Jaycee Dugard is suing the US, alleging 'gross neglect' by
federal officers in charge of supervising the parolee who abducted
her. A spokeswoman for Jaycee Dugard says proceeds from the suit
would go to her charity.
Abduction and rape victim Jaycee Dugard's lawsuit against the US
government, which challenges the principle that the government
cannot be held responsible for the actions of federal officials,
also raises the issue of violence against women and children.
Ms. Dugard was held for almost two decades, during which time she
was repeatedly raped and gave birth to two children. Her lawsuit
alleges "gross neglect" on the part of the federal parole officers
in charge of supervising Phillip Garrido, the federal parolee who
The case drew sensational headlines in 2009 when Dugard was
discovered. Now 31, she was 11 years old when she was kidnapped from
a South Lake Tahoe, Calif., street by Mr. Garrido and his wife in
She was taken to a home where she spent the next 18 years captive
in a backyard tent. She gave birth to two daughters fathered by
Garrido, who has since been sent to prison. He had been granted
parole in 1988 after serving 11 years in prison for another
kidnapping and rape.
Legal observers say Dugard's suit, which she filed Thursday
morning in a San Francisco court seeking unspecified damages, is
focusing a spotlight not only on her own case, but the larger issue
of violence against women and children.
"Sunlight is the best disinfectant," says Andrew Stoltmann, a
Chicago-based attorney. "Ms. Dugard is likely filing the suit to
draw attention to the incompetence of parole agents who allegedly
failed to properly monitor Garrido, with the hopes of preventing
future cases similar to hers," he says.
According to a statement released Thursday by her spokeswoman,
Nancy Seltzer, any award from the lawsuit would go to Dugard's
private charity, the JAYC foundation, which assists families
recovering from abduction and other trauma.
Mr. Stoltmann notes that Dugard has already received a large
monetary award. In 2009, her family received a $20 million
settlement through a state victims compensation fund after the
California inspector general found that state corrections officials
failed to properly supervise Garrido, whose parole case was handed
over from federal officials to the state in 1999.
The US Department of Justice so far has no comment on Dugard's
suit, according to spokesman Charles Miller, who notes, "we have not
seen the papers yet. …