Jaycee Dugard Files Lawsuit Against U.S. Government

Kidnapper Philip Garrido was on federal parole when he grabbed Dugard.

ByABC News
September 22, 2011, 2:00 PM

Sept. 22, 2011 — -- Jaycee Dugard is suing the federal government because it twice rejected her requests for private mediation over its alleged failure to properly monitor Phillip Garrido, the man who kidnapped her and held her captive for 18 years. Dugard is not seeking the money for herself, but instead to help other families dealing with abduction and the aftermath of traumatic experiences.

"In spite of two requests for private mediation in this case, the United States government has summarily rejected Ms. Dugard's requests," Dugard spokeswoman Nancy Seltzer said in a statement.

"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," the statement said.

Any money Dugard recovers from the lawsuit will go to the JAYC Foundation. She launched the foundation to help families of abduction and other families recovering from trauma heal through animal assisted therapy and other techniques, said Seltzer in the statement.

"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,"Seltzer said in a statement. "It goes without saying that what Jaycee went through in any one week of her 18 year captivity is more horrifying than [what] most people will experience in their lifetime."

In an exclusive interview with ABC News' Diane Sawyer earlier this year, Dugard recounted how she overcame the horror of her kidnapping in 1991, her nearly two decade imprisonment in which she gave birth to two children fathered by Garrido, and her healing process since being rescued in 2009.

"There's a switch that I had to shut off," Dugard told Sawyer of her ordeal. "I mean, I can't imagine being beaten to death, you know? And you can't imagine being kidnapped and raped, you know? So, it's just, you just do what you have to do to survive."

Garrido was already a convicted kidnapper when he and his wife, Nancy, abducted 11-year-old Dugard as she walked to school from her family's Tahoe, Calif., home.

He had been sentenced to 50 years in federal prison for kidnapping a woman in 1977. He was released in 1988 and placed on federal parole. In 1999, eight years into his kidnapping and torture of Dugard, he was released from federal parole and thanked by an agent for his "cooperation."

From 1999 to 2009, the state of California was charged with supervising him. At least 60 times, officials from the California Department of Corrections visited the Garrido home and never noticed anything amiss. On at least one visit, an official actually talked to Dugard.

Dugard and her children have already received a settlement from the state of California. Dugard's attorneys attempted to reach a settlement with the U.S. government through private mediation twice but were denied.

Since telling her story to Sawyer, Dugard also released a best selling memoir, "A Stolen Life." Portions of the proceeds of the memoir will go to her JAYC Foundation.

Of telling her story, Dugard told Sawyer, "Why not look at it? You know, stare it down until it can't scare you anymore...I didn't want there to be any more secrets?I hadn't done anything wrong. It wasn't something I did that caused this to happen. And I feel that by putting it all out there, it's very freeing."