The potential for criminal charges may be gone, but the allegations of sex abuse against a former Biddeford police officer have caused turmoil that is unlikely to subside anytime soon.

City councilors will discuss during a meeting Tuesday whether to respond to various accusations, and are likely to consider the possibility of an internal review. Critics of Police Chief Roger Beaupre are mobilizing to attend the meeting and again demand that city leaders suspend him.

The prospect of multiple lawsuits and the upcoming city elections are sure to keep the controversy alive whether the city takes action or not.

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills said Wednesday she will not file criminal charges against former Biddeford police Officer Stephen Dodd or against Michael McKeown, a registered sex offender. Both men had been accused of sexual abuse by Matthew Lauzon. The Boston tech entrepreneur said the abuse occurred while he was growing up in Biddeford more than a decade ago.

Mills closed the criminal investigation with a brief statement saying there was insufficient evidence to prove the elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, including the element of Lauzon’s age at the time of the alleged encounters. She declined to provide any further explanation, and Biddeford officials said Thursday they have no further information about the attorney general’s decision.

Repeated attempts to reach Dodd for comment have been unsuccessful. McKeown has denied that he molested Lauzon, saying they had a consensual encounter when Lauzon was 18 or 19.

Since early this year, Lauzon has led a public push for investigations into the men and has repeatedly called for the suspension of Beaupre, who was chief when Dodd was an officer and Lauzon alleges the abuse took place. Public comment sessions at City Council meetings have been dominated for months by pleas for action from alleged victims and their supporters. Lauzon also has used social media to spread his message and gain support.


The City Council will meet Tuesday in private session to review several documents about the allegations and discuss what, if anything, the council should do in response now that the criminal investigation is closed. Mayor Alan Casavant said the council will consider those documents – which include a letter from a former police officer – and other information that officials have received, but is not in the public domain, to decide if an internal investigation is appropriate.

He also said the information, which has been kept confidential in part because it involves personnel matters, indicates to him that there was no wrongdoing by Beaupre.

“The council and I have been made aware of information that is not in the public domain,” Casavant said. “Based on what I know today, it’s clear to me that Roger Beaupre did everything he was supposed to do upon finding out about these allegations. There was no cover-up and has never been a cover-up.”

Beaupre has for months declined to speak publicly, citing the ongoing criminal investigation. He again declined to speak Thursday, referring questions to Casavant.

Lauzon made clear Thursday that he is not giving up his campaign to have Beaupre put on administrative leave because he was in charge of the department at the time of the alleged abuse. He said he believes more people – including current and former police officers – will feel more comfortable coming forward with new evidence if Beaupre is put on leave.

“I am hoping and expecting that city officials will place Roger Beaupre on paid leave. I believe their failure to do so to date has led to some evidence failing to get to the AG investigators,” Lauzon said. “I also hope and expect they will initiate an independent investigation.”


The City Council in June passed a resolution saying it would not suspend Beaupre because there wasn’t enough evidence to take “adverse employment action.” They passed the resolution after twice meeting in private session to discuss the situation.

Council President John McCurry said councilors have no more information than the public about the attorney general’s decision not to bring charges, although he hopes to get further details. City officials found out about Mills’ decision when she issued a statement late Wednesday.

“We’ve got to be glad they said something other than ‘It’s still under investigation,’ ” he said. “At least we know that piece is done. It would be nice to understand how they got to that point.”

McCurry said he and his fellow councilors have not discussed what steps the council may take next. He said their closed-door meeting Tuesday might include a discussion of whether an independent investigation is warranted.

Lauzon’s attorney, Walter McKee, said Wednesday that he intends to file a civil lawsuit by the end of the year against the city and against Dodd. McKee has said repeatedly that the city should arrange for an independent investigation of the police department’s handling of the abuse allegations.


Two lawsuits already have been filed in connection with the sex abuse allegations in Biddeford. Another former officer, Norman Gaudette, who had been accused of abuse years ago but was never charged, has sued the publisher and staff of the Biddeford-Saco-Old Orchard Beach Courier. Gaudette also filed a lawsuit against a former fellow officer for what he called a “smear campaign” after Gaudette’s name surfaced during the accusations against Dodd.

The sex abuse controversy is also likely to play into the November election, when residents will elect a mayor, nine city councilors and seven school board members. Among the potential candidates who have taken out nomination papers are Lauzon’s mother, Debbie Lauzon, and others who have been vocal supporters at public meetings and on Facebook.

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