Updated: 08/28/2014 6:04 PM
Created: 08/28/2014 8:56 AM WHEC.com
By: Brett Davidsen
News10NBC continues to follow new developments in the case of a man accused of raping a 14-year-old girl downtown.
Police say 23-year-old Michael Caruthers attacked the girl Saturday morning on Liberty Pole Way just one day after being released from prison.
Today, Caruthers made a brief appearance in court. He was supposed to face a hearing but it was adjourned because a grand jury has now acted on the case, meaning an indictment is likely to come down in the coming days.
Family and friends of Michael Caruthers shielded themselves from our camera as they left court this morning, unwilling to publicly speak up on behalf of the 23-year-old who now stands accused of a vicious attack.
Police say Caruthers raped a 14-year-old girl in broad daylight downtown, threatening to kill her if she didn't comply.
Prosecutor Sara VanStrydonck, who works in the child abuse unit, says they are focused on getting justice for the victim. “I would say in this case, anytime you have an allegation of a violent rape during daylight hours and the victim is a child, 14 years old, it's obviously an incredibly serious situation and the allegations are incredibly serious."
Caruthers had just been released from prison a day before the rape, after serving two-thirds of a five year sentence for a robbery conviction. That a two-time convicted felon was walking the streets instead of behind bars has touched off public outcry.
Yesterday, District Attorney Sandra Doorley expressed her frustration with the state's sentencing guidelines. This time around, if convicted of the charges he currently faces, Caruthers could be sentenced to 25 years in prison.
We asked VanStrydonck how the victim is holding up. She says as well as can be expected. “I would say she's a survivor. Obviously she survived this and she continues to cope with what happened to her."
Police and prosecutors are still not shedding any more light on the circumstances leading up to the attack. They won't tell us where the girl was coming from or heading to or if the victim and Caruthers had had any prior contact.