The mother of kidnapped Missouri boy Shawn Hornbeck, who spent more than four years living with his captor, said it "infuriates" her that people are asking why the boy didn't try to escape.
"Shawn's the victim here," Pam Akers told "Good Morning America's" Robin Roberts. "Nobody has the right to judge why he did or didn't get away. And it's just not fair for people to even consider that.
"Shawn's had a lot of growing up to do," she added. "And unfortunately, it wasn't a nice growing up that he had to do. And for people to make that comment about him -- it just infuriates me."
When 11-year-old Shawn Hornbeck was snatched near his Missouri home, he was known as a spunky little boy who liked to ride his bike, play basketball, draw cartoons and spend time with his stepfather.
Now 15, Shawn has grown more than a foot, has a pierced lip and a shy smile.
Michael Devlin, the man accused of snatching Shawn in 2002, pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of kidnapping another boy, Ben Ownby, on Jan. 8.
Many questions remain about Shawn's four years with Devlin. He was able to ride his bike, use the phone and Internet and made some friends.
He never went to school, saying he was told to tell people he was home-schooled. Neighbors thought that Devlin and Shawn were father and son.
Glad Other Boy 'Held in There'
The Akers told Oprah Winfrey Thursday that they haven't asked Shawn questions about his ordeal, but when Winfrey asked if they thought he'd been sexually abused, they nodded and said, "Yes."
Hornbeck also told Winfrey off camera that he was "terrified" to try to contact his parents.
Prosecutors allege that Devlin terrorized Shawn with a handgun during the ordeal. Shawn's grandmother told the Associated Press that Devlin woke the boy every 45 minutes to try to control him.
Shawn told Winfrey that whenever he saw pictures of missing kids -- including himself -- on posters and TV, he started crying instantly.
"I could never watch news. I still can't to this day," he said.
He also told Winfrey that he was glad that Ownby, the 13-year-old boy Devlin is accused of kidnapping on Jan. 8, "held in there those couple of days."
"And I'm sorry for what he went through, because I told myself a long time ago I never want any other kid to go through what I went through, 'cause I know what it's like, but I'm thankful for him holding in there and I'm happy that he's back with his family," Shawn said.
Craig Akers told "Good Morning Amercia" that Shawn is beginning to slowly open up about the last four-and-a-half years.
"We're sure that when he's ready he'll tell us," Craig said. "It's hard to listen, but at the same time, it eases your mind because you're not guessing what happened anymore, you know what happened."
The Akers, who never gave up hope that their son would be found, are just overjoyed that he's back home.
"He's doing real good," Pam Akers said. "He's just so glad to be back with the family and be back to old friends and meeting new friends and meeting family he didn't know he had. It's just so overwhelming and he's just so excited, just like we are."