A former local newspaper executive and Catholic news publisher who leads a River Forest foster care agency remained jailed Sunday after he was charged with sexually molesting two children, authorities said.
Robert Gaskill, 63, was arrested at his River Forest home on Thursday, according to a police news release. Charged with two counts of predatory sexual assault of a child, each a Class X felony, he was ordered held in Cook County jail in lieu of a $50 million cash bond.
Prosecutors allege Gaskill, known in River Forest for his volunteer work with community youth groups, sexually abused two young girls from 1996 to 2009. The charges indicate the victims were 13 years old or younger during the alleged abuse.
According to Oak Leaves, Gaskill and his wife operate a foster care service from their Ashland Avenue home in River Forest. Gaskill is listed as a co-founder of a group called Tapestry Chicago, a foster care agency offering free help to families going through the adoption process.
According to a Nov. 2009 blog post on the Tapestry Chicago website, the group at that time said “more than 75 foster children share our family.” Gaskill told Forest Leaves in a 2009 interview that many of the foster kids they had taken in were disabled.
Gaskill was the former publisher of the Oak Leaves/Pioneer Press West Group until the mid 1980s, according to Sun-Times Media. After that, he was the "president and publisher of Chicago Catholic Publications."
On its website, Chicago Catholic Publications, the publisher of the Archdiocese of Chicago's official newspaper The Catholic New World, lists as its mission to "act as an instrument of evangelization by providing current information and guidance in matters of faith, morals and spiritual life."
Citing an ongoing investigation, police on Sunday declined to comment or elaborate on the charges. Gaskill is scheduled to appear at the Maybrook courthouse Feb. 9.