A Hollis man has dropped claims he filed against the city of Biddeford and its police chief as part of an ongoing lawsuit alleging he was sexually abused by a former city police officer decades ago.

Bertrand Girard alleged in his lawsuit that former Biddeford police officer Stephen Dodd sexually assaulted him from 1977 to 1982. His lawsuit, which named Dodd, the city and police Chief Roger Beaupre, was moved to federal court shortly after it was filed in 2016.

Stephen Dodd

Girard agreed to dismiss the claims against the city and Beaupre with prejudice – meaning he cannot bring forth the same claims again in the future – and indicated he will continue to pursue his claims against Dodd. The action is noted in a new court filing and was announced by the city Monday.

Allegations of sexual assault involving Dodd came to light in 2015, when Biddeford native Matt Lauzon went public with claims Dodd had sexually assaulted him when Lauzon was a teenager and Dodd was a patrol officer. After Lauzon shared his story, several other men came forward with similar allegations against Dodd. The alleged victims claimed Beaupre knew about Dodd’s behavior but did nothing to stop it.

The Attorney General’s Office investigated Dodd in 2015 and declined to press charges against him. Dodd’s last known address was in Florida and he did not respond to efforts to contact him when the claims were brought forward.

In addition to Gerard’s lawsuit, three other lawsuits were filed against the city and Beaupre by people who have made similar allegations about Dodd and former officer Norman Gaudette and are still pending, including a lawsuit filed by Lauzon. The city and Beaupre maintain all allegations made against them in those lawsuits are without merit.

The city and Beaupre released a joint statement Monday about the dismissal of the lawsuit.

“We are pleased Mr. Girard decided to voluntarily dismiss his claims against us. We have maintained since the beginning that Mr. Girard’s clams were baseless, and that the City of Biddeford, the Biddeford Police Department and Chief Beaupre conducted themselves appropriately and in accordance with the law at all times,” the statement said. “The city, department and Chief Beaupre are and always have been committed to protecting and serving the citizens of our great city. We’re dedicated to preventing crimes and doing our part in prosecuting those who commit crimes.”

Walter McKee, the attorney for the plaintiffs in the other three pending lawsuits, said it was not a surprise that Girard’s claims against the city and Beaupre were dismissed because the statute of limitations had passed before Girard brought his claim. The other three plaintiffs do not have the same statute-of-limitations problem and maintain that Beaupre knew or should have known that Dodd and Gaudette were abusing boys, McKee said.

“Bert Girard was abused too long ago for the law to allow him to continue his lawsuit (against the city),” McKee said. “If that’s a victory, then I guess it is a pretty low bar.”

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