Judge allowed Steubenville rape suspect, ex-guardians to travel

Former guardians of teen charged in Jefferson Co. rape case speak on 'Today' show

NEWS9 has confirmed that the out-of-town judge overseeing the Jefferson County teen rape case granted permission for one of the two defendants to travel with his former legal guardians to California between Dec. 30 through Jan. 5.

Although Greg and Jennifer Agresta, of Steubenville, are no longer the defendant's legal guardians, he is living in their home as he awaits trial next month.

Judge Thomas Lipps granted both teen defendants release from juvenile detention in October, but ordered both to remain under home confinement and electronic monitoring.

Lipps, a juvenile judge from Hamilton County, Ohio, is overseeing the case after Jefferson County Judge Sam Kerr stepped aside, citing a potential conflict.

The Agrestas' biological son had been invited to participate in an all-star athletic event in California, which is why a court official said they petitioned the judge to allow the trip.

According to a court official, Lipps granted permission for the Agrestas to take the teen defendant with them to California after a detailed itinerary of the trip was submitted to and approved by the court.

Walter Madison, the teen's defense attorney, told NEWS9 they made the request for the defendant to travel out of concern for the defendant's safety. Madison declined to comment further about the trip.

The Agrestas appeared on NBC's "Today" show Tuesday morning alongside Madison.

The live interview was conducted in NBC's studios in New York. The teen was not seen during the interview and it's unclear where he was at the time.

"I think everybody was surprised,'' Jennifer Agresta told anchor Matt Lauer. "It's out of character for (him). I think everybody was in shock.''

"I was very disappointed in the judgment that (was) allegedly exercised at that point in time,'' Greg Agresta told Lauer. "That's not the type of person that he is.''

The teen defendants, both members of the Steubenville High School football team, are charged with raping a 16-year-old girl on Aug. 11. Both are being tried as juveniles and both have pleaded not guilty.

The case has grabbed the attention of the country and sparked scrutiny, protests and accusations of corruption. 

The teen has been in their care since a probable cause hearing in October and the Agrestas said the details of the case are not something they've discussed. 

When Lauer asked them if others were involved in the case, they said they had no comment. 

Greg Agresta said the judicial system works and people should embrace the process.

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