BIDDEFORD — A man who says a former Biddeford police officer raped him 40 years ago was among a half-dozen people who asked city officials on Tuesday night to suspend the city’s top police administration while the abuse allegations are investigated.

It was the first time city leaders heard publicly from alleged victims and their supporters about allegations of sexual abuse within the police department that have swirled on social media for months.

Police Chief Roger Beaupre, who has held the position for more than 30 years, was not at the meeting and city officials have not publicly discussed placing him on leave while accusations against former officer Stephen M. Dodd are investigated.

Matthew Lauzon, a Boston man who grew up in Biddeford, launched the flurry of discussions about abuse on Facebook when he posted publicly his accusations that Dodd sexually assaulted him more than a decade ago. His story prompted another victim to speak about his own allegations against Dodd and to demand action by city officials.

“Thirteen years ago I told the attorney general there was a problem. It fell on deaf ears,” said Rick Alexander, a South Portland man who says he was raped by Dodd decades ago. “I feel this has been a total injustice. You knew you had a pedophile working in the city.”

Dodd was suspended from the police department in 2002 when the Attorney General’s Office investigated a similar allegation. He was never charged and retired in 2003.

City officials say they are prohibited by law from talking about personnel or an investigation.

“The city’s inability to comment on the current process should not be construed to suggest that the city is ignoring or minimizing the claims that have been made,” Mayor Alan Casavant said at the meeting.

“Should evidence eventually suggest that crimes have been committed, we desire full prosecution in order to seek justice for any victims, as well as to protect our citizens from future concerns,” Casavant continued.

Lauzon, now 30, said Dodd, then a police sergeant, sexually assaulted him in the woods near their homes more than a decade ago. After Lauzon brought his allegations to police last October, the Biddeford Police Department forwarded Lauzon’s complaint to the Attorney General’s Office for investigation.

Walter McKee, Lauzon’s attorney, also has launched a civil investigation into the allegations.

Dodd, now 57, has not responded to request for comments. His last known address was in Lakeland, Florida.

At the City Council meeting, a half-dozen people urged city officials to take action to restore public confidence in the police department. Residents who addressed the council were not allowed to name specific city employees or discuss current investigations.

Resident Bob Provencher said “the buck stops” at Beaupre’s desk.

“This does not bring honor to the city and doesn’t show integrity in the department,” he said of the allegations.

Resident Robert Kalex said he was victimized by a Biddeford police officer and “suffered a long, long, long time.”

“I do know there are a lot of other victims out there,” he said. “Help us get some help.”

Mellisa  Luedke, a Biddeford resident who has been following the story on social media, said an outside agency needs to investigate the Biddeford Police Department. She is concerned other abuse victims won’t come forward if Beaupre and Deputy Chief JoAnne Fisk remain in charge of the department during the investigation.

Through tears, Luedke said she worries about the outcome if her 12-year-old son ever had to call Biddeford police for help.

“I’m not sure if he dials 911 what will happen to him,” she said. “I’m begging you to take the chief and deputy chief out.”

Lauzon did not attend Tuesday’s meeting. In an email sent to Biddeford officials on Monday, Lauzon said the situation has reached “a point where the public deserves answers.” “I recognize my investigation is now in the hands of people outside of BPD, and I know there are limitations on your ability to communicate given investigation(s), but I also know that this doesn’t mean you have to be totally silent either,” Lauzon wrote. “That is a choice you are making.”