A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie Anderson, which was filed in connection with a custody dispute over a 5-year-old girl.

Igor Malenko of South Portland sued earlier this year in U.S. District Court, saying Anderson interfered with his child-custody case. He claimed Anderson used her office inappropriately by speaking with the judge who issued the child-custody order.

U.S. District Judge George Z. Singal, in a decision dated May 23, supported the motion to dismiss, which said that Anderson’s communications with a judge and police involved in the custody dispute did not deprive Malenko of his state or federally protected rights.

Singal wrote in his decision that Anderson’s conduct was objectively reasonable and supported by Maine law, which authorizes prosecutors to “take any action … to enforce a child custody determination.”

Singal said Anderson’s actions did not deprive Malenko of is parental care, custody or control.

Anderson said Friday she is relieved the lawsuit was dismissed at the earliest opprotunity possible.

“This is one of the ways adults can bully one another,” she said of the lawsuit. “I think it was frivolous and bogus from the beginning.”

The lawsuit revolved around a Jan. 27 incident in which Lori Handrahan, the girl’s mother, tried to take her daughter from the girl’s stepmother in Cape Elizabeth.

Handrahan, who lives in Sorrento, Maine, and Washington D.C., had a judge’s order saying she is to have visits with the child on the first, third and fourth weekends of each month. She hadn’t seen the child since May.

But the judge’s order also said Malenko is allowed to make ”any important decision” regarding the child.

Malenko determined that meant he could prevent Handrahan from having unsupervised visits.
Anderson was asked to look into the issue – she wouldn’t say by whom – and spoke with Judge Moskowitz.

Anderson then communicated to Cape Elizabeth police that Handrahan could take the daughter that weekend.

Rather than turn the child over to the mother, however, Cape Elizabeth police called the state Department of Health and Human Services, which instructed them to allow the child to stay with the father.

Malenko’s lawsuit said Anderson disrupted family unity, caused emotional distress and deprived him of his rights.