Teen gets probation in Kenyon Woods school attack that put boy in coma

  • Henry R. Sembdner will begin eighth grade in the fall but the extent of his long-term injuries is not known, a family attorney said.

    Henry R. Sembdner will begin eighth grade in the fall but the extent of his long-term injuries is not known, a family attorney said.

Updated 7/18/2017 11:48 AM

A Kane County teen was sentenced to a year of probation, counseling and community service Tuesday after admitting to slamming a former seventh-grade classmate to the ground earlier this year, fracturing bones in his face and putting him in a coma.

The juvenile, who has since been sent to a school other than Kenyon Woods Middle School in South Elgin, must complete 100 hours of community service, write an apology letter and have no contact with the victim, Henry R. Sembdner.


"Everybody's worked to try to give you an opportunity. Now it's important to go take (advantage of) that," Kane County Judge Clint Hull told the boy. "You have taken a lot of steps in the right direction."

The juvenile pleaded guilty to aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, a felony with a top punishment of five years in the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice.

Prosecutors said the attack Feb. 3 at the middle school resulted in Henry, 13, being picked up by the waist and slammed to the ground, resulting in four facial fractures, a bloody nose and broken tooth. Sembdner spent several days in a coma.

"The attack on Henry has and will cause unimaginable pain," his parents wrote in a victim impact letter that was read in court, expressing doubt their son's attacker would complete probation. "Our child was almost murdered in his own school. ... We hope that (Henry's attacker) proves us wrong and no child is placed in harm's way."

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Henry's parents declined to comment afterward, but their family attorney, Lance Northcutt, said Henry's recovery is progressing and he will enter eighth grade when classes resume next month. The injuries prevented Henry from playing sports and doctors are unsure if there would be long-term effects from the attack, Northcutt said.

Northcutt said Henry and his family are grateful for community support, especially from the Chicago Cubs.

"Baseball is his passion and the wonderful outreach from Anthony Rizzo and the entire Cubs organization has only increased his love for the sport," Northcutt said.

The family is considering a lawsuit against the school and Elgin Area School District U-46 and will decide in coming months, Northcutt said.

The juvenile's parents declined to comment.

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