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By Devin Rose
The judge presiding over the case of a former River Forest foster father who is now facing sexual assault charges said Monday she would sign an order asking for modifications to what his lawyer said were harassing visits from the Cook County Sheriff's Office.
Citing a log of visits since the end of November, Ellen Domph told Judge Noreen Love that her client, Robert Gaskill, has been visited by representatives from the sheriff's office at his apartment or at work during mostly reasonable hours. But between Jan. 9 and Jan. 13, Gaskill received at least 10 sheriff's visits, including several past 2 a.m.
"It has now gone into a level of harassment," Domph said.
Gaskill, 64, was arrested last February after two women told River Forest police that he sexually assaulted them when one was between 12 and 17 years old and the other between the ages of 6 and 9. He pleaded not guilty in March to charges of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child.
Gaskill and his wife, Mary, had operated a foster care service out of their Ashland Avenue home since 1992.
At the hearing Monday morning at the Maybrook courthouse, Gaskill stood silent next to Domph in a dark suit and an orange tie. A group of his family members and supporters sat in the first two rows of the courtroom.
Domph said the aggressive nature of the sheriff's visits have created an unreasonable situation for her client. She's concerned that sleep interruptions will affect his health, and that he might lose his job or apartment. She asked Love again to release Gaskill from electronic monitoring, which he has been on for 10 months.
Domph said Gaskill was face to face with one of his accusers during resolution of a separate matter in the case, which took place at an earlier date, and she said there was never an incident. Domph called it a trial, but Wednesday Journal learned from a source close to the case that no criminal trial has yet been held. The resolution Domph mentioned would have been a civil matter, the source said.
Assistant State's Attorney Michelle Papa argued Gaskill has been given many opportunities that others in his situation have not gotten. Love had previously lowered his bond from $50 million to $250,000 on the condition he stay on electronic monitoring. She has also modified the monitoring so that Gaskill could buzz visitors into his apartment, do laundry and attend doctor's appointments.
"It would be a mistake," Papa said, to take Gaskill off of electronic monitoring.
Love denied Domph's motion, saying she has made modifications on almost every one of his court dates.
"I am not going to continue to modify," Love said. Though she agreed to sign an order limiting the sheriff's visits, Love said she can't tell their office how to control its operation.
Domph also filed a motion for disciplinary records of officers involved in the case.
The case was continued to a status hearing on Feb. 22.