A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie Anderson 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 that 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 Wednesday, 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 his parental care, custody or control.

Anderson said Friday that she is relieved the lawsuit was dismissed at the earliest opportunity 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 an incident Jan. 27 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 was to have visits with the child on the first, third and fourth weekends of each month. She hadn’t seen the child since May 2011.

But the judge’s order also said Malenko was 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 Jeffrey Moskowitz.

Anderson then told 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.

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

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