Jaycee Dugard filed a lawsuit against the federal government Thursday.
Dugard is seeking unspecified damages, which she says she will donate to her nonprofit organization to help other victims.
The complaint, filed in San Francisco, alleges that the federal government's negligence allowed Phillip Garrido to be freed from jail and enabled him to kidnap and rape her in 1991. It claims federal authorities were aware Garrido was dangerous yet failed to revoke his parole and send him back to prison.
Dugard, and the two daughters fathered by Garrido during her captivity, have received a $20 million settlement from the state of California for the failings of its law enforcement, but the Associated Press points out California only took over Garrido's parole supervision in 1999.
Garrido was convicted in 1977 of raping and kidnapping a woman. He was on parole when he kidnapped Dugard, who was 11 years old at the time. He and his wife Nancy Garrido kept her in their Antioch, Calif. backyard for 18 years.
Some of the allegations the suit points out:
- Garrido tested positive for drugs and alcohol while on parole, a violation for a sex offender, but was never punished
- Authorities ignored reports of sexual misconduct, including a complaint that Garrido showed up at his former victim's work and made an "alarming" comment to her
- Federal parole officers did not follow up on a sexual harassment complaint by one of Garrido's co-workers
- Authorities went several months without checking on him and visited his residence less than a dozen times in the 10 years they supervised him
The complaint said the mistakes by federal parole officers were as "outrageous and inexcusable as they are numerous."
"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," the complaint reads, "Jaycee and her daughters would not have been forced to endure a virtual lifetime of physical and mental abuse from a detonated time bomb."
Dugard's attorney Dale Kinsella made the following points about the filing:
- Jaycee Dugard is not seeking money for herself. Instead, 100 percent of whatever money she recovers will be donated to The JAYC Foundation, Inc. This 501(c)(3) was established to provide support and services for the timely treatment of families recovering from abduction and the aftermath of traumatic experiences. The foundation uses amongst other resources, animal assisted therapy and has indeed already provided its first reunification therapeutic services for a mother and her daughter, who was recently returned home after having been abducted.
- Ms. Dugard was kidnapped in 1991. The federal government had parole supervision responsibility over Mr. Garrido from the day he was released in 1988 and remained responsible on the day she was kidnapped in 1991 through 1999 at which point the State assumed that responsibility. The State of California did not have parole supervision of Phillip Garrido, her abductor, until 1999. It was the State's negligence in the ensuing 10 years that was actionable and gave rise to Ms. Dugard's claim for damages and the resulting settlement. Thus, the two governmental entities committed separate, distinct and consecutive acts of negligence.
- Regarding the settlement with the State -- please understand that Jaycee Dugard did not receive the full settlement of $20 million. Rather, her two children received a substantial portion of that amount as they were also plaintiffs and there were legal fees and expenses as are customary when such legal efforts are commenced.
- Jaycee Dugard is not seeking a specific sum for the damages described in the complaint, but rather will trust the Judge to decide the damages after all the evidence is presented. It goes without saying that what Jaycee went through in any one week of her 18-year captivity is more horrifying than most people will experience in their lifetime.
Charles Miller, a spokesman at the U.S. Department of Justice, told the AP that government attorneys will review the complaint once they are served, and "make a determination about how we will ultimately respond in court."
Phillip Garrido was sentenced to 431 years to life in prison. His wife Nancy was sentenced to 36 years to life.