Monday, February 6, 2012

One-Time Religious Publisher, Foster Parent Charged With Sex Abuse Of Two Girls - Illinois

RIVER FOREST, Ill. (STMW) – A River Forest man who took in dozens of foster children since 1996 and volunteered with local youth groups was charged Friday with the sexual abuse of two girls.

Robert L. Gaskill, 63, of the 600 block of Ashland Ave., was ordered held Saturday in lieu of $50 million full cash bond by Judge Gregory P. Vasquez.

In bond court Saturday, prosecutors said Gaskill sexually abused two adolescent girls over a period from 1996 to 2009.

He is scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, at the Maybrook Courthouse in Maywood. Sources said the case is expected to go to a grand jury for possible formal indictment.

A River Forest detective assisted by members of the WEDGE task force arrested Gaskill at his home Thursday. On Friday the Cook County State’s Attorney approved two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault, which is a Class X felony.

Gaskill and his wife have operated a foster care service in their large three-story frame home on Ashland Avenue, and a foster care support system called Tapestry Chicago. He also served on the board of the River Forest Youth Soccer program and was a program coordinator in the late 1990s.

Gaskill currently works as the marketing director at Lydia Home in Chicago, a residential facility for abused children. He previously worked for Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in Chicago.

Gaskill is also a former publisher of the Oak Leaves/Pioneer Press West Group, where he worked for 16 years until the mid 1980s. Following that, he was the president and publisher of Chicago Catholic Publications, which publishes the Chicago Archdiocese’s official newspaper, the New World.

Gaskill was not currently an employee of the Catholic New World or New World Publications, Archdiocese of Chicago spokeswoman Susan Burritt said Saturday. She did not immediately have any information on when he had served as publisher for Chicago Catholic Publications.

In a 2009 interview with the Forest Leaves, Gaskill said he and his wife had “been opening their home to foster children for about 15 years.” Many of them had disabilities of some kind.

He said he had fostered “about 75 different children over that time.”

In 2009, the Gaskills had 12 children, four biological, six adopted and two in foster care.

“Long before we got married, while we were dating, we both agreed we wanted to have large families,” Rob Gaskill said in 2009. “We thought it would be fun to have a lot of children.”



  1. Greed was the primary reason this family took in and fostered and
    adopted special needs children. The state failed these children
    miserably by allowing as many as eight special needs children be fostered and apparently adopted to a couple that could not possibly meet the needs of just one of them, let alone eight.
    These parents were well known in the community and unfortunately
    some in the community dubbed them "Saints" and champions of
    special needs children.
    Many other's in the community knew they treated their biological
    children totally differently. It was obvious to these unfortunate
    children as well. These children were only welcomed into this
    home for the large amount of tax free money received from the
    state per special need child whether foster or adopted eventually as well. This state needs a major overhaul on placing so many
    special needs children in one home. It is hard to meet the needs
    of one, let alone eight. These children deserved better.
    Mr. Gaskll stated in the 2009 interview having lots of children would
    be fun, Sadly, the sexual abuse on two of the children for nearly
    ten years was not only financially beneficial; but disgustingly proved
    for Mr. Gaskill also an easy way to prey upon children that were
    ill equipped to reveal the suffering they endured for years as they
    were probably threatened and were manipulated by this sick man.
    Thankfully, their voices are being heard loud and clear and the
    man who has added even more baggage into their lives will
    face the punishment he deserves.
    I wonder how much "fun" Mr.Gaskill thinks having a big family is now
    that he and his wife added on top of their four biological children
    is by taking in the most vulnerable of the vulnerable into their
    home for monetary gains; and not for any shape or form for
    the children entrusted in he and his wife"s care is now that
    he is exposed for the dirt bag he really is
    The behavior speaks for itself. Do you think any of his biological
    children suffered and had their childhood innocence taken
    away for nearly 10 years and having to look him in the eye every day
    and still call him"Dad"?
    I guess the "fun" Mr. Gaskill thought he and his wife would have
    for parenting a lot of children was at the expense and very large price the children he abused will have on top of the other baggage
    they had to start out in life with and will need years of therapy
    because they were sadly placed in to the trust and care of parents
    who professed to be a voice for children of special needs and abuse
    and were deemed by the state case workers as well as social workers
    qualifying for the most important job in the world.....PARENTING
    FOSTER CHILDREN and even ADOPTING them no less.
    MR. Gaskill will probably claim he is innocent and blame the children of delusional thinking or even mental illness.
    The fact that he in sitting in jail where he belongs with a bond
    set on him for 50 million dollars speaks volumes on who the
    "Sick" person really is.
    I'm afraid the "fun" is only beginning for the man who professed
    to be a pillar of the community and his church.........
    right where he deserves to be ........and stay for a very long time....

    only needs that this couple met for these children were basic.
    A roof over there head, clothing and food.

  2. Will you attend court on Thursday? Please continue to report on this man.

  3. I would like to attend court on Thursday
    unfortunately I can not as my younger child
    needs her mom to drive her to school and I
    am voluntering to help in the lunchroom which
    I do every Thursday. I think the state and the states attorneys office needs to get professional children psychologists and talk
    to each child that was removed from the home
    after the arrest as children will speak when the veil of fear is removed and often can
    give details about their daily lives that
    they could not express even at school for fear of perhaps punishment and scolding
    by thier foster/adopted parents.
    I hope the newspapers do a report on how these poor children fell through the cracks and take the heat and responsibility for
    placing these children with these people
    in the first place. Everyone that has a special needs child knows how hard it is to make sure their every need is being met and
    that without the love and support they give
    their children the chances of them overcoming even the smallest disability
    without their total dedication and invovement
    would likely be non excistent and the child would
    not know how far they can spread their wings and fly. In this case with eight and 4 biological at one time these poor chidren
    unfortunely could not spread their wings.
    Their wings were clipped when the state allowed this to happen to the most vulnerable of the vulnerable.
    To add insult to injury, two of these children will now have more hardship and
    psychological damage that they will need thearpy and even will have to carry this
    burden the rest of their lives.
    We can only hope justice will be served
    and this despicable predeator spend the rest
    of his life in jail.

    Also, I hope the children removed from the home never return and get a new start and be surrounded by the
    love they should have had to begin with.
    It will not be easy for them but with professionals helping them and parents that can give them the love and home they deserve
    they will hopefully someday look back at this
    time in their lives as a second chance to
    be loved and valued in a real family.
    God help us if these children don't get another chance to live the life they deserve.


    If they are going straight to indictment -- that is because he confessed and there is no need for a trial, right?

  5. According to press realise this afternoon
    he will face a grand jury inditement on two counts of predatory criminal assault against a child. Bond was lowered to 25 million. He
    is still being held at Cook County Jail and
    is to return to court on Feb.24th. His attorney asked for hospitalization for high blood-pressure and Pros.cancer? Judge denied.

  6. This is a sad situation for everyone involved; especially the children both biological , foster and adopted alike.
    Prayers and support will be needed to help this family get through
    this difficult time. Whether accusations are true or not; the family
    is all affected and hopefully they all have a support system that
    can hold them up and see them through where ever this case goes
    and for the duration of their lives whether guilt or innocence is proved in court. Everyone should pray for this family and friends as
    God only knows the truth and with his help justice for the victims
    will prevail. THe victims voices need to be heard and investigated
    to reveal the truths or untruths of this situation.
    Regardless, no one in this family including the victims and the
    family at large should have to suffer speculation as that is for the legal system. All involved need support and prayers and
    let the courts determine whether this family should of had so many
    children with special needs be placed in one home.
    THe system needs to take responsibility and be held accountable for
    letting the children slip through the cracks if that is what happened here.

  7. update artcles;