Jaycee Dugard Sues U.S. for Her 18 Years of Captivity

| by

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jaycee Dugard has sued the United States for the 18 years she spent as a kidnap and rape victim of parolee Phillip Garrido, who has been sentenced to 431 years in prison. Dugard, who bore two of Garrido's children during her ordeal, says parole officers knew Garrido repeatedly violated terms of his parole, for years - drinking, taking drugs, and even contacting a previous rape victim - but gave him a pass, saying at one point that "electronic monitoring would be too much of a hassle."

Dugard was kidnapped in 1991, when she was 11 years old. Garrido then "drove her miles away to his mother's home in Antioch, California to become his private possession," according to the federal complaint. "There he sequestered Jaycee in ragged sheds and tentlike structures in his back yard-removed from any semblance of normalcy and functioning society-where he raped Jaycee hundreds of times and over the course of many years. It was also there that Jaycee's two daughters, each fathered by Garrido, were born and raised in the grotesque dysfunction that Garrido created and perpetuated."

Dugard's discovery in 2009 made world headlines. Garrido and his wife pleaded guilty to kidnapping and other charges, and were sentenced in June this year, Garrido to 431 years to life in prison, his wife, Nancy Garrido, to 36 years to life.

Dugard says Garrido should have been in prison on the day he kidnapped her. In 1977, he was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison for kidnapping and forcible rape. He was released on parole after serving 11 years, most of it in Leavenworth.

Once on the street, "Garrido immediately violated the conditions of his parole, which should have resulted in Garrido's parole being revoked and Garrido being returned to federal prison," according to the complaint.

Dugard says Garrido the parolee "tested positive multiple times for drugs and alcohol-including, without limitation, methamphetamines, amphetamines and marijuana, all serious parole violations for a sex offender. One such test showed that Garrido's blood alcohol level was 0.45 percent-a reading typically associated with unconsciousness and possible death. When confronted by his parole officer about his possible test results, Garrido admitted to using drugs and alcohol and also admitted to 'flushing' his system with excessive amounts of water at other times to avoid producing positive drug test results. Despite the U.S. Parole Commission's 'zero tolerance' policy regarding drug use for parolees and despite the violations of Garrido's special conditions of parole, Garrido's parole officers did not report Garrido's illegal drug use or alcohol use to the Parole Commission as required by law."

The 25-page complaint recites a litany of negligence from officers who should have been supervising Garrido. Dugard says Garrido violated his parole by testing positive for drugs and alcohol at least 30 times, visiting and threatening his previous rape victim, and sexually harassing a coworker.

"Garrido's federal parole officers, therapists and counselors described him at various times throughout his federal parole term as follows: 'a time bomb,' 'like a pot boiling with no outlet valve,' 'potentially very volatile,' 'potential for causing great physical harm is present,' 'problems with sexual overtones,' 'did not seem honest ... as if he was putting on an act,' 'possible danger to the community is high,' 'major problems are presented in this case,' 'there is always threat of repeat [kidnap/rape],' 'still seems dangerous to the public ... is liable to give little or no warning,' 'substantial risk to women,' 'is always a threat to women,' 'potential rapist.'" (Brackets in complaint.)

A particularly damning paragraph - No. 6 of 87 in the complaint - states: "Despite Garrido's well-known propensities, federal parole authorities ignored report after report of sexual misconduct by Garrido. For example, Garrido's parole officers were informed by his 1976 rape victim that shortly after being paroled, Garrido appeared at her workplace and made an alarming comment to her. Inexplicably, the federal parole authorities responsible for Garrido's direct supervision disregarded the victim's concerns as mere 'hysteria' even though Garrido's time cards indicated he was not at work during the hours he was alleged to have been seen by the victim. Upon learning of the victim's statement, Garrido's own counselor suggested that Garrido be placed on electronic monitoring. Garrido's parole officer, however, ignored this recommendation and concluded that 'to subject this individual to electronic monitoring would be too much of a hassle. ...'"

According to Dugard's complaint, the years of negligence continued. Despite being ordered to conduct monthly visits with Garrido, parole officers "went months at a time without seeing Garrido and even failed to make a single visit to Garrido's home during at least three of the 10 years he was under federal parole supervision-most notably, in 1990 (the year immediately prior to Jaycee's abduction), 1992 (the year immediately following Jaycee's abduction) and 1994 (the year Jaycee gave birth to her first daughter). Indeed, during the decade Garrido was under federal parole watch, the parole officers who supervised Garrido visited him at his residence less than a dozen times total."

Dugard adds: "Had federal parole authorities demonstrated a modicum of vigilance - indeed, had they simply performed their duties and obligations as required by federal law and internal policies-Jaycee and her daughters would not have been forced to endure a virtual lifetime of physical and mental abuse from a detonated 'time bomb.'"

All these allegations come from the first 5 pages of the complaint. The tale of Dugard's ordeal continues in the next 20 pages.

Dugard says she submitted a timely claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act, which was denied.

She sued the United States on her own behalf and for her daughters, for negligent supervision, negligent failure to consider all information in reaching parole decision, failure to conduct mental health examinations, negligence in treating Garrido's mental health problems, and negligent failure to provide information regarding Garrido to state authorities.

Lead counsel for the Dugards is Dale Kinsella, with Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert, of Santa Monica.