Michelle Knight speaks out about Ariel Castro: 'It wasn't his fault'

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Michelle Knight Speaks Out About Ariel Castro: 'It Wasn't His Fault'

CHARDON, Ohio (AP) -- One of the three women held captive in a Cleveland home for about a decade told a crowd she has been able to forgive her kidnapper and find peace in her life.

Knight, who was kidnapped in August 2002 when she was 21, said she realizes now that Ariel Castro had a disease, and therapy has taught her that what he did hadn't been his fault, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus broke out of the house in May 2013 after suffering years of torture. Knight said it wasn't until about a year and a half after her rescue from Castro's home that she reached a breakthrough.

"I was able to say his name, Ariel Castro," the 33-year-old Knight said. "I was able to forgive him."

Knight made the comments during an interview conducted by a radio host on Sunday at Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin High School in Chardon, Ohio.

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Michelle Knight speaks out about Ariel Castro: 'It wasn't his fault'
FILE - In this Friday, March 3, 2004 file photos Felix DeJesus holds a banner showing his daughter's photograph, standing by a memorial in his living room in Cleveland. On May 6, 2013, DeJesus and two other women escaped the home of Ariel Castro where they had been held captive. Castro, 53, serving a life sentence for the kidnapping and rape of the three women, was found hanging in his cell, Tuesday night, Sept. 3, 2013, at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
FILE - In this May 7, 2013 file photo, members of the FBI evidence response team carry out the front screen door from the Cleveland home of Ariel Castro, where three women escaped after 10 years of captivity. Castro, 53, serving a life sentence for the kidnapping and rape of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, was found hanging in his cell, Tuesday night, Sept. 3, 2013, at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
FILE - In this May 6, 2013 family handout photo, Amanda Berry, right, hugs her sister Beth Serrano after being reunited in a Cleveland hospital Monday. Ariel Castro, 53, serving a life sentence for the kidnapping and rape of Berry and two other women, was found hanging in his cell, Tuesday night, Sept. 3, 2013, at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio. (AP Photo/Family Handout courtesy WOIO-TV, File)
In this Aug. 1, 2013 file photo, Michelle Knight sits in the courtroom during a break in the sentencing phase for Ariel Castro, in Cleveland. Knight's escape along with Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus after being held by Castro for over 10 years, was voted the top story in Ohio for 2013. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
Michelle Knight gives a statement in the courtroom during the sentencing phase for Ariel Castro Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013, in Cleveland. Castro, convicted of holding three women captive in a house he turned into a prison and raping them repeatedly for a decade, was sentenced Thursday to life without parole plus 1,000 years. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Gina DeJesus, one of 3 women found alive after allegedly being kidnapped by Ariel Castro, Cleveland, Ohio, image from Hennes Paynter Communications video on texture, partial graphic
CLEVELAND, OHIO - MAY 10: Eldia Caraballo in her home with the photo montage made for the funeral of her sister Grimilda Figueroa who died last year.Figueroa was married to Ariel Castro and endured years of abuse from him according to several family members. Information is still surfacing regarding the decade-long saga of three kidnapped Cleveland women and their amazing rescue. Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 09: Deborah Knight, grandmother of Michelle Knight, is hugged by Nancy Johnson during a vigil on May 9, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. Ariel Castro was arraigned on rape and kidnapping charges for abducting Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus and holding them for about 10 years. No charges were filed against his brothers Onil or Pedro and they were released by the judge. Bail was set at $8 million for Ariel. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 08: The mother of kidnap victim Gina DeJesus, Nancy Ruiz, speaks to community members and the media on May 8, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight managed to escape their captors on May 6, 2013. Ariel Castro was charged with kidnap and rape. His brother Pedro and Onil Castro, were taken into custody but not charged. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Beth Berry Serrano, the sister of Amanda Berry, comes to give a statement after Berry arrived at her sister's home on May 8, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. Three brothers have been arrested in connection with the kidnapping of three women, including Amanda Berry. They were found safe in a home after being missing for a decade, authorities said. There were more questions than answers the day after the stunning turn of events that began with a frantic arm sticking out of a screen door, a woman screaming for help, and a neighbor kicking in the door to free her in a working-class neighborhood of the city in the American heartland. Ariel Castro and his brothers - Pedro, 54, and Onil, 50 have been detained, authorities said. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Wednesday, May 8, 2013 file photo, a missing poster still rests on a tree outside the home of Amanda Berry, in Cleveland. Ariel Castro, 53, serving a life sentence for the kidnapping and rape of Berry and two other women, was found hanging in his cell, Tuesday night, Sept. 3, 2013, at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 1: Michelle Knight leaves the courtroom after Ariel Castro was sentenced to life in prison without parole plus one thousand years for abducting three women on August 1, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. Knight, abducted by Castro in 2002, addressed the court during the sentencing, telling Castro, 'I spent 11 years in hell, now your hell is just beginning.' (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 1: Photographs of Michelle Knight showing her (L-R) before her abduction, the day after her escape and in a video released on July 9, 2013 are displayed during Ariel Castro's sentencing at the Cleveland Municipal Courthouse on August 1, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. Castro was sentenced to life without parole plus one thousand years for abducting three women between 2002 and 2004 when they were between 14 and 21 years old. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 1: Michelle Knight addresses the court during the trial of Ariel Castro on August 1, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. Castro was in court awating his sentence for abducting three women, including Knight, from 2002 and 2004 when they were between 14 and 21 years old. The women escaped this past May. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 1: Michelle Knight leaves the courtroom after Ariel Castro was sentenced to life in prison without parole plus one thousand years for abducting three women on August 1, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. Knight, abducted by Castro in 2002, addressed the court during the sentencing, telling Castro, 'I spent 11 years in hell, now your hell is just beginning.' (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 09: Balloons and presents sit outside the home of kidnap victim Amanda Berry on May 9, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. Ariel Castro was arraigned on rape and kidnapping charges for abducting Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight and holding them for about 10 years. No charges were filed against Ariel's brothers, Onil or Pedro and they were released by the judge. Bail was set at $8 million for Ariel. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
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Castro pleaded guilty to a long list of charges and committed suicide in prison in September 2013.

"I felt very appalled by it, but I understood," Knight said of Castro's prison suicide. "I don't condone what he did."

She received applause from the crowd when she said she hopes for the best for Castro's family.

"A lot of people who have contacted me through Facebook see me as an inspiration," said Knight, who has written a book about her ordeal called "Finding Me." "It means the world to me and it is an honor to help everybody I can."

Knight said her time in captivity has made her stronger and has allowed her to know herself better.

"The situation (Castro) put me in didn't define me," she said. "I choose to live a meaningful life."

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