CHICAGO -- A northern Illinois man who helped put a noose around the neck of an African American teenager has been sentenced to probation and ordered to write an essay on the history of lynching in the United States.

A Cook County judge also ordered 19-year-old Matthew Herrmann of Alsip to read his paper to the victim of the attack and other community members at an event known as a "peace circle."

The Chicago Sun-Times reports (http://bit.ly/WiaKLn) that Herrmann was initially charged with felony counts of committing a hate crime, unlawful restraint and battery. But under a deal with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery.

Prosecutors say Herrmann and two other white accomplices attacked 17-year-old Joshua Merritt in 2011, putting the noose around his neck and threatening him with a knife.

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Information from: Chicago Sun-Times, http://www.suntimes.com/index