Updated: 08/26/2014 5:48 PM
Created: 08/26/2014 11:32 AM WHEC.com
By: Berkeley Brean and Brett Davidsen
Outrage and questions still remain over a rape investigation. The suspect was released from prison just one day before police say he raped a teen in broad daylight.
We first reported the story about Michael Caruthers on Monday and many of our viewers still have questions. Caruthers is charged with first-degree rape. Police say he raped a teenager around 7:30 Saturday morning on Liberty Pole Way.
Many of you have asked why he was released when he was and how could something like this happen?
Michael Caruthers had been approved by the state Department of Corrections to stay at the Salvation Army’s emergency shelter on Liberty Pole Way. After spending two years behind bars for a robbery conviction, he was released from a prison in Watertown on Friday and he was to check in at the shelter by 5:30 p.m. the same day. But today, Salvation Army officials told us he never showed up.
Salvation Army Program Manager Lamonze Hunter said, “When they don't show up, what we typically do is the next business day, our staff here would call the Division of Parole to say this person never showed up."
But the next business day wasn't until Monday and by Saturday morning, Caruthers had already been arrested for a rape just down the street from the shelter. According to the criminal complaint, the 14-year-old victim was attacked in a semi-secluded area near an empty lot. Police say Caruthers raped the girl, holding her by the throat and threatening to kill her if she didn't comply.
Major Judy Hart of the Salvation Army of Monroe County said, “Our hearts go out to this little girl and her family. We are devastated by the news that this girl was violated in such a violent way."
So if the Salvation Army had not received Caruthers, who was responsible for making sure he got to where he was supposed to be? The Department of Corrections says upon his release in the morning, Caruthers had signed off on the terms of his parole and was driven to the bus station. He wasn't required to meet with his parole officer until Monday.
In the meantime, the Salvation Army says in light of this case, it is already discussing whether it needs to make any procedural changes in how it takes in inmates at the shelter.
Major Hart: “We will allow this to be an opportunity for us to go back and even see if there's areas we can tighten up even more.
Brett Davidsen: “Such as what?”
Major Hart: "Well, whether or not we need to report back to parole at five o'clock when someone doesn't show up."
Caruthers was twice denied parole because the Board felt his release would be incompatible with the welfare of society.
A question many of you have asked us on our Facebook page is why inmates in state prison can be released before they serve the maximum amount of time.
Today we went downtown where you find a cross section of people who live in our community. They either knew about the allegations against Michael Caruthers or we explained it to them.
Kayla Parina said, I’m disgusted. Especially in broad daylight.”
Joyce Washby said, “If he was in jail the first time, why did they let him out again?”
Caruthers was released from prison after serving two thirds of his five year sentence for robbery.
On our News10NBC Facebook page, Mike Segelin writes, “Department of Corrections and the state should be liable for this. They released him on parole. Michael Kenny says, “Throw away the key.” Sue King writes, “Keep them in jail, please protect us.”
But the law in New York rewards good behavior in prison. For every two days an inmate serves with good behavior, they get credit for a third day. That's why some inmates get release after serving two thirds.
We reached state Senator Patrick Gallivan by phone today. He is the chair of the Senate Corrections Committee. He said, “When someone is sentenced to a term in prison, the victim and the victim's family, they expect the person to serve the whole sentence.”
We asked Gallivan if he saw this as a failure of the system. He said, “I do. Clearly if he is offending within 24 hours of being released, he has not been rehabilitated.”
Senator Gallivan says his committee is going to look into what happened.
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