Judge says Gaskill won't be present at final deposition

Asst. state's attorney asks for modification so the two plaintiffs don't feel intimidated

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By Devin Rose

Staff Reporter

The judge presiding over the case of a River Forest man accused of sexual assault decided he would not be allowed in the room during the final deposition of his case because of the possibility that it might intimidate the victims.

Assistant State's Attorney Michelle Papa asked Judge Noreen Love for the modification at a status hearing for Robert Gaskill, 64, Monday morning at the Maybrook Courthouse. Papa said victims should not be in close proximity to a defendant.

Gaskill was arrested in February after two women told River Forest police that he sexually assaulted them when they were children. He and his wife, Mary, had operated a foster care service out of their Ashland Avenue home since 1992.

Gaskill's attorney, Ellen Domph, argued that he's been present at four of five depositions with victims so far, where he's sat quietly to the side in a conference room. She said her client is a quiet person and she didn't file a motion ordering no contact because there had not been any. Domph said it's been a "very professional proceeding" and "pretty smooth sailing."

But Papa said the deposition room is small and one of the victims was sobbing at the table. She mentioned the Crime Victims' Rights Act, which gives a victim the right to be reasonably protected from the accused.

Love said that knowing the defendant is present can be just as intimidating as if the two could see each other.

"He should not be in a location where he can be seen by the complainant," Love said.

The case was continued to a status hearing on Dec. 19.

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