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Maple Leaf Gardens sex abuser pleads guilty to 100 charges

Convicted pedophile Gordon Stuckless was rearrested on new sexual assault charges on March 22, 2013. Nine more counts were added on Nov. 14, 2011

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

The man at the centre of the Maple Leaf Gardens sex abuse scandal pleaded guilty Tuesday to 100 charges involving 18 underage victims.

Gordon Stuckless, 65, entered the plea in a Toronto courtroom in relation to offences that took place decades ago.

The charges include indecent assault, sexual assault and gross indecency and span from 1965 to 1985.

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Stuckless pleaded not guilty to several charges, including sexual assault with a weapon and buggery, and his lawyer Ari Goldkind said a trial on those charges is expected to get underway in the next couple of weeks.

Crown attorney Kelly Beale is expected to request a dangerous offender assessment for Stuckless, but Goldkind said his client, who's on a sex offender registry, continues his chemical castration therapy and has been living "a very law-abiding life."

"Since 2001, he is not a danger to society," Goldkind said. "So again, if we call ourselves a lawful society, not just a vengeful society, Mr Stuckless doesn't come close to meeting the test for dangerous offender."

But Allan Donnan, one of his victims in an earlier case, said he wasn't convinced, given the scope of Stuckless's abuse.

"For 30 years, he was cold, he was calculated, he was premeditated, he thought about who, he thought about how, he thought about when," Donnan said outside court.

"What proof does anyone have that since he came out of jail there hasn't been a single recurrence?"

The Maple Leaf Gardens sex abuse scandal first came to light in 1997, when a man named Martin Kruze came forward with allegations that he was sexually abused there from the age of eight.

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Kruze testified at Stuckless's trial that he was among the dozens of young hockey fans lured into the Gardens — former home to the Toronto Maple Leafs before they left for a new arena in 1999 — with free tickets, hockey sticks and player autographs, only to be sexually abused.

Two days after Stuckless was sentenced in 1997 for sex assaults on 24 boys while he was an usher at the Maple Leaf Gardens, Kruze committed suicide.

Kruze, who would have turned 52 Tuesday, would have been "so proud" to see Stuckless admit to what he has done, his brother, Gary Kruze, said outside court.

"This is what he wanted. He wanted to put an end to this."

Stuckless was forced back in the spotlight last year when police announced fresh charges against him in alleged incidents dating back decades.

All charges relating to separate investigations by Toronto police and York Region police have been merged together.

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