Maple Leaf Gardens sex offender Gordon Stuckless now out on parole

Convicted sex offender Gordon Stuckless, infamous for the Maple Leaf Gardens sex abuse scandal, is now out on day parole.

Stuckless's lawyer Ari Goldkind confirmed to CBC News that Stuckless, 70, was released in mid-December to live at a halfway house in Hamilton. He would not say if his client was still living there.

"Mr. Stuckless, given his chemical castration over the last 20 years, has demonstrated … that he is of little to no risk to reoffend. He's probably done more to fix himself than any other similar offender in Canada," Goldkind said.

"While that may be very cold comfort to his victims from the 60s, 70s and 80s, you will not find a police officer in this country who would suggest that in the last 25 years, Mr. Stuckless has done so much as have a parking ticket."

According to the parole board's decision, it's believed that the former assistant teacher and volunteer coach sexually abused 50 male children. One child, the decision says, was abused up to 75 times.

"The ripple effect of your offending is multi-generational will reverberate for years and years to come," the decision reads.

Stuckless pleaded guilty in 1997 to sex assaults on 24 boys while he worked as an equipment manager at 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.

Then in 2013, Stuckless faced new charges after more victims came forward. He was sentenced in 2016 to six-and-a-half years in prison after he was convicted of 102 charges, including 43 counts of indecent assault, 47 counts of gross indecency and 10 counts of sexual assault.

Sentence extended

That sentence was extended to 10 years in 2019 after the Ontario Court of Appeal deemed his earlier sentence "demonstrably unfit" in a two to one split decision. Goldkind said the defence is now seeking permission to appeal that sentence at the Supreme Court of Canada later this year.

"Gordon Stuckless is a sexual predator. The magnitude of his offending is staggering. The harm that he has caused is incalculable," the ruling from the court of appeal read.

Stuckless, the ruling said, "groomed his victims, providing them with hockey sticks and sports memorabilia, promising to introduce them to Toronto Maple Leaf players, taking them to movies and hockey games, and so on, all with a view to gaining an opportunity to abuse them.

"He also used psychological and physical threats. He sexually abused the boys in cars, in the woods, at schools, at hockey rinks, in movie theatres, at a dental office, and at Maple Leaf Gardens. He abused some of the boys in their own homes while he was a guest of their families."

Coun. Jason Farr, who represents Ward 2 in Hamilton, brought up Stuckless at a general issues committee meeting at city hall Wednesday afternoon.

"It's been a tough day learning that Gordon Stuckless is living in this city now, in the core, and I've been distracted by the growing concern," Farr said.

Stuckless' parole conditions dictate that he have no contact with minors, to report any relationships or connections with people who are in charge of minors, and to continue his chemical castration — which Stuckless has been voluntarily undergoing for more than a decade, Goldkind said.

"Obviously he understands the public outrage and anger … and understands that nothing he says or does will ever make anything better, or will be cold comfort to the victims — so he chooses to just live a life that makes sure he's not a threat to anybody else," Goldkind said.

adam.carter@cbc.ca