BIDDEFORD — Mayor Alan Casavant issued a statement shortly after 9 p.m. Thursday, saying he had met with Matt Lauzon earlier that day and the two had a productive conversation. Lauzon posted a similar sentiment on his Facebook page.

Each had expressed that the good will would continue.

Less than 24 hours later however, matters took a downturn. Lauzon, just before noon Friday, issued a statement emailed to Casavant and copied to a host of others, expressing disappointment that Casavant hadn’t sent him a copy of his statement, and taking him to task for what he described as prioritizing election emails over respect for people involved.

Then, in a posting on his Facebook page just after 2 p.m. Friday, Lauzon had some more harsh words for the mayor.

“Mayor Casavant just called me,” Lauzon wrote. “And I am so absolutely disgusted. He is a liar and a coward.” The posting went on to reference information Casavant allegedly said Lauzon was withholding. Lauzon said the information was available from Sen. David Dutremble.

In another email statement at 2:21 p.m. Friday, Lauzon stated, “(Casavant) back peddled the entire discussion and I’m ashamed of myself for trying to extend an olive brand and apologize to him … I won’t expect an apology, although I deserve one. And I won’t retract my apologies to him, although I should. But I will not quietly lie down and let this man continue to abuse an entire city on an ongoing basis.”

Lauzon, now of Boston, alleges that he was sexually assaulted by former Biddeford police officer Stephen Dodd when he was a boy growing up in Biddeford. Dodd worked for the Biddeford Police Department from 1978 to 2003 and is now believed to live in Florida. Lauzon’s allegations ”“ along with those of others who have stepped forward ”“ has sparked an outcry in the community.

On Thursday, Casavant and Lauzon met.

“It was good to clear the air, and I left the conversation feeling that we understood each other’s point of view,” Casavant said in the statement he issued Thursday evening. “I am actually hopeful … that together we may return respect, dignity and civility to the public discussion about a serious issue now under scrutiny in Biddeford. Perhaps even active collaboration could now be in front of us. I hope so.”

“We are not all going to agree immediately on all policy and legal issues, but perhaps we can now discuss them in a productive manner,” Casavant further wrote. “ I can assure Matt, his supporters and all the citizens of Biddeford that trying to wrestle with these extremely grave issues has been weighing heavily not only on me, but on every member of the city council.”

Lauzon’s Thursday evening Facebook posting, had made similar positive remarks.

“I wanted to share that I just had what I felt was a very productive and healthy discussion with the Mayor,” Lauzon said in his Thursday posting. “As part of this discussion, I apologized to him for letting my emotions get the best of me at times and for saying things that have offended him. He graciously accepted that and we both agreed this was a step in the right direction. We also discussed some things that hopefully can help us be more effective collectively making sure justice and healing prevail.”

By noon Friday, Lauzon was expressing himself in a different way.

“While I appreciate the positive sentiment,” Lauzon said in his email to the media, city councilors and others. “I must say I’m disappointed that you didn’t have the courtesy to at least copy me and that you continue to send from your re-election campaign email.” Lauzon has made several critical statements about Casavant using what he calls the mayor’s reelection email account to communicate. “It should be noted that I apologized to you. But you, in turn, found no reasons to apologize to me,” Lauzon continued.

“I continue to believe we are well beyond gross negligence in your lack of action to suspend to Chief and Deputy Chief,” stated Lauzon. “I don’t think there’s any statutes for you to hide behind here.”

Lauzon and others have called for the suspension of Biddeford Police Chief Roger Beaupre and Dep. Chief JoAnne Fisk, saying others alleging sexual abuse by former police officers would more comfortable stepping forward if they weren’t at the helm.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected] Associate editor Dina Mendros contributed to this report.



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