Foster parent, former religious publisher charged with abusing two girls

A River Forest man who took in dozens of foster children and formerly headed Chicago Catholic Publications was ordered held in lieu of a $50 million cash bond Saturday for allegedly sexually assaulting two girls.

Robert L. Gaskill, 63, molested the minors over a period between 1996 to 2009, according to Cook County prosecutors.

Gaskill, who was arrested at his home Thursday, has operated a foster care service with his wife in their three-story frame home, as well as a foster care support system called Tapestry Chicago, officials said.

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.

In a 2009 interview with the Pioneer Press’ Forest Leaves publication, 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.”

As of three years ago, 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 the news story.

“We thought it would be fun to have a lot of children.”