POLITICS

New charges for Gordon Stuckless, convicted of Maple Leaf Gardens sex abuse

02/07/2013 02:17 EST | Updated 04/09/2013 05:12 EDT
TORONTO - A man at the centre of the Maple Leaf Gardens sex abuse scandal is facing new charges relating to alleged assaults on young boys dating back to the 1970s.

Gordon Stuckless, 63, was convicted in 1997 for sex assaults on 24 boys while he was an usher at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto between 1969 and 1988.

Police in Toronto say two people, who are now grown men, have come forward to allege that Stuckless sexually assaulted them on several occasions.

"At the time of the offences they were younger, 11 or 13," said Det.-Const. Roger Villaflor of the sex crimes unit.

"Obviously it's hard to report or confide in anybody with respect to those types of incidents that (allegedly) occurred over a period of time...They came forward now as they've come in their middle age, become older, wiser, start reflecting on their life experiences and decide now that they want closure."

Stuckless was volunteering at a local community centre and sports clubs at the time. Police allege the assaults happened at those places as well as "various other locations in Toronto."

Police believe there may be more victims and are urging anyone with information to come forward.

Stuckless was charged Thursday with six counts of indecent assault on a male, assault and possession of a weapon or imitation.

He is scheduled to appear in court on March 22. He was in custody at a police station Thursday afternoon while under investigation, but Villaflor said Stuckless was expected to be released under a promise to appear at his court date.

In 1997 Stuckless was sentenced to two years less a day, but that was later increased to five years.

He was paroled in 2001 after serving two-thirds of his sentence.

Sanderson Layng, with the Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness, set up the counselling program for victims in the Maple Leaf Gardens scandal. He said it can take decades for people, men in particular, to come to terms with sexual abuse they have suffered.

"There is a stigma, for men especially, who have been abused as children," he said. "There's a shame that's been involved, that they take it on as if they must have done something wrong."

Martin Kruze blew the lid off the hockey shrine with allegations that a pedophile ring was working inside and he was one of the victims.

Kruze testified at Stuckless's trial that he was among the dozens of young hockey fans lured into the Gardens with free tickets, hockey sticks and player autographs, only to be sexually abused.

Despondent over the original sentence handed to Stuckless, Kruze committed suicide a few days later.

"The devastation of what this individual has created is enormous and extends far beyond what most people would imagine," said Layng.

"We, like Martin, all believed that his initial sentencing was a travesty."