A teen who was exonerated in connection with a Massachusetts classmate's bullying-related suicide says he's grateful to her family for asking prosecutors to drop the charge against him.

Austin Renaud expressed condolences to 15-year-old Phoebe Prince's family Thursday and called the case "a very difficult and emotional experience for all involved."

The South Hadley High freshman hanged herself last year after incessant bullying. Five former classmates accepted plea deals last week in their criminal cases.

Renaud was charged with statutory rape for allegedly having sexual contact with Phoebe, an accusation he denied. Prosecutors dropped the charge last week, citing what they called "the interests of justice."

Renaud said he will resume his high school education and hopes the public and media will respect his desire for privacy.