Stuckless victims tell of lifelong suffering due to Maple Leaf Gardens abuse
Gordon Stuckless arrives at court in Toronto on Tuesday, April 22, 2014. (Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, March 30, 2016 10:57AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 30, 2016 12:04PM EDT
TORONTO -- Victims of the man at the heart of the Maple Leaf Gardens sex abuse scandal say they've been permanently scarred by his actions, their lives derailed by the shame and trauma of what they endured decades ago.
Several of Gordon Stuckless's victims described dropping out of school and turning to drugs and alcohol after being abused in their youth. Even now, the memories haunt them and keep them up at night, many said.
"I am 52 years old and I'm still broken inside," said one man, who cannot be identified under a publication ban.
He was 11 years old when Stuckless abused him at Maple Leaf Gardens, he said, and kept his "dark secret" under wraps for close to 40 years.
Another man who also cannot be named said he suffers from "constant flashbacks" and is always "on high alert."
A Toronto court is hearing victim impact statements as part of a sentencing hearing for Stuckless, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to 100 charges related to the sexual abuse of 18 boys decades ago.
He was later found guilty of two additional charges of gross indecency linked to two of the 18 victims.
Prosecutors decided last month not to seek to have him designated a dangerous or long-term offender.
Defence lawyer Ari Goldkind says the Crown has indicated it will push for a sentence of 10 to 12 years.
Stuckless remains under house arrest while on bail and must be accompanied by his brother when he leaves the home.
He previously pleaded guilty in 1997 for sex assaults on 24 boys while he was an usher at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens between 1969 and 1988.
He was sentenced to two years less a day in that case, but that was later increased to five years. He was paroled in 2001 after serving two-thirds of his sentence.