STEUBENVILLE, Oh. - The former guardians of a teenager accused of raping a girl in Steubenville went on NBC's "Today" show Tuesday to defend the 16-year-old.
Prosecutors said the boy and his friend, teammates on the Steubenville High School football team, raped a girl at a party last August. Prosecutors said the teenage girl was unconscious during the attack and both
suspects are facing charges as juveniles.
Jennifer and Greg Agresta said this is not the boy they remember raising from age 8.
"That's not the type of person that he is. One thing that I will mention, Jennifer and I are very private individuals. It was very difficult for us to come to New York and speak about this situation," said Greg Agresta.
The Agresta's said the boy is quiet and laid back, and this was out of character.
"He was very surprised. We weren't with him when he found out, but I think everybody was surprised. It's out of character," Jennifer Agresta said.
The suspect's attorney, Walter Madison, said he doesn't think his client can get a fair trial in Steubenville after the case garnered national attention and protests.
"Witnesses are reluctant to participate for fear of being vilified and there is personal information placed on the Internet," Madison said.
Madison claims that what happened was consensual, and the
Agrestas said no matter what happens, they will stand by the teen.
"We love him regardless of what happened that evening. We want him to know that we support him," Jennifer Agresta said.
The Agrestas told "Today" they decided to speak out because "it was the right thing to do."