, Maine (AP) - Lawsuits filed Thursday in Superior Court accuse two former Biddeford police officers of abusing boys when the two were on the police force in the 1980s and 1990s.

One suit was filed by Matthew Lauzon alleging abuse by former Officer Stephen Dodd in the 1990s; the other by another man who alleged he was abused by former Officer Norman Gaudette in the 1980s. Both lawsuits named as defendants Police Chief Roger Beaupre and the city of Biddeford, saying they knew or should’ve known about the abuse.

“The abuse is tragic enough. What is even more tragic is that the chief and the city had the knowledge and opportunity to stop this from ever happening in the first place but chose to turn a blind eye,” the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Walter McKee, said.

The Associated Press generally doesn’t identify alleged sexual abuse victims. But McKee said Lauzon wanted his name to be public. However, it wasn’t clear if the other plaintiff wanted his name publicized.

Gaudette’s attorney, Gene Libby, said the allegations were investigated 25 years ago and Gaudette was cleared. He said the lawsuit contained “allegations of convenience” brought after both plaintiffs became acquainted.

A phone number was not listed for Dodd, and it wasn’t known whom his lawyer is.

The allegations made by Lauzon, a Boston resident who grew up in Biddeford, have roiled the Maine community as other alleged victims come forward and disrupt city meetings. An investigation by the attorney general’s office concluded the evidence was insufficient to prove the allegations.

City Manager James Bennett said in a statement that residents can be confident the city will prevail.

“While we have not received the official paperwork, the City has a duty to the hardworking citizens of Biddeford to aggressively defend this litigation and protect their financial interests,” he said.

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