Story Highlights• Oprah Winfrey says boy told her he was "terrified" to leave alleged abductor
• Shawn Hornbeck's parents tell Winfrey they believe he was sexually assaulted
• Shawn says he was the one who posted as "Shawn Devlin" on parents' Web site
• Shawn says he's "thankful" to other kidnap victim for "holding in there" with him
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CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) -- The parents of the 15-year-old boy who was found last week in the apartment of his alleged abductor believe their son was sexually assaulted by his apparent captor, they told Oprah Winfrey in a show that aired Thursday.
When the talk-show host asked Pam and Craig Akers if they believed that their son, Shawn Hornbeck, was sexually assaulted by Michael J. Devlin, Craig Akers answered, "Yes."
During that portion of the interview, Shawn, who was 11 when he was abducted in 2002, was not in the room.
Devlin was arraigned Thursday on a felony kidnapping charge in the abduction of Ben Ownby, 13, who was found Friday with Shawn in Devlin's apartment in a St. Louis, Missouri, suburb. Devlin pleaded not guilty. (Watch what Devlin told police )
He also faces charges in a neighboring county of kidnapping and using a deadly weapon in Shawn's abduction. That arraignment date has not yet been set.
He has not been charged with sexual assault. The investigation is ongoing. (Watch Devlin enter his plea by video link )
At a news conference after the arraignment, Franklin County prosecutor Robert Parks said Devlin confessed to kidnapping Ben. (Full story)
Winfrey said that off-camera she asked Shawn why he never tried to contact his parents since he did apparently have access to the Internet and telephone.
"He told me he did not because he was terrified to do so," she told her audience.
When he joined his parents to talk to Winfrey on-camera, Shawn said that he was the one who posted messages in December 2005 to the Web site his parents had set up to keep his story alive.
"How long are you planing [sic] to look for your son?" said the posting on www.shawnhornbeck.com. The author identified himself as Shawn Devlin.
Later that day the same person apparently posted a new message apologizing for the previous one and asking if it would be OK to write a poem for the family.
Shawn said that by posting those messages, he hoped to give his parents "some kind of clue" that he was alive.
Shawn told Winfrey he knew his parents would be clinging to hope for his return, and that kept him going.
"There was a time when I was thinking about giving up, but then I just thought of what they [were] doing and searching for me and looking for me. And then I knew they [weren't] giving up, so I figured I shouldn't," he said, according to the talk-show host's Web site.
Ben Ownby was abducted January 8. The two boys were discovered four days later in Devlin's Kirkwood, Missouri, apartment after officers questioning Devlin about his truck -- which matched the description of a vehicle seen on Ben's street when he was abducted -- became suspicious about his demeanor.
Shawn and his parents told Winfrey that as much as they regretted the kidnapping of the other boy, Shawn might never have been reunited with his family if Ben hadn't been abducted.
"[I feel] thankful that he held in there for 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," Shawn said, according to the Winfrey site. "But I am thankful for him for holding in there, and I'm happy that he's back with his family."
Asked if he thought he would ever have a normal life again, Shawn said, "At some point, yes. We're hoping soon though."