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Defence seeks five-year sentence for Maple Leaf Gardens pedophile

Former equipment manager has pleaded guilty to 100 charges and been convicted of two more for abusing 18 boys


 

TORONTO — A man whose brother was abused by Gordon Stuckless confronted the admitted pedophile Thursday after the defence recommended a five-year sentence for crimes committed against 18 boys.

“You should rot in jail,” Gary Kruze shouted at Stuckless outside the courtroom after the sentencing hearing.

As Stuckless walked away, Kruze told his wife he had waited two years — since the court case began — to speak to the man he blames for his brother’s death.

Martin Kruze was one of the first to come out with allegations against Stuckless in the late 1990s, and one of 24 complainants in the resulting trial. He committed suicide shortly after the trial.

His brother is calling for tougher penalties for sexual abuse, adding Stuckless should spend the rest of his life in prison for the harm he has inflicted on young boys over decades.

“We need to set a precedent in this country,” he said outside court.

“We truly feel that Gordon Stuckless is one of the most notorious and destructive pedophiles that has ever walked the face of the Earth,” his wife, Teresa Kruze, said.

“Martin’s life mattered, they all matter — and I think our laws are a joke, an absolute joke,” she said.

Stuckless’s lawyer, Ari Goldkind, said his client should face a shorter sentence this time than he did in the previous case, in part because there are fewer victims.

The defence lawyer argued Stuckless should receive two years of credit for the time he has spent on house arrest, as well as the steps he has taken to keep from reoffending, which include chemical castration.

That would mean Stuckless would spend a total of three years behind bars.

“Truth be told, anybody here _ whether I said five years, three years, seven years — nobody would be happy unless I said 28 years and he dies in jail,” he said outside court.

Goldkind has previously said Stuckless — who has pleaded guilty to 100 charges and been convicted of two more for abusing 18 boys — should not be sentenced “simply on fear.”

Stuckless cannot be considered a repeat offender, he said, because that legal designation applies to those who commit a crime for which they have already been convicted in the past. The crimes he is being sentenced for now took place before his previous guilty plea.

And any inconsistencies in his statements to the court or to a court-appointed psychiatrist are due to memory lapses, not deceit, Goldkind said, noting it would be “so much more bizarre” if Stuckless remembered every detail of the dozens of children he abused decades after the fact.

Court has heard Stuckless has not undergone any counselling or therapy since his release in the early 2000s but has consistently taken medication to effectively kill his sex drive.

“There will never truly be closure in a case like this, there will never be closure for his victims,” Goldkind said in his submissions.

“But at some point in time we have to consider whether the criminal justice system has had its effect on an offender,” he said. “The criminal justice system has worked for Gordon Stuckless.”

The Crown is seeking a sentence of 12 years, arguing Stuckless preyed on children for decades and there is nothing to compel him to keep up the chemical castration.

On Tuesday, Stuckless apologized in court for his actions and the lasting harm they have caused his victims.

He expressed shame and remorse and that while he can’t undo the past, he is working hard to ensure he never sexually abuses another child.

Stuckless previously pleaded guilty in 1997 for sex assaults on 24 boys while he worked as an equipment manager 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 six years, less a year for pre-trial custody. He was paroled in 2001 after serving two-thirds of his sentence.

Court heard earlier this week that he was convicted on two other occasions of sex offences against underage boys.

Ontario Court Justice Mara Greene is expected to deliver her sentence on June 9.


 
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