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The California government approved a $20 million settlement with kidnapping victim Jaycee Dugard last year, after the California Inspector General's office determined that state parole officers had missed numerous opportunities to locate and rescue Dugard.
Now, Dugard is suing the government again.
Dugard filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. government this week, claiming that probation officers failed to adequately monitor Phillip Garrido, the man who kidnapped and held her for 18 years. Dugard, who is requesting unspecified damages, has pledged to donate the judgment money to a foundation that supports families recovering from kidnappings and traumatic experiences, reports The Washington Post.
Why is Dugard trying to recover against both the California and the U.S. governments?
Garrido received early release from prison early three years before kidnapping Dugard; he had been serving a sentence for kidnapping and forcible rape. State parole officers, who should have been monitoring Garrido more closely, did not report him for drug and alcohol abuse. Federal authorities, who received new reports of Garrido's sexual misconduct, never investigated, reports UPI.
In the limited number of visits that the feds made to Garrido's home over a 10-year period, they might have discovered Dugard if they had bothered to walk around Garrido's backyard.
Garrido and his wife, Nancy, pleaded guilty to kidnapping and rape earlier in April. Both waived rights to appeal.
Dugard has requested mediation with the feds twice, but the government has refused.
Suing the government will not be easy; under the Federal Tort Claims Act, government agencies may only be sued if the plaintiff can show that agents or employees acted negligently in the scope of their duties. But given the facts of this case, that might not be too hard to prove.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.