- Associated Press - Friday, July 22, 2016

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - A former Biddeford police officer is acknowledging having engaged in sexual activity with a then-16-year-old boy who’s now accusing him of sexual abuse.

Biddeford native Matthew Lauzon has alleged abuse by retired police officer Stephen Dodd. Lauzon filed a federal lawsuit in Superior Court last year, seeking unspecified damages and attorneys’ fees from Dodd, Biddeford and Biddeford’s police chief.

Dodd, in federal filings in Portland asking the court to dismiss Lauzon’s claims, said Thursday the two met in an online chat room in 2001 and engaged in sexual activity twice. Dodd denied relying on his “power and authority” as an officer and said Lauzon “took the lead” in the sex acts.

Lauzon has said the sex was forced and offensive. His attorney Walter McKee said in a statement it’s no surprise Dodd “has turned from denying everything to now blaming the victim.”

“We look forward to seeing Mr. Dodd when he finally comes out of hiding and has to answer for the decades of abuse he meted out, all the while as a police officer,” McKee said.

Dodd said he first met up with Lauzon down the street from where he lived with his parents and said he knew Lauzon’s family. He denied Lauzon’s claim he convinced Lauzon to enter his car and then forced Lauzon to perform “offensive” acts.

In Dodd’s filings, he said that during the first encounter Lauzon asked him to perform a sexual act while Lauzon drove.

The Associated Press generally doesn’t identify people who say they are victims of sexual abuse, but Lauzon’s attorney has said he wanted his name to be public.

Lauzon’s allegations roiled the community as other accusers came forward and disrupted city meetings.

The age of sexual consent in Maine is 16. Lauzon has called on state officials to strengthen sex crime investigations and support victims. An attorney general’s office investigation concluded the evidence against Dodd was insufficient to prove the allegations.

The Biddeford police chief, Roger Beaupre, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday, but in August he released a statement criticizing Lauzon and supporters for making him “the target of their frustrations.”

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