State Admits Another Missed Chance to Rescue Jaycee

Agents spoke to Dugard and daughters during their captivity

By Don Thompson
|  Thursday, Jul 8, 2010  |  Updated 7:18 AM PDT
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A Glimpse Into the Jaycee Lee Dugard Mystery

AP

Dugard, now 30, said parole agents spoke with her during her captivity, and with the older of the two daughters she bore to Phillip Garrido.

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California parole agents spoke to the woman who was held captive by a convicted rapist for 18 years and bore his two children but never bothered to follow up, according to a report obtained by The Associated Press.

The revelation, yet another embarrassment for the state corrections department in the case, details how parole agents missed another opportunity to rescue Jaycee Dugard. It was contained in documents obtained Wednesday under the California Public Records Act.

Read the Dugard Mediation Report

The report, prepared by the attorney general's office, was sent to lawmakers in advance of their vote last week to settle with the Dugard family for $20 million.

Dugard, now 30, said parole agents spoke with her during her captivity, and with the older of the two daughters she bore to Phillip Garrido. Garrido has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and raping Dugard, who was 11 when she disappeared.

Dugard and her daughters, ages 15 and 12, claimed that state parole agents failed to properly supervise Garrido starting in 1999 and did not follow up on reports and observations that might have led to their rescue. They finally surfaced last August, after living for nearly two decades in a compound in the backyard of Garrido's house in the eastern San Francisco Bay-area city of Antioch.

Previous reports from the state corrections department and an independent inspector general said parole agents had discovered one of the girls Garrido had fathered with Dugard but accepted his explanation that she was a niece. That contact was made in 2008 when the girl was 12.

California parole agents spoke to the woman who was held captive by a convicted rapist for 18 years and bore his two children but never bothered to follow up, according to a report obtained by The Associated Press.

The revelation, yet another embarrassment for the state corrections department in the case, details how parole agents missed another opportunity to rescue Jaycee Dugard. It was contained in documents obtained Wednesday under the California Public Records Act.

The report, prepared by the attorney general's office, was sent to lawmakers in advance of their vote last week to settle with the Dugard family for $20 million.

Dugard, now 30, said parole agents spoke with her during her captivity, and with the older of the two daughters she bore to Phillip Garrido. Garrido has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and raping Dugard, who was 11 when she disappeared.

Dugard and her daughters, ages 15 and 12, claimed that state parole agents failed to properly supervise Garrido starting in 1999 and did not follow up on reports and observations that might have led to their rescue. They finally surfaced last August, after living for nearly two decades in a compound in the backyard of Garrido's house in the eastern San Francisco Bay-area city of Antioch.

Previous reports from the state corrections department and an independent inspector general said parole agents had discovered one of the girls Garrido had fathered with Dugard but accepted his explanation that she was a niece. That contact was made in 2008 when the girl was 12.

Those reports made no mention of any contact between parole agents and Dugard while she was being held captive.

The report gave a stark outline of the reasons the state agreed to settle the family's claim with such a large sum. In part, it said the claim is supported by a number of allegations, including "that agents saw and spoke to Ms. Dugard and her eldest daughter but failed to investigate their identities or their relationship to Garrido."

Attorney general's spokeswoman Christine Gasparac said the allegations were made by Dugard through her attorneys during settlement negotiations with the state. She said she could provide no other details, such as when the contact with parole agents occurred, and added that the state will not try to verify Dugard's statement because the damage claim against the state has been settled.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said he will sign the settlement.

The six-page attorney general's report also said the $20 million settlement with the Dugard family appears justified because of "the uniquely tragic circumstances."

The attorney general's document says the average settlement in victims' compensation claims is $2 million. However, it cites larger awards in two cases involving poor supervision of felons or parolees, one for $22 million and another for $15.3 million.

It estimates it could cost $7 million to provide Dugard and her daughters with a lifetime of therapy and counseling and at least $450,000 to educate Dugard and her daughters, none of whom attended school during their captivity.

In their claim against the state, the Dugard family members claimed psychological, physical and emotional damages.

"Obviously, no amount of money could compensate these Plaintiffs for what they have endured, but the settlement was made with the intent of providing the financial support that they will need to rebuild their lives," concludes the report written by Senior Assistant Attorney Genera1 Rochelle East. She wrote that the state also settled for fear that the family could win a much larger jury award if they had sued.
 

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