BIDDEFORD — Alleged sex abuse victims and several city councilors demanded Saturday that state officials step up to strengthen punishments of sex crimes, support victims and ensure that allegations of sex abuse against former Biddeford police officers are thoroughly investigated.

During a forum hosted by state Sen. David Dutremble, three alleged victims spoke of being abused by police officers and of their frustration with the silence of Biddeford officials during a sex abuse scandal that has rocked the city.

The Maine Attorney General’s Office currently is investigating allegations that Stephen Dodd sexually abused Matt Lauzon in the late 1990s while Dodd was a Biddeford police sergeant and Lauzon was a teenager. Since Lauzon, now a Boston tech entrepreneur, went public with his accusations in March, city officials have largely stayed silent on the issue.

Dutremble, a Biddeford Democrat, said he decided to hold the forum after seeing alleged sex abuse victims and their supporters cut short at a City Council meeting this past week when they began using the names of people accused of crimes. Dutremble said there has been a lot of frustration and anger in Biddeford because city officials for weeks refused to address the allegations, citing a state law that prohibits law enforcement from speaking about ongoing investigations.

Dutremble, a Biddeford firefighter, believes city officials could have quelled some of the public outcry by acknowledging that residents are upset that two officers were accused of sex crimes but never prosecuted. Dodd was investigated for sex abuse allegations in 2002 but never charged. A second former officer, Norman Gaudette, was investigated on similar charges in the 1990s but was not indicted by a grand jury.

“I’ve very disappointed. This is not the city I grew up in,” Dutremble said.

During the meeting, Lauzon read a statement he said was from a former Biddeford police detective that alleged a prosecutor intentionally compromised the case so that Gaudette was not indicted. Also at Saturday’s forum, Larry Ouellette, the accuser in the Gaudette case, described what he said was ongoing sexual abuse by Gaudette. He said he supports Lauzon’s determination to prosecute Dodd, but said he told him “he was trying to achieve the impossible.”

Ouellette asked state officials in attendance – including Sen. Bill Diamond of Windham and Rep. Marty Grohman of Biddeford – to enact a law that ensures victims have a chance to testify against the person they accuse of abuse. He said he was not allowed to testify against Gaudette at a grand jury.

Biddeford City Councilors Bob Mills, Robert Quattrone and Clement Fleurent attended the meeting.

“We’re here because we care,” Mills said. “I had a problem sitting on my hands and not saying anything (during the City Council meeting).”

Dutremble said he and Lauzon are scheduled to meet with Gov. Paul LePage this week and will share with him the concerns expressed at the forum. At the request of the City Council, Dutremble is also exploring the possibility of eliminating from state law the provision that prohibits officials from commenting on active investigations.

Fred Staples, a former city councilor, said the time has come for officials to stop abuse and hold perpetrators and the people who cover for them accountable.

“I’m angry and I think everyone should be angry about this,” he said. “We need to do something and we need to do it now.”