Teen Gets Probation, Essay Assignment in Hate Crime Attack

Matthew Herrmann, two other teens charged in December 2011 attack

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Matthew Herrmann

    A teen who pleaded guilty to a hate crime was ordered Wednesday to write an essay as part of his probation.

    Matthew Herrmann, who turns 20 Thursday, was originally charged as an adult with a hate crime, unlawful restraint and misdemeanor battery.

    Herrmann and two other teens were accused of putting a noose around the African American victim’s neck, threatening him with a knife and calling him racially charged names. The victim was eventually able to escape the December 2011 attack.

    The victim's father said the attackers were unhappy with a relationship his son had with one of the attackers’ female cousins.

    Herrmann last year pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of battery. He was sentenced to two years of probation Wednesday by Criminal Court Judge James Linn.

    The deal includes Herrmann participating in a “peacemaking circle” with the victim, family , clergy and school counselors, an approach typically used in juvenile cases to provide healing for the victim and resolve underlying issues, according to the Chicago Tribune.

    Herrmann is also required to write an essay on the lynching of blacks in America.

    The other attackers, ages 16 and 17, were charged as juveniles. The 17 year-old-boy pleaded guilty to battery and was also sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to take part in a peacemaking circle.

    Charges against the third teen were being handled by Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office because his mother works for the state’s attorney’s office. He is scheduled to plead guilty next week, according to the Chicago Tribune.