An attorney for Robert Gaskill has asked a Cook County judge to give the ex-newspaper publisher and child welfare advocate accused of sexually molesting two girls for a longer electronic leash.
Gaskill was indicted in February on two felony counts of predatory sexual assault against a child after allegations surfaced that he'd abused two young girls in his care. He was released on lowered bond in March and has been on electronic monitoring ever since, residing in an undisclosed location where his attorney said he's at risk of triggering his electronic monitoring device when he greets visitors or uses the laundry room.
During a status hearing on Thursday, defense attorney Ellen Domph also asked Judge Noreen Love to allow Gaskill, 63, to attend his daughter's upcoming college graduation ceremony. Love agreed.
A one-time newspaper publisher, Gaskill was at the helm of Oak Leaves/Pioneer Press West Group and later served as the president and publisher of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s newspaper The Catholic New World. More recently, he’s worked as a part-time marketing director for the LYDIA Home Association, a child welfare agency.
The Gaskills also co-founded Tapestry Chicago, a foster care support service that helps guide potential foster parents through the adoption process.
In 2009, the Gaskills were named runners-up in Wednesday Journal’s Villagers of the Year awards for being “resources to the foster care system as parents, they've become go-to members of the community as coaches in foster care and adoption."
During an arraignment hearing in March, prosecutors laid out their charges, including allegations that Gaskill's drinking led to inappropriate kissing, touching and "digital penetration" of the girls, and that they were forced to indulge his biting fetish.
On Thursday, Gaskill appeared in court clean-shaven and dressed in khaki slacks, blue blazer and peach colored shirt, cutting a more distinguished figure than the haggard, unshorn inmate who appeared in previous court proceedings. And once again, his family and supporters turned out to the hearing in a show of solidarity.
But the hearing also brought a new crowd to the cramped courtroom — supporters of the alleged victims.
Gaskill's next court date is June 19.
A spokesman for the state's Department of Children and Family Services told Patch that of the five children originally removed from the Gaskill's River Forest home back in February, three adopted children have been placed back in the home and two foster children were placed elsewhere.
Earlier Patch Coverage: