2015-05-01 / Community

More details emerge in abuse allegations

By Ben Meiklejohn
Staff Writer

BIDDEFORD – Two former Biddeford police officers and a firefighter say they had suspicions about the behavior of another former officer, Stephen Dodd, whom four men allege abused them when they were children.

Steve Martin, who worked for the Biddeford Police Department from November 1979 to July 2006, said he worked as Dodd’s partner for most of his own tenure as a police officer.

Martin said he and other officers suspected Dodd liked younger men, but never saw anything suspicious to report. Martin said he believes other officers or former officers know more details about Dodd’s activities, but aren’t talking.

“We all felt that something wasn’t right,” Martin said of Dodd, “but we didn’t know.”

Martin said there were always young men at Dodd’s house.

“Once in a while, I would have to go to his house, and some young guy would always answer the door – it always raised suspicion,” Martin said. “They were people I never recognized – anywhere from their mid-teens to 20s.”

Tim Sevigny, a firefighter for the Biddeford Fire Department since 1996, said, “My observation around here in the mid-‘90s was that he always had some kid driving his truck around.

“To have Biddeford High School kids hanging out at his house wasn’t out of the norm. It was like a Big Brothers Big Sisters program over at Stephen Dodd’s house. They were always there.”

South Portland resident Kevin Dale Porter, a cab driver who used to work in Biddeford in the 1980s and 1990s, said he frequently gave rides to teenage boys who got dropped off at Dodd’s home on Dearborn Avenue.

“I picked up quite a few of them and took them over there, and adults, too,” Porter said. “Cab drivers know a lot, hear a lot, see a lot.

“There was this kid, Larry. I used to pick him up downtown and take him to Stephen Dodd’s. When he became an adult, he used to go to the bar and get drunk.”

Dodd had a foster son, Larry Carey, who died at age 30 in 2000, reportedly of liver failure. (See “Accused person had foster son, now deceased,” in the April 2 issue of the Courier.)

Lloyd Gaudette, another former police officer, who worked October 1976 to October 1997, said it was public knowledge on the police force that Carey was Dodd’s foster son, but one incident that occurred in the 1980s raised eyebrows. Gaudette said police had been called to Dodd’s residence because Carey had acted out in anger and stabbed Dodd’s waterbed repeatedly with a knife. Gaudette said another former officer, Alfie Lambert, took the police report on the incident and also said that Carey may have told Lambert things about Dodd. Lambert worked for the Biddeford Police Department from May 1977 to September 2002. Attempts to reach Lambert were unsuccessful.

“People always said there was something going on, but nothing was done. I always suspected something,” Gaudette said. “There’s nothing wrong with being gay, but there is something wrong with being with kids.”

Biddeford resident Jonathan Clark said he spoke to Michael Pulire, an investigator with the Maine Attorney General’s Office, in 2002 about sex abuse Clark alleges Dodd inflicted on him. Clark said Dodd attempted to communicate with him through a Yahoo chat room in order to influence him while the attorney general was investigating Dodd. Biddeford Police Chief Roger Beaupre previously confirmed to the Courier that Dodd was suspended from work in November 2002 pending the outcome of an attorney general’s investigation.

On March 30, Clark asked the attorney general to provide copies of documents from the 2002 investigation of Dodd in which he was a witness. That same day, Director of Investigations Brian MacMaster replied to Clark, “The documents you are requesting are confidential by law and cannot be provided,” citing Title 16, Section 804 of Maine statutes.

According to documents shared with the Courier by a South Portland man, Richard Alexander, Pulire also interviewed Alexander in 2002 as part of an investigation. Alexander alleges that Dodd molested and raped him over a period of five years when he was child. More than 13 years after Alexander first provided information to the Attorney General’s Office, Pulire told Alexander the investigation is still “ongoing.”

According to a 2002 Connecticut General Assembly Office of Legislative Research comparison report on the statutes of limitation for sexual assault crimes in New England, New Jersey and New York, written by Jason K. Matthews, the Maine Legislature amended the statute of limitations in 1991 to allow prosecution at any time if the victim was under age 16 when incest, rape, or gross sexual assault were committed. However, the law applied only to future crimes and prior crimes where the previous statute of limitations had not run out.

At the time, the statute of limitations was six years for gross sexual assault.

The report summarizes the history of sexual assault laws in each state, noting only New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont have no statute of limitations for most serious sexual assault crimes. Case law is cited that addresses the retroactivity of those states’ statutes of limitations.

According to the documents provided by Alexander, the abuse he alleges Dodd committed took place in the 1970s. The Attorney General’s Office did not respond to a question of whether allegations of abuse that had been subject to the statute of limitations could be used as evidence in an investigation also involving alleged abuse that was not subject to limitations.

Timothy Feeley, special assistant to the attorney general responded, “We cannot answer your questions in general terms and we cannot respond to hypotheticals.”

State Representative Martin Grohman (D-Biddeford), said he would generally be in favor of removing the statute of limitations for all previous crimes as well, but would need to know more about the legality of doing so.

“I think the pain and the damage doesn’t go away, so I’m not sure that the crime should go away,” Grohman said.

Martin said he remembers a time in the mid-to-late 1980s when Dodd was injured while on traffic duty on Main Street and had to take medical leave. During that time, Martin said, Dodd spent his leave at the Student Lounge, a teen club on Elm Street for 13- to 18-year-olds. Martin said the club had video games, a pool table and dance floor and was a place for local teenagers to congregate.

“I thought it was odd to see him always hanging out outside there,” Martin said.

Sevigny, who also does pressure washing for extra income, said he used to see Dodd at Frank Galos Chevrolet, where Sevigny washed cars. Dodd used to drive cars to other locations for the car dealership and office manager Barbara Camire confirmed that Dodd worked for Frank Galos, but said it was at least 15 or 20 years ago. According to Carey’s obituary he, too, worked at Frank Galos.

Sevigny said when he was 21, he and a friend went to Florida and met up with Dodd to share a hotel room, but the two got a strange feeling from Dodd and never showed up at the room, instead opting to stay out all night.

Last summer, Dodd was back in town, said Sevigny, who pressure-washed Carey’s gravestone for Dodd at Woodlawn Cemetery in Biddeford. Sevigny said Dodd, who is 57, had a young man in his 20s with him.

With recent allegations surfacing against Dodd, and with the number of young men and boys that Dodd was known to hang out with, Sevigny said he is surprised nobody, including himself, put the pieces together earlier.

“This was 20 years ago and I never thought anything,” Sevigny said. “I feel bad I didn’t say something.”

However, Sevigny said if what Martin and Gaudette say is true, and there are officers who know more about Dodd but aren’t talking, then it casts a shadow of doubt on the whole police department.

“If people don’t want to talk, then that’s a problem,” Sevigny said.

Gaudette said the young men Dodd was known to hang out with could be easily victimized, and would frequently get into trouble.

“As a character witness, I wouldn’t have him babysit my dog,” Gaudette said.

In March, a Boston man who grew up in Biddeford, Matt Lauzon, alleged on Facebook that he was abused by Dodd when he was a child. The Courier was the first to report the allegations in the March 5 edition of the paper. Since that time, three more men have alleged they were abused by Dodd, and three men have alleged they were sexually abused by another officer, Norman Gaudette, who was investigated by the attorney general in 1991 for sexual misconduct, according to published reports.

Biddeford resident Larry Ouellette, who recounted alleged abuse by Norman Gaudette in an April 9 Courier article, recently retained lawyer Walter McKee to represent him in a civil case against Norman Gaudette based on the sexual abuse allegations. McKee is a lawyer out of Augusta who is also representing Lauzon.

“I am proud of Matt Lauzon for doing this,” said Lloyd Gaudette, who is not related to Norman Gaudette. “It’s too bad he waited so long, but he probably felt threatened by Dodd.”

If everyone’s suspicions about Dodd are correct, Lloyd Gaudette added, then it is the silence that has allowed him to get away with his crimes for so long.

“Either nobody would ever come forward, or nobody could ever prove it,” Gaudette said. “I had nothing concrete. If I did, I would have called the attorney general myself.”

“He was good at keeping things private. His private life was his private life,” Martin said of Dodd.

“I had suspicions, but that’s all it was.”

In recent weeks, residents have

called on city leaders to suspend Police Chief Roger Beaupre and Deputy Chief JoAnne Fisk during the AG’s investigation. An April 21 meeting of the city council was attended by residents, as well as Ouellette and Alexander.

Lloyd Gaudette said since the investigation is being conducted by the Attorney General’s Office, suspending Beaupre and Fisk would have little effect on the investigation.

“I don’t think (suspending them) will happen,” Lloyd Gaudette said. “It has no effect at all. They’re dealing with everyday issues in running the police department. Having them there won’t make any difference.”

As for Dodd, Lloyd Gaudette said, “If I knew something for sure and I had proof, I would come forward. Or I wouldn’t be talking to (the media), I would have already gone to the attorney general. But I don’t have anything other than what I’ve heard through the rumor mill.”

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