05/03/2013 02:16 EDT | Updated 07/03/2013 05:12 EDT

Maple Leaf Gardens abuser Stuckless due back in court on new charges in May

TORONTO - Two men whose lives have been forever altered by the man at the centre of the Maple Leaf Gardens sex abuse scandal were in court Friday, hoping to see him appear on new sex charges.

Gordon Stuckless is facing 49 recently filed historical charges as 12 men have come forward to allege that he abused them as boys.

The 63-year-old was convicted in 1997 for sex assaults on 24 boys while he was an usher at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens between 1969 and 1988.

The new charges are for alleged offences between the 1960s and 1985. He has not yet entered a plea on those charges. His lawyer, Ari Goldkind, said he was just given a package of disclosure by the Crown and has not yet reviewed it with Stuckless.

"I understand that sometimes people do not come forward for a period of time because of pain that they've had in their life, but other times people come forward for other reasons," Goldkind said outside court.

"It's just too early before reading what everybody has to say to tell you what we think of what everybody has to say."

The 49 new charges have been laid in several sets over a few months as more men come forward to allege abuse at the hands of Stuckless.

Toronto Police allege Stuckless would befriend boys between eight and 12 years old and sexually assault them at various locations around Toronto and north of the city.

The new charges Stuckless faces include several counts each of indecent assault on a male, gross indecency and buggery.

Most of those charges are for alleged offences in Toronto, but they also include charges laid by police in York Region.

There, a man is alleging that Stuckless abused him for a time in the early 1980s when he was the 12-year-old's hockey coach. As York Regional Police were investigating that allegation, another man came forward to allege Stuckless sexually assaulted him from 1983 to 1985, when he was 11 years old and Stuckless was a teacher's assistant at his school.

It's "certainly possible" there will be more charges coming, Goldkind said.

Allan Donnan, one of the 24 men Stuckless was convicted of abusing in the Maple Leaf Gardens era, was in court Friday with Gary Kruze, the brother of one of Stuckless's other victims from that time.

Martin Kruze blew the lid off the scandal and testified at Stuckless's trial in the 1990s 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.

In 1997 Stuckless was sentenced to two years less a day. Despondent over the original sentence handed to Stuckless, Kruze committed suicide a few days later.

That sentence was later increased to five years. He was paroled in 2001 after serving two-thirds of it.

After the brief court hearing Friday, Gary Kruze said the penalties for child sexual abuse should be stiffer because it is a life sentence for those who survive.

"Through my brother's soul we encourage all survivors to come forward," said Kruze, who works with the Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness.

"Survivors live with this pain, excruciating pain. It strips their soul. What we've learned is, it changes their lives forever."

Donnan said if Stuckless had killed him instead of abusing him, his pain would have been over.

"I am not a victim anymore of Gordon Stuckless," he said outside court. "But as a survivor, I have been told time and time again that the system will make a statement that says to every pedophile going forward, you put your hands on a child, you will pay for it."

Stuckless's lawyer urged people to not to prejudge the outcome of these charges based on his past convictions. He also noted that his client is currently out on bail.

"Mr. Stuckless, even by the police — and this is important — even by the police, is not suspected of having done one single thing since he was released in 2001," Goldkind said outside court.

"You only keep somebody in jail if they are a current threat."

His next court date is scheduled for May 30. He doesn't have to appear on that date either and is expected to be represented by his lawyer.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version gave an incorrect date for Gordon Stuckless's next court appearance.