Jaycee Dugard Suing Federal Government

On June 10, 1991, Phillip Garrido and his wife kidnapped 11-year old Jaycee Dugard while she was waiting for the bus to go to school. He held Dugard captive, raped her and impregnated her, resulting in two daughters. Dugard and her children were prisoners in Garrido’s Antioch, California backyard, approximately three hours away from her home and family. Due to the keen eye and instinct of a UC Berkeley female police officer and staff member, Garrido’s crime was finally revealed in 2009; after 18 years, Dugard finally returned home.

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For the entire time Jaycee Dugard was held prisoner, Philip Garrido was on parole. In 1976, he had abducted a woman from the same area as Dugard (South Lake Tahoe, CA) and raped her multiple times. After being caught and found guilty, he was given a 50-year federal sentence and a five-year to life sentence in Nevada, but he only served a total of 11 years. From when Garrido was released in 1988 up until 1999, probation officers under federal jurisdiction were appointed the role to keep tabs on the sex offender; California’s parole system took over until his arrest in 2009.

Last year, Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger authorized paying Dugard and her daughters a $20 million settlement as compensation. This past Thursday, Dugard filed a lawsuit against the federal government, after attempting to arrange mediation meetings, for their alleged errors in monitoring Garrido before, during and after she was kidnapped.

The lawsuit outlines that during the ten years federal parole officers were responsible for monitoring the kidnapper, they only made twelve visits; for three of these years not a single visit was made. They did not find Dugard in the backyard, nor did they follow up on sexual misconduct complaints made during that period. Dugard lawsuit’s report also questions federal authorities why Garrido was released from prison in the first place.

Under the supervision of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Garrido was only monitored 10 percent of the time. Parole agents allegedly failed to see utility wires set up to the backyard, satellite tracking data showing Garrido spending a lot of time in the backyard and even the sightings of a young girls on the premises, as red flags.

In her federal lawsuit, Dugard did not specify a monetary amount for compensation. If she is granted damages, she plans to donate all funds to the JAYC Foundation, a recovery organization she founded for victims of abductions and/or their families.