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Gymnastics coach charged in Illinois Prairie Path attack

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Matthew Grover appeared in bond court at the DuPage County Courthouse on Wednesday morning after being arrested for attacking a woman on the Illinois Prairie Path Monday afternoon. (WLS)

Matthew Grover appeared in bond court at the DuPage County Courthouse on Wednesday morning after being arrested for attacking a woman on the Illinois Prairie Path Monday afternoon.

Grover's bail was set at $200,000 by Judge Joseph T. Bugos with the condition that he has to stay off of the Illinois Prairie Path. Officials say he had not posted bail as of Wednesday afternoon.

The woman reported to police Monday that she was walking the Illinois Prairie Path in Unincorporated Wheaton when a man approached her from behind and tried to grab her. She fought him off and he fled.

In court, a representative for the state's attorney said that Grover is "an extreme risk to the community."

Grover was also a gymnastics coach at Bartlett Gymnastics.

There is shock and disbelief as some of the parents of children who attend Bartlett Gymnastics learned that Grover had been arrested for attacking a woman along the Illinois Prairie Path earlier this week.

"It was quite surprising and I didn't know he was from Bartlett at all," said Sylvia Young, a parent.

Grover, who lives in west suburban Winfield, has been charged with one felony count of unlawful restraint and one felony count of aggravated battery on a public way in connection with the attack which happened on Monday.

Police say he has also admitted to committing a similar attack in September of last year.

"There was one specific attack last fall that is under investigation. We're waiting results from the crime lab in that case," said DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin.

The facility where Grover worked for three years offers preschool, kindergarten and recreational tumbling and gymnastics classes as well as competitive boys and girls teams.

On Wednesday, the school's owners declined an on-camera interview, but posted a message to parents on social media, which read in part:

"We are shocked to find out about Matt Grover's arrest... he is no longer employed by Bartlett and is not allowed on the premises. Please be assured that safety is the number one priority at Bartlett."

And while some believe that, at least one parent, who asked not to be identified, said she stopped sending her son to the gymnastics school after she complained about Grover's behavior with the kids and they did nothing about it.

Police said they zeroed-in on Grover as a suspect early in their investigation. Not only because he matched the suspect description, but after his grandfather told investigators he believed Grover had used his 2006 blue Toyota minivan as his getaway car.

They said while being interviewed Grover confessed to the crime along with a similar assault last year.

Meanwhile, a relieved Nancy Harris now feels safe taking her afternoon walk.

I think everybody, all our Prairie Path friends here are really relieved," said Nancy Harris, a Prairie Path user.

Police say Grover could be linked to at least three other attacks along the Prairie Path.

He's due back in court next month.
Related Topics:
newswoman attackedWheatonDuPage County
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