TORONTO – Months after pleading guilty to 100 charges related to the sexual abuse of 18 boys, the man at the centre of the Maple Leaf Gardens sex scandal was convicted Wednesday in two more charges linked to two of those victims.
Gordon Stuckless was found guilty of two counts of gross indecency but acquitted on two counts of buggery.
Stuckless had contested all four charges even though he admitted as part of his guilty plea to committing other types of abuse against the same victims decades ago. He also fought four other charges but those were withdrawn during trial.
Stuckless’s lawyer, Ari Goldkind, said his client has owned up to the “horrible acts” he’s committed but buggery – a charge that no longer exists and refers to sodomy – simply wasn’t one of them.
“This is not viewed as a win. There are people’s lives involved in this case that have been horribly ruined forever from the time they were young to the suffering that they have today,” Goldkind said outside the courthouse.
“So this is not a victory – this is, as her honour said, a legal test and a legal distinction and that’s the way our system of law operates.”
Stuckless pleaded guilty in 1997 to sex assaults on two dozen boys while he was an usher at Maple Leaf Gardens.
He was forced back in the spotlight last year when police announced fresh charges against him in alleged incidents dating back decades.
The Crown is expected to seek a dangerous offender designation, which Stuckless’s lawyer says is not warranted because his client has abided by the law since his previous convictions and voluntarily undergoes chemical castration.
Michael McTague, one of the victims in the 1997 case, said he’s disappointed by Wednesday’s acquittal but remains hopeful his abuser will be labelled a dangerous offender.
“He should have been taken off the streets a long time ago but he wasn’t,” he said.