A former Biddeford resident filed a lawsuit this week alleging a city police officer sexually abused him when he was a teenager nearly 30 years ago and that the abuse was ignored by the city’s police chief.

Scott Frechette is the fourth person to file a lawsuit against former officers, the chief and the city in the two years since allegations of sexual abuse first emerged publicly. The allegations involve two former officers, both of whom were never charged following investigations many years ago by the Attorney General’s Office.

The latest lawsuit alleges former police officer Norman Gaudette sexually abused the teenage boy around 1990 and contains allegations similar to a lawsuit filed against Gaudette in 2015 by a different person. The allegations against Gaudette emerged during a contentious seven-month period in 2015 when stories of alleged sexual abuse by another former officer, Stephen Dodd, roiled city hall and dominated discussions at city meetings. Two lawsuits have now been filed against each of the former officers, Gaudette and Dodd.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court names Gaudette, the city and police Chief Roger Beaupre both in his role with the department and as an individual. Gene Libby, the attorney for Gaudette, said the former officer was cleared of those allegations 27 years ago. Libby also questioned the timing of the lawsuit, which comes after Frechette failed to show up to give a deposition in the other lawsuit against Gaudette.

Biddeford City Attorney Keith Jacques issued a written statement Thursday saying the city had not yet been provided with the complaint that was given to the media.

“The City, therefore, cannot comment on the substance of the complaint.” But, Jacques said, “the city will vigorously defend and protect its citizens and taxpayers against the allegations.”

In the new lawsuit, Frechette alleges he was sexually assaulted by Gaudette around 1989 and 1990 when Frechette was a minor, and that Gaudette used his position of power as a law enforcement officer to secure Gaudette’s trust and ensure he stayed silent about the abuse. The lawsuit also alleges that Beaupre, who was serving as police chief at the time, was given information about the abuse and should have been aware that Gaudette was allegedly sexually abusing young boys.

“As chief, Roger Beaupre turned a blind eye and failed to prevent this abuse. Chief Roger Beaupre’s failure to act meant that Norman Gaudette was able to sexually assault Frechette,” the complaint says.

Frechette, who now lives in Florida, was a Biddeford resident and a teenager when the alleged abuse occurred. Gaudette approached Frechette when the teenager was having trouble at home and needed a place to stay, according to the lawsuit. Frechette says Gaudette rented him a room at the Sleepy Hollow Motel and told him it was paid for with police department money. In the hotel room, Gaudette forced sexual acts on the teenager and tried to force Frechette to perform sexual acts on him, according to the lawsuit.

The abuse caused Frechette severe psychological damage, post-traumatic stress disorder, lost wages and permanent impairment, according to the lawsuit. He is seeking punitive and compensatory damages.

Libby, of the Kennebunk firm Libby O’Brien Kingsley & Champion, said Frechette first made allegations against Gaudette in October 1990. The Attorney General’s Office investigated, a York County grand jury found there was not probable cause to charge Gaudette, and Frechette later signed a written recantation saying that Gaudette had not touched him, Libby said. Gaudette also passed a polygraph test, Libby said.

“And yet 27 years later, (Gaudette) is still being tormented by someone who was disbelieved by a group of ordinary citizens convened as the grand jury,” Libby said.

Libby said Frechette did not appear in January as required by a federal subpoena for a deposition in the other lawsuit filed against Gaudette by Lawrence Ouellette.

Two lawsuits filed by Gaudette are still pending in court.

Gaudette filed a defamation suit against Mainely Media LLC for a series of stories in the Biddeford-Saco-Old Orchard Beach Courier that the Gaudettes said amounted to a “smear campaign.” The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on May 9 affirmed a superior court judgment denying the newspaper’s motion to dismiss.

Also pending is a defamation suit filed by Gaudette against former Biddeford Detective Terry Davis for allegedly making false and defamatory statements regarding the investigation in the early 1990s.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

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