SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Kidnap victim Jaycee Dugard on Thursday sued the federal government and accused it of failing to monitor the felon who grabbed her off a Northern California street as a child and held her for 18 years.
Her captor, Phillip Garrido, was sentenced in June to 431 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to kidnapping and multiple counts of sexual assault, in a case that resulted from his arrest in 2009 and the stunning rescue of Dugard.
Garrido, who kidnapped Dugard in 1991 when she was 11, had previous federal convictions dating to 1977 for kidnapping and forcible rape in a case stemming from his abduction of a woman in the Tahoe area of Northern California whom he took to Reno, Nevada.
He was sentenced to 50 years in prison, but was released early on parole in 1988 after serving less than 11 years, Dugard’s attorneys state in their lawsuit.
Her attorney Dale Kinsella said in a statement that from December 1988 to March 1999 federal parole agents “failed on numerous occasions to properly monitor” Garrido.
“We believe that the years of abuse experienced by Ms. Dugard are a direct result of the U.S. Parole Commission’s colossal blunders in the supervision of Mr. Garrido,” Kinsella said.
A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The suit was filed in San Francisco in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
In particular, the lawsuit states that parole officers failed to follow up on accusations of sexual harassment made against Garrido in 1989 by a co-worker and other women at the nursing home where he was employed.
And Garrido tested positive for drugs multiple times during his first year-and-a-half under federal supervision, but that was not reported to the Parole Commission despite its “zero tolerance” for drug use by parolees, the lawsuit states.
The suit also says that parole officers, despite being required to conduct monthly personal check-ups with Garrido, failed to visit his home in 1990, 1992 and 1994.
Dugard was snatched from a street near her South Lake Tahoe home on June 10, 1991, as she walked to a school bus stop. After nearly two decades, she was discovered living with Phillip Garrido and his wife, Nancy, in 2009.
Garrido kept Dugard against her will, hiding her for much of that time in a squalid compound of tents and sheds behind his Northern California home, fathering two girls with her when she was still a teen.
Dugard’s family received a $20 million settlement in 2009 through a state victims’ compensation fund.
The California inspector general found the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation failed to properly supervise Garrido starting in 1999, when his parole case was handed over from federal officials to the state.
Dugard in her lawsuit seeks general damages in an amount to be determined according to evidence presented in court.
Nancy Garrido was sentenced earlier this year to 36 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to one count each of kidnapping and rape by force.
(Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Jerry Norton)
This story was corrected in the last paragraph to change the name to Nancy Garrido