Paul's Panthers, he wore black-and-orange socks with holes in them and battered hand-me-down skates with thickly taped toes. At the time of his arrest, he was on probation, after serving 14 months for sexual assaults involving several boys aged 12 to 13 in York Region north of Toronto in the early s. If Giffin had entered Stuckless's name, his long record of abuse would have come up. An ebullient Kruze called the deluge of allegations "wonderful - this has been the best week of my life. The Gardens' board of directors decided not to go to the police, Fletcher said, because Kruze wanted to remain anonymous. Dave Tredrea of the Metropolitan Toronto Police said the abuse was "common knowledge among the staff. They did not want to go to the police. But in January, Toronto native Martin Kruze, 34, became the first to blow the whistle, leading to the arrests late last month of Stuckless, 47, and John Paul Roby, 54, a part-time usher for 25 years.
Perhaps it was the lanky kid's vulnerability that prompted Stuckless to approach him with an irresistible offer - an invitation to visit nearby Maple Leaf Gardens, where he then worked as a part-time maintenance man. For former Maple Leafs, the revelation that teenagers were being violated near their dressing room was almost impossible to believe. On a team trip in , Stuckless arranged to share a room with the boy - and sexually assaulted him. Sometimes, he remembers, the star-struck kids even received invitations to the Toronto Maple Leafs' dressing room, where they were introduced to their hockey heroes. Over the next 10 years, he alleges, Stuckless and two other men who were also working at the Gardens would often take him into empty offices and have anal and oral sex with him. I could bring my friends in anytime I wanted. McCarthy first worked as an usher and attendant selling pop and hotdogs. In , Stuckless pleaded guilty to assaulting the boy and received a short jail sentence. But in January, Toronto native Martin Kruze, 34, became the first to blow the whistle, leading to the arrests late last month of Stuckless, 47, and John Paul Roby, 54, a part-time usher for 25 years. Darryl told his parents and they immediately went to police. Toronto businessman Barry Bingham and his son Darryl were flooded with bad memories when they saw Stuckless being led into court last month. And he never complained, he says, because Hannah and Stuckless made him feel important: Like Kruze, McCarthy believes his life was destroyed by Stuckless, Hannah and Roby, and he is determined to demand compensation from the Gardens after he is released. Police said George Hannah, a longtime equipment manager with the Toronto Marlboros who died in , was also involved. But the price, McCarthy says, would be tragically high. McCarthy also fell into a life of petty crime, and is now finishing a short sentence in an Ontario provincial jail for stealing money from a parking meter. Almost immediately after the arrests, police were inundated with calls from others who said they too had been abused at the venerable hockey shrine. When Darryl was 13, Stuckless was his hockey coach. At least one parent of an abused teenager alleges that Gardens officials had good reason to believe there were many - and that they simply were not vigilant enough. When Bingham realized in that Stuckless was still working at the Gardens, he wrote a letter to Donald Giffin, a longtime Gardens director who became president following Ballard's death. If Giffin had entered Stuckless's name, his long record of abuse would have come up. Maple Leafs president Cliff Fletcher said the Gardens' insurance company, Royal Insurance Canada, investigated Kruze's original allegations promptly, but concluded that the assaults were isolated incidents. Kruze's own graphic descriptions included dozens of young boys lying naked on rugs having sex with Gardens employees. In , Hannah got him a coveted job as a stick boy for the Toronto Toros of the now-defunct World Hockey Association. For years, the victims kept the Gardens' secret. But McCarthy says that Harold Ballard, the Gardens' autocratic owner from until his death in , would often walk by as Hannah and a group of kids sat watching TV together - or were coming out of the team sauna naked.
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