Gaskill pleads not guilty in River Forest child abuse case

Bond reduced to $250,000 from $50M

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By Devin Rose

Staff Reporter

The bond amount for a River Forest man accused of sexual assault of children in his care was reduced from $50 million to $250,000 on Friday, on the condition that he be electronically monitored and have no contact with minors.

Rob Gaskill, 63, will be out on bond if 10 percent of that amount gets paid. As of Tuesday morning, his inmate page on the Cook County Department of Corrections website read "bond in process." A spokeswoman at the county sheriff's press office said the bond was likely in the process of getting paid.

On Friday, he pleaded not guilty in front of Judge Noreen Love at the Maybrook courthouse to charges of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child. If he's bonded out, Love said he'd be allowed to attend church and see his doctor. His lawyer, Ellen Domph, said an apartment would be available for him or he could live with his son in Chicago.

Love said she thought Gaskill's original bail amount — $25 million for each of the two counts — was "certainly excessive, there's no doubt about that."

In January, two women, now 19 and 21, told River Forest police that Gaskill sexually assaulted them between 1996 and 2009.

Domph argued that her client is a highly-respected member of the community where he has lived and worked for four decades. She's received multiple letters from community members expressing their support, and noted that the courtroom was filled with relatives and friends. Gaskill and his wife, Mary, have gone on to adopt several of the children they've cared for as part of their in-home foster care service, Domph said. She told the judge about a few of them with special needs.

"I don't believe he poses a danger to the community," Domph said.

One of the women told police the assaults occurred when she was between 12 and 17, Domph said. If she was at least 13, Domph said a state statute calling for a sentence of life imprisonment does not apply should he be convicted. According to one section of the statute, a person convicted of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child committed against two or more people faces a life sentence.

The other woman told police the assaults started when she was six or seven and continued until she was eight or nine, said Assistant State's Attorney Michelle Papa, adding that both women told police Gaskill kissed them on the mouth with his tongue, penetrated them with his fingers and made them touch his penis. He confessed to police within an hour of being taken into custody that he would kiss and touch the girls after he had been drinking, Papa said. He would also tell the girls to bite him.

According to Domph, one of the women said she saw a younger foster child walk out of a room in the Gaskill home more than a year ago, which made her suspicious that the girl was also being abused. The girl told police that nothing happened, Domph said.

Love set a status hearing for April 26.

Reader Comments

10 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

Mares  

Posted: July 23rd, 2012 8:11 PM

Please come out in support of the girls on August 29th at the Maybrook courthouse.

grace from river forester  

Posted: July 23rd, 2012 6:33 PM

i know these girls, and they wouldnt lie about something this extreme. especially because they are all religious

Oak Parker  

Posted: June 1st, 2012 8:08 AM

I agree some of this article is left to your imagination and not making things clear- check out the Oak Leaves article. it is much more clear- link below http://oakpark.suntimes.com/news/11341487-418/accused-foster-parent-free-after-bond-lowered.html

I believe these girls from rf  

Posted: March 21st, 2012 10:37 PM

go here for further discussion: http://reformtalk.blogspot.com/2012/02/how-could-you-hall-of-shame-robert.html

parent  

Posted: March 20th, 2012 10:18 AM

I am disturbed by the attorney's arguement that, as a well respected member of society who has done some good things, he is not a danger to the community. If there is no reason to think he is a danger, why was he arrects in the first place? In situations like this the high status of the perp is part of what causes damage to the victim(s) and makes it so hard to come forward. My concern is for the victims, Gaskill does not deserve the community's support.

Unsure from Oak Park  

Posted: March 20th, 2012 8:22 AM

I wish WJ would be more careful when they report stories like this. I don't understand: the assistant state's attorney said that he confessed he would touch them after he had been drinking. Um, isn't that a big deal. What do his lawyers say? *Did* he confess to this? The writer of this article just drops in that line w/out elaborating. WJ reporters often rely on innuendo. Not saying this guy is innocent. But if "he confessed" to something, please clarify.

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: March 18th, 2012 6:47 PM

The reality is people like this are not "men of God". They simply use religion as a shield for their perversions/mental problems. They're truly not religious people, even those in the priesthood and clergy who have committed acts such as these throughout history. These are heinous acts that need to be dealt with severly.

mgic  

Posted: March 18th, 2012 11:42 AM

Although I don't know how a "man of God" could commit such deplorable acts. The only thing I will say is this man showed his love for the Lord when CONFESSED his sins and admitted his guilt. If he truly loves the Lord he will plead guilty and accept his sentence.

Truth  

Posted: March 17th, 2012 10:17 AM

Choose to remain anonymous here, but as a former teacher of those girls, this sickens me. I know the character of both of them and if they are lying, I would be shocked. They had rough lives to begin with and then they had to deal with this. Too bad the bond was lowered so much. And I HATE it when people stand behind religion. What, you are faithful so you can't molest children? Look at Sandusky...sometimes the most religious do the most abhorrent crimes.

Justice  

Posted: March 16th, 2012 10:00 PM

Awful! Just Awful.

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