Allegations made against officer are similar
BIDDEFORD – A man who found himself at odds with the Biddeford Police Department and Maine Attorney General’s Office for what he said were decades has shared his story of alleged abuse by a former police officer – an officer against whom two other people have made allegations of past abuse.
Robert Kalex, who no longer lives in Biddeford, alleges that former police captain Norman Gaudette initiated a sexual relationship with him when Kalex was 15.
Kalex, now 50, said his troubles began in the 1980s, when Gaudette took him under his wing. According to several previously published news reports, Gaudette was investigated by the attorney general for sexual misconduct in 1990. Assistant Attorney General Phyllis Gardiner would not confirm or deny that an investigation took place, however, citing statutory requirements.
“We are unable to confirm the existence or nonexistence of intelligence and investigative record information made confidential by statute,” Gardiner responded.
According to 16 M.R.S.A. §§ 804 and 807, “a record that is or contains intelligence and investigative record information is confidential and may not be disseminated by a Maine criminal justice agency to any person or public or private entity if there is a reasonable possibility that public release or inspection of the record would” result in certain outcomes.
According to several media sources, Gaudette was put on paid administrative leave in October 1990 during the investigation, but was never charged by indictment or arrested, and returned to work in May 1991.
The Courier contacted Gaudette last week for his response to the allegations.
“I don’t have anything to say about that,” Gaudette said. “Why don’t you ask the chief about that?”
Said Kalex, “I tried many years ago to get attention brought to this, but I couldn’t say something productive for the good of the community – (the police) turned it all around and used it against me.”
Kalex said in 2000, the attorney general tried to convict him for racial discrimination and terrorizing. Kalex said the attorney general worked more aggressively to charge him in State v. Kalex than they did in investigating his allegations against a police officer.
In State v. Kalex, the attorney general argued that Kalex discriminated against Biddeford resident Rory Holland when he made a threat against Holland, who is black. Holland was later convicted of murder in 2010 for the deaths of Gage and Derek Greene.
Kalex also said the state tried to use pictures of him in a ghost costume, after he had been to a costume party, as evidence that he was parading around the city in a Ku Klux Klan outfit.
Although Kalex was initially convicted of terrorizing by a jury in York County Superior Court, the Maine Supreme Court vacated the decision in 2002, ultimately nullifying the conviction.
The whole experience broke him, said Kalex, propelling him to five years of living as a homeless man in Portland.
“One day, I pulled myself up and went to (Alcoholics Anonymous) and (Narcotics Anonymous) and put my life together,” he said.
Now, Kalex owns property and lives in a town south of Biddeford, works at a maintenance job in Old Orchard Beach, and steers completely away from Biddeford, where he is still fearful of retribution.
“My trouble with the law ended when I left Biddeford,” he said. “I haven’t had one ticket. Not a single police officer has had a problem with me. I’ve been pulled over in Pennsylvania, by New York State troopers, in Old Orchard Beach, Portland, and I haven’t got anything more than a warning.”
Kalex said Gaudette, who also owned a cleaning company – Twin City Cleaning – hired him when he was a teenager, to clean area buildings.
“While cleaning the banks, there were times when he wanted to play,” he said. “He would often place his hands on my (behind) or on my genitals. I would always tell him no and push him away.”
Turning Gaudette away however, proved difficult, he said, because Gaudette gave him gifts and companionship, making Kalex feel as if he owed Gaudette something in return for the nice things he did.
“As far as companionship and friendship goes, he was always there,” he said. “He gave me cases of beer, gave me money, bought me clothes.”
Kalex said Gaudette would take him fishing on Long Lake in Naples and brought him to a police academy in Augusta to take a defensive driving course, which is how he first learned to drive. Gaudette would even put presents under the Christmas tree and invite him to Thanksgiving Day dinners, he said.
“I had allowed Norman to abuse me when I got too buzzed,” Kalex said, “and he wound up in bed with me when I passed out.”
“I can honestly say that I was involved in homosexual activity with Norman Gaudette, but it wasn’t willingly done. I was doing it out of stress, out of what would happen to me if I didn’t.”
Kalex said Gaudette couldn’t take him to Long Lake every weekend because Gaudette had other teenage boys he also liked to bring there.
One day, he said, things could have turned out a lot worse than they did when he woke up to find Gaudette on top of him.
“I was sleeping in the camper, and he came after duty, and crawled in,” he said.
“I woke up with him on top of me, with his hands down my pajama bottoms. I grabbed his firearm, and thank God the safety was on.
“I ended up sticking his whole pistol in his mouth,” he added. “I had no time. With a police officer in full uniform on me, it was my only defense.”
The former Biddeford resident said when he reported the incident to the police the next day, he got sent in a straightjacket to the Augusta Mental Health Institute.
“They said I was a psychologically (expletive)-up person, and I was, because of what he did to me.”
Even his mother didn’t believe him, he said.
“’How could Norman do those things when he does so many good things for all those people?’” he recalled his mother asking him.
The man said Gaudette was only reprimanded by the department for losing control of a firearm. When asked for confirmation of the reprimand, City Solicitor Keith Jacques responded that it was “a personnel matter and as such the city cannot respond to that request.”
Kalex’s account of his experiences with Gaudette is similar to the story told by Larry Ouellette, who also alleges he was abused by Gaudette (See “Abuse alleged against second officer,” page one in this week’s issue of the Courier). When asked if he knew Ouellette, Kalex said he had never heard of him.
With nowhere to turn, the man said he continued to let Gaudette carry on a relationship with him because he was afraid of what police might do.
Noella Collette, Gaudette’s former sister-in-law, said her son, who was Gaudette’s nephew, alleges that he was asked to participate in a police pornography sting in 1979, when her son was 14 years old. Collette’s son, Kevin Gobeil, is now 49.
“I remember him so well, questioning it,” Collette said. “He was visibly upset. He said he had been with Uncle Norm, and (Norm) said he wanted him to do some undercover work for the police department, but he told him no.”
Gobeil said there were several times when his uncle made advances, but he always refused his overtures. Gobeil said Gaudette’s attempts began when he was 14.
“The first time, I was coming home from school one day, and he stopped and picked me up in his (detective) car. He took me to Fortune’s Rocks and told me he heard I was selling joints at school, and he wanted to search my pants for joints,” Gobeil said. “I didn’t let him.”
During the incident Gobeil had mentioned to his mother, Gobeil said Gaudette picked him up in a police car and told him he needed someone to help bust a child pornography ring in Brunswick.
“He said I would make a few hundred dollars, so I was all for it,” Gobeil said, “but then (Gaudette) said, ‘What if the guy wants to know if you’re a cop? You’re going to have to give him (oral sex). Are you OK with that?’ I said no thanks.”
Gobeil said there was another time when he got in some sort of trouble and Gaudette took him to the police station.
“He told me to take down my pants, he was going to put a wire on me,” Gobeil said. “He was trying to scare me into doing something. Told me I had to wear a wire and try and buy cigarettes off of somebody.”
Gobeil said although he managed to stay clear of being physically assaulted, Gaudette kept trying.
“He was always up to something. He always wanted to touch me,” Gobeil said. “In all cases, they were police-related. I just knew enough to stay away from him.”
Collette said last month, her son brought up the subject, and asked if she remembered that he was upset about it.
“He said he has thought about that every day of his life. My regret is that I never dug in and asked further,” she said about the time Gobeil first came to her, upset about Gaudette’s request.
Kalex said Gaudette also asked to use him as bait for an undercover police operation to catch someone in a hotel who was soliciting minors to record pornography.
“That they asked me to do this, I kind of felt weird, knowing what I knew about Norman Gaudette,” Kalex said.
Kalex said he felt the police protected each other.
“They worked together, the unit amongst the bunch of them,” he said. “If victims came forth, they banded together.”
Kalex said he was stopped for speeding a few miles over the speed limit, arrested for burglary because he had a screwdriver in his back pocket and taken in for drunk driving because his passenger was drunk. In all cases, when he arrived at the courthouse, Kalex said the clerk would tell him, “What are you here for? We don’t have anything on this.”
“I got tired of the harassment,” he said.
Eventually, Kalex said he spoke to investigators from the Attorney General’s Office, not only about Gaudette, but about the Biddeford Police Department’s treatment of him after he alleged abuse by Gaudette.
“Nothing ever happened,” he said. “They had the knowledge, but it was shoved under the rug because these were high-standing officers.”
Kalex said there are a dozen more people he alleges are victims of either former sergeant Stephen Dodd or Gaudette.
A Boston man who grew up in Biddeford, Matt Lauzon alleges that Dodd abused him as a child. Lauzon filed a complaint against Dodd with the Biddeford Police Department in October. The complaint was then forwarded to the attorney general.
According to past communications between the Courier and the Biddeford Police Department – as well as sources who were interviewed – Dodd was investigated by the attorney general’s office in 2002. Police Chief Roger Beaupre declined to comment on the nature of the investigation, and now declines to confirm the existence of an investigation, citing statutory requirements.
In 2003, Dodd notified the Maine Criminal Justice Academy that he would surrender his law enforcement certificate, effective upon his resignation July 18 that year.
Since the Courier reported on March 5 about the complaint against Dodd, five more men in addition to Lauzon have alleged abuse by Dodd or Gaudette.
Kalex said he tried to make a successful life for himself in Biddeford, but could never avoid trouble with the police. He owned a coffee shop for a while and attempted to run for mayor in 1999, to be “the voice of the unheard.” He failed to get enough signatures to make the ballot.
“How can we be productive people in society, knowing how easy it is to be victimized by the people that are supposed to be protecting you?” he asked.
When Chief Beaupre was asked to respond to the allegations, he replied, “What I find particularly frustrating, is my inability to make comments on investigations on former employee conduct, nor am I permitted to discuss whether such investigations actually happened,” Beaupre said.
“I have never actively participated in any investigation conducted by the Maine Attorney General’s Office in matters that allege sexual misconduct by a member of the Biddeford Police Department, nor would I … Let me assure you that as chief of police then, and as chief of police now, I would not hesitate to take administrative action against an employee for violating standards of contact. However, the accused employee is entitled to due process. I simply want to conclude … (that) I am not permitted to discuss personnel matters.”
In a previous interview, Beaupre said three police officers have been investigated for child sex abuse during his tenure as chief, but none resulted in a conviction. Beaupre, who has been chief since 1980, declined to name the officers, citing the statutory requirements referenced above. However, he said one of the cases was widely publicized.
Kalex said the attorney general is not capable of fairly investigating law enforcement officials.
“I don’t think the AG will do a whole lot against the (law enforcement) system,” he said.
Kalex said there are others out there who have provided information to the attorney general, information upon which the investigators took no action. Kalex said he would be “more than willing” to help with a class action suit against, or investigation of, the Attorney General’s Office.
Kalex also said he knows others who have had similar experiences of abuse by Biddeford police officers.
By sharing his story, Kalex hopes the others will come forward to demand justice.
“It would please me greatly to know that what I’ve suffered in my life could help someone else,” he said. “People should know, to prevent it from happening again.”