A Boston businessman’s allegation that he was sexually abused by a local police officer while growing up in Biddeford has been referred by the city’s police department to the Maine Attorney General’s Office for investigation.

The now-retired officer, Stephen Dodd, was suspended and investigated after a similar allegation by a different person in 2002, but the officer was never charged with a crime, Biddeford police confirmed Thursday.

The Attorney General’s Office would not answer any questions about the complaints because it is prohibited by law from confirming the existence or nonexistence of investigations, said spokesman Tim Feeley.

Dodd, who has no criminal record in Maine and now lives in Florida, could not be contacted to respond to the allegations. A phone listed at his last known address in Lakeland, Florida, has been disconnected and he did not return a message left on a cellphone listed in Florida police records as belonging to him.

Several months after bringing his complaint to police in October, Matthew Lauzon wrote on his Facebook page: “Almost every night I’ve had nightmares about what Biddeford police officer Stephen Dodd did to me when I was a boy. I have nightmares about where he took me in the woods. I have nightmares about his home on Dearborn Avenue. I have nightmares about him sitting in his SUV in the parking lot of the nursing home behind my home. Every time I see flashing blue lights I think about him pulling up to intimidate me and tell me he has (been) watching.”

Lauzon, now 30 and living in Massachusetts, agreed to be interviewed about the allegations but did not want to be photographed.

In interviews with the Portland Press Herald, he said Dodd sexually assaulted him in the woods near their homes more than a decade ago. Lauzon declined to disclose how old he was when the alleged abuse occurred and has not described it in detail, saying it could compromise the ongoing investigation. However, Lauzon has posted about his experiences on Facebook as a way to raise awareness about sexual abuse, he said.

Lauzon alleges that Dodd sexually abused him “for many years,” but said he didn’t previously report the abuse because he was scared and ashamed.

On Thursday, Lauzon’s attorney announced his firm has launched a civil investigation into Dodd, and urged other victims to come forward.

“We don’t want to interfere in any way with the Attorney General’s Office’s criminal investigation of Dodd and any other officers of the Biddeford police who may have abused children. That investigation should certainly continue,” said attorney Walter McKee of McKee Billings in Augusta.

McKee said his own preliminary investigation shows that Lauzon’s accusations do not appear to be isolated incidents and that they occurred over the course of many years.

Maine currently has no statute of limitations for the crimes of gross sexual assault, sexual abuse of a minor or unlawful sexual contact if the victim was younger than 16. The law was changed in 1999, and covers crimes that were committed before the previous statute of limitations, 10 years in most cases, had run out.

Biddeford Police Chief Roger Beaupre said Lauzon talked with a detective in October and that his complaint was forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office because it involved a former employee of the department and because of the nature of the alleged crime. Beaupre said he is prohibited by law from discussing the allegations.

Dodd was suspended from the Biddeford department in November 2002 pending the outcome of an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office, according to Biddeford police.

Deputy Chief JoAnne Fisk referred all questions about the current and 2002 investigations to the attorney general. She said Thursday that the department has not received other complaints about Dodd.

Another person who claims he was abused by Dodd spoke about it in a March 25 interview with the Journal Tribune newspaper in Biddeford. Attempts by the Press Herald to locate that alleged victim were unsuccessful.

Dodd was hired by the Biddeford Police Commission on July 19, 1978, and was employed with the department as an officer until July 18, 2003, according to Beaupre. Dodd voluntarily resigned from the department, and in June 2003 surrendered his certificate of eligibility to work as a law enforcement officer in Maine because he was retiring, according to a letter Dodd sent to the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.

Dodd, who is now 57, has no criminal record in Maine, but was arrested for domestic violence battery in Florida in 2011. Those charges were later dismissed. According to a police report from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Dodd was charged after he and his then-25-year-old boyfriend got into a physical altercation over an attempt by the younger man to remove a sex toy from their house.

Lauzon said he has been contacted by other victims of sexual abuse since he began posting online about his experiences. This week, he posted dozens of comments on the Biddeford Police Department’s Facebook page urging people to contact them if they had been abused by Dodd.

“I believe the more awareness we bring publicly about sexual abuse, the more we will help survivors heal and prevent young women and men from being abused,” he said. “I believe if we speak more openly about abuse that survivors will feel less alone and realize that they can achieve whatever their definition of success is.”

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

[email protected]

Twitter: grahamgillian

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