Guilty plea, probation likely in South Elgin school attack that put boy in coma

  • A proposed plea deal would give probation and other penalties to the student who threw to the ground seventh-grader Henry Sembdner, putting him in a coma for days.

    A proposed plea deal would give probation and other penalties to the student who threw to the ground seventh-grader Henry Sembdner, putting him in a coma for days. Daily Herald file photo

 
 
Updated 6/13/2017 5:36 PM

A teen is expected to plead guilty to a February attack that left a South Elgin middle school student in a coma.

A plea agreement calls for probation, 100 hours of community service and an apology letter to be written by the juvenile, both sides agreed in court Tuesday. But Kane County Judge Clint Hull wanted to ensure Henry Sembdner's family was informed of the impending plea deal and continued the case to July 18.

 

Henry, then a seventh-grade student at Kenyon Woods Middle School, was hospitalized and in a coma for several days after he was slammed to the ground by a classmate. His case and recovery drew widespread community support, and Chicago Cubs star Anthony Rizzo also tweeted his support for boy's recovery.

The juvenile, who was sent to another school, was charged weeks later with aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, a felony that carries a top punishment of up to five years in a juvenile facility.

But under the plea discussed Tuesday, he would be sentenced to a year of probation, pay $400 in court fines and costs, complete community service, be subject to random drug tests, attend anger management counseling, and have no contact with Henry after writing the apology letter.

Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Kelley Flinn said the Sembdner family had not filled out the form that requires prosecutors to inform the family of upcoming court dates and actions. The family also has not submitted a request for restitution in the case.

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"I told them I tendered a (plea agreement) offer and they seemed to be OK with that," Flinn told Hull.

Efforts to reach the Sembdners were not immediately successful. The family also has sued Elgin Area School District U-46 officials to hand over all records of the attack and any psychological records of Henry's attacker.

According to the suit, the classmate picked up Henry and "immobilized him in such a manner that he could not escape or otherwise attempt to defend himself." He was thrown to the ground headfirst and struck in the face and head by his attacker, the suit claims.

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