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EASTLAKE, Ohio — The family of a man charged with assaulting a teenager, who he caught allegedly molesting a five-year-old boy, has now hired an attorney. Meanwhile, support for Richard Adams continues to pour in from across the country.

“He did what was necessary to stop, you know, a sickening, a repulsive sexual attack on a five-year-old he witnessed,” said defense attorney Richard Perez.

Monday, the family of 20-year-old Adams hired Perez to represent him on a charge of felonious assault.

“Richard is a great young man. He has the right motivation and the right goals and the right character,” said Perez.

Eastlake police arrested Adams last Thursday. Adams says he walked in on a 17-year-old boy sexually assaulting a child in the living room of his Eastlake home. Richard, or Rick as his family and friends call him, says he was abused as a child, and what he saw sent him into a rage.

“I just shoved him off him and started beating him up and pushed him into the TV and started swinging at him in his eyebrow, and pushed him into the door and started swinging at him more,” Adams told FOX 8.

The 17-year-old, who was covered in blood, was charged with two counts of rape and two counts of gross sexual imposition. Eastlake’s police chief says the officers had to charge Rick too, and let the legal system determine his fate.

“The officers came in at the aftermath of a felonious assault. The injuries that were caused rose to that level and we wanted to, we don’t get to pick and choose what we agree, disagree; I mean, we take the facts as they are presented,” said Eastlake Police Chief Larry Reik.

Eastlake police have been flooded with angry calls, emails and social media posts from across the country. Rick’s uncle created an online petition, demanding the charge be dropped and a GoFundMe page to help with legal bills.

As of Monday evening, more than 11,000 people had signed the petition and more than $35,000 had been pledged.

“I think the conduct was definitely excusable on behalf of Richard and I think that what he experienced and what the child experienced were so traumatic that I think his reaction was typical of most people’s reaction,” said Perez.

Adams, who is out on a personal bond, is scheduled to make his first court appearance on April 2.

The 17-year-old is currently being held in the Lake County Juvenile Detention Center. He is scheduled to appear in court this Thursday.

**Continuing coverage**