BIDDEFORD, Maine — It was standing room only inside the Biddeford City Council meeting Tuesday night, where alleged victims came forward with horrifying accusations.
“This has been a total injustice. You knew you had a pedophile working in Biddeford,” one alleged victim, Rick Alexander, told the council Tuesday night. “I’ve been raped. I’ve been carrying this around for 40 years.”
In recent weeks, several people have come forward claiming they were sexually abused when they were underage by at least one now-former Biddeford police officer.
Allegations of sexual abuse at the hands of a former Biddeford police officer came to light after a victim posted his story on Facebook.
The Facebook post gave others, like Alexander, the courage to fight for justice a second time.
“It fell on deaf ears 13 years ago and here I am today,” Alexander told CBS 13.
Alexander said the former officer now lives in Florida. Even though decades have passed, Alexander says he remembers the abuse from the man who lived six doors down from him.
“This guy took over the role of an authoritative figure and used that as a sexual tool,” Alexander said, “I got to the point where I was living in the woods. I was sleeping in the woods. I would leave my house because I didn’t want to be seen by him.”
Attorney Walter McKee has told the Bangor Daily News his firm is conducting a civil investigation into the case at the behest of another alleged victim, Matthew Lauzon.
“What is becoming apparent though from recent news stories and based on our own preliminary investigation is that these were not isolated incidents and they occurred over the course of many years,” McKee said in a statement earlier this month.
Alexander said the same detective that looked into his case in 2002 is looking into the new claims. But this time the community is demanding answers.
The Biddeford police chief wasn’t at Tuesday’s meeting and city officials have said they cannot comment on any past or current criminal investigations.
Many of the alleged victims are calling for the police chief to be suspended and for the attorney general’s office to investigate the accusations.
The attorney general’s office has not commented publicly on whether it is or isn’t conducting such an investigation.
In the wake of the current accusations, two men have come forward with renewed allegations of sex abuse by another Biddeford officer as well, the Boston Globe reported this week.
The second officer was originally investigated for sexually assaulting underage boys in the 1990s, but was never charged, according to the Globe.
“We’re seeing that for years, sexual abuse has been taking place in the Police Department and has been overlooked,” Perry Aberle, a former Biddeford city councilor, told the Boston Globe.
“There are some great police officers on the force,” Aberle said. “But living in the city my whole life, I’m starting to think that the police department is morally irresponsible.”
Neither of the two Biddeford officers responded to requests for comment by the Globe.
BDN staff writers Seth Koenig and Beth Brogan contributed to this story.