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Victims testify at trial of man at centre of Maple Leaf Gardens sex scandal

One of Gordon Stuckless’s victims wept on the stand Tuesday as he accused the man at the centre of the Maple Leaf Gardens scandal of raping him decades ago, saying the memory of the abuse haunts him to this day.

Lloyd William Forde, one of two accusers in the case who can be legally identified, told a Toronto court that Stuckless molested him regularly when they went on walks or to the movies in the late 1960s.


Forde, who was seven or eight years old at the time, said the abuse hit its peak one day when the pair went to a barn on his parents’ property and ended up on a couch in the loft, both with their pants off.

“I lay on the couch on my stomach and he said to me — and this will burn in my brain forever — ‘It’s going to hurt a little bit but it’s OK because everybody does it. All the boys do it,’ and he proceeded to have intercourse with me,” said Forde, now 55.

“Basically he just raped me.”

Forde testified that Stuckless threatened to hurt his mother if he told anyone what had happened.

Stuckless pleaded guilty last month to 100 charges related to the sexual abuse of 18 underage boys decades ago, including Forde and another man who testified Tuesday.

But he pleaded not guilty to another eight charges involving three of those victims. He now is on trial on those charges, which include buggery and assault.

Stuckless had a clear pattern in how he committed his abuse, grooming young men he met through his work as a coach, gym teacher or assistant, his lawyer Ari Goldkind argued.

Buggery _ an old charge referring to sodomy _ is “radically, significantly different” and does not fit that pattern, he said.

In his cross-examination, Goldkind questioned Forde’s memory of the incident, suggesting the man didn’t see what penetrated him in the barn. He also asked how Forde was able to identify his abuser, who he knew only as “Smiley.”

Forde said it was only last year that he learned the name of “the man that stole my innocence.” On seeing a news report about Stuckless, he recognized his “dead eyes,” he said.

The pair met when Stuckless befriended his mother, who he knew from the hockey community, and quickly began to seek the boy out for walks and other outings, Forde said.

It was during these outings that Stuckless would grope the boy’s genitals, often while masturbating, and at times perform oral sex on him, said an agreed statement of facts read in court last month.

“It happened over and over,” Forde testified Tuesday.

Stuckless admitted those assaults, but denied what Forde alleges Stuckless did to him in the barn.

Another man, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban, told the court he is still traumatized by the abuse he suffered at Stuckless’s hands.

“You ruined my life, man,” he said, glancing at Stuckless from the stand. “He ruined my life.”

The man, who was 11 at the time, described some of the abuse, including an incident in which Stuckless allegedly pressed a blade to his neck while molesting him.

He said another time Stuckless digitally penetrated his rectum when he came out of the showers in the school change room.

Both Forde and the other man who cannot be identified said the abuse sent them into a spiral of shame, substance abuse and minor crime that stretched for years.

The Crown is expected to request a dangerous offender assessment for Stuckless, but Goldkind says it’s not warranted since his client has been living a “very law-abiding life” since his previous convictions and voluntarily undergoes chemical castration.

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.