In a show of solidarity and support, dozens of Robert Gaskill's friends and family stood silently as he entered a Cook County courtroom on Thursday. A bailiff sternly ordered them to sit back down.
Gaskill mouthed the words "I love you" to the gathered crowd before facing judge William Wise at a preliminary hearing at the Maybrook courthouse.
A River Forest foster parent, child welfare advocate and former publishing executive, Gaskill, 63, was charged with two felony counts of predatory sexual assault of a child after two young women came forward accusing him of a 13-year pattern of abuse, authorities said.
He is expected to be indicted later this month, defense attorneys said prosecutors indicated in court.
At Thursday's hearing, attorney Kelly Seago asked Wise for permission to send the jailed Gaskill a large-print Holy Bible and a pair of reading glasses. She also requested that he be removed from a holding cell and placed in a Cook County jail hospital for medical tests.
Gaskill is scheduled to next appear at the Maybrook courthouse on Feb. 24.