Man sentenced to prison for 2021 school bus attack on student from Camelot Center for Autism in Genoa

Matthew R. Enck, 34, pleaded guilty to attacking Montgomery boy, rendering him unconscious on bus ride home

DeKalb County Courthouse building in Sycamore, IL on Thursday, May 13, 2021.

SYCAMORE – A North Aurora man was sentenced to 6 years in prison this week after he pleaded guilty to a 2021 attack on a boy with autism during a school bus ride, according to court records.

Matthew R. Enck, 34, was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Marcy Buick on Tuesday to six years in the Illinois Department of Corrections after he pleaded guilty to attacking a 14-year-old June 29, 2021, rendering the student unconscious on a bus ride back home from Camelot Northwest Center for Autism in Genoa, according to court records. He pleaded guilty on March 4, according to DeKalb County court records.

At the time of the attack, Enck worked as a school bus aid. He initially was charged with four felony counts of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm through strangulation, strangulation, causing great bodily harm to a child with profound intellectual disabilities and causing bodily harm in a public way.

“I could not imagine the agony the parents of this child felt looking on while their child was completely unresponsive because of being absolutely smothered by the defendant. We entrust everyone that works within the school system everyday to protect our children and help them grow. The conduct of the defendant in this matter is beyond a failure to come anywhere close to that standard,” DeKalb County State’s Attorney Rick Amato said in a statement to Shaw Local News Network on Friday.

Enck was charged Aug. 21, 2021, and has been out of police custody since that day, after posting $2,500 on a $25,000 bond. He will need to serve at least 50% of his sentence and one year probation when released, according to the DeKalb County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Enck was represented by Yorkville-based defense attorney Kristopher Piereth, according to court records.

He faced up to 15 years in prison.

About 3 p.m. that day, the 14-year-old boy was in the rear back seat of the six-passenger school bus, according to court records. The boy was sitting in the seat with a five-point chest harness and wearing a seat belt.

According to interior bus video obtained by police and prosecutors, at about 3:03 p.m., the boy took off his left shoe and threw it at the bus driver, striking her right shoulder and seat area, police wrote in court records. The man identified as Enck in the video then immediately got up out of his own seat in response and went to the boy, squishing him with his body, according to a description of the video detailed in DeKalb County court records.

Enck pushed his own back against and leaned into the boy, and then placed his feet against the seat opposite the teen for what appeared to be additional leverage to brace himself, according to court records.

At that point, the boy can be heard stating, “I’m sorry,” twice with Enck pushed into him. Enck responded, “We are done with you, boy,” according to a summary of the video footage accounted in court records.

Enck remained pressed up against the boy for about eight minutes, according to court records, and when he stood up, the boy was unconscious. Enck placed his finger under the boy’s nose, allegedly checking for breathing, and then returned to his seat. At 3:14 p.m., the boy slumped toward the center aisle, and was held in place by his seatbelt and harness. Enck returned to where the boy was sitting and tried to push him upright “to no avail,” according to court records, and the boy remained slumped that way for about 33 minutes.

Enck was not able to awaken the boy, and when they arrived at the boy’s home in Montgomery, the boy’s parents came on board the bus and also were unable to wake up their son, according to court records, at which point 911 was called and CPR was started. When paramedics arrived, they took the boy to the emergency room at Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora, and he later was transferred to Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

The boy suffered bruising and abrasions to his neck, chest and upper torso because of “aggressive physical restraint,” according to court records.

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