Juvenile charged in South Elgin middle school beating

  • Henry Sembdner of South Elgin, a seventh-grader at Kenyon Woods Middle School, was beaten more than two weeks ago in school. His family is asking the district to hand over all records of the attack, and any psychological records of the other student who was involved.

    Henry Sembdner of South Elgin, a seventh-grader at Kenyon Woods Middle School, was beaten more than two weeks ago in school. His family is asking the district to hand over all records of the attack, and any psychological records of the other student who was involved. Courtesy of Scott Johnson

 
 
Updated 2/21/2017 3:13 PM

A juvenile charged in a Feb. 3 beating at a South Elgin middle school that left a 12-year-old in a coma made his initial court appearance Tuesday, where he was assigned a public defender and put on electronic home monitoring.

Henry Sembdner, a seventh-grader at Kenyon Woods Middle School, was placed in a medically-induced coma at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge with head and facial fractures before returning home Feb. 7.

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Kane County Judge Clint Hull explained in juvenile court the charges against the 14-year-old, who was accompanied by his parents.

Hull said the most severe charge of felony aggravated battery carried a top punishment of five years in an Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice facility. The defendant also faces two misdemeanor charges.

The boy was ordered to return home immediately after attending classes at a school other than Kenyon Woods.

"You have to stay inside of the house unless you get permission to leave," Hull said to the boy, who also is to have no contact with Sembdner while the case proceeds. "You have to go right to school and when school is over you have to come right back."

A social history report and an evaluation by the Kane County Diagnostic Center also were ordered. The boy and his parents left the courthouse as TV crews walked after them.

"Stay away if you know what's good for you," the boy's father said.

The boy is next due in court April 4.

Sembdner's story drew national attention under a hashtag of #HenryStrong on Twitter. Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo expressed his support for Sembdner and fundraisers have been held to help his family pay for medical bills.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Sembdner's family also has filed litigation asking that Elgin Area School District U-46 preserve and hand over all records of the attack and any psychological records of the other student who was involved.

The petition, filed Feb. 9 in Kane County Circuit Court, describes the attack in which the other student picked up Henry and "immobilized him in such a manner that he could not escape or otherwise attempt to defend himself."

The Sembdner family is seeking disclosure of electronically stored information, documents, records, memos, video, photos and items related to the attack and the attacker. The petition suggests the attack occurred in an area without security cameras.

The family or their attorney could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

The parties are due in court May 26.

• Daily Herald staff writer Madhu Krishnamurthy contributed to this story.

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