Friday, August 05, 2011

Parole bungles let rapist hold victim for 18 years, says report

In a blistering assessment of how badly officials bungled their oversight of rapist-kidnapper Phillip Garrido, El Dorado County prosecutors have compiled a list of dozens of instances for which his parole should have been revoked, many of which would have saved Jaycee Lee Dugard from being abducted.

The 162-page report from the office of the El Dorado County District Attorney, Vern Pierson, includes numerous federal and state documents that have previously surfaced since Ms Dugard was rescued in August 2009 after 18 years of captivity.

But it includes new details of Garrido's parole violations that should have returned him to prison, including:

- efforts he made while working at a nursing home to get co-workers to help him buy drugs;

- positive tests for drugs such as methamphetamine;

- submitting watered down urine samples during drug testing;

- and wearing a fake penis and using Mountain Dew to fool drug counsellor during testing.

The unsparing report lashes out at parole agents who failed to discover Ms Dugard, who was abducted as an 11-year-old and held until she was 29. It labels one federal parole agent "utterly incompetent" and blasts a litany of failures to rescue Ms Dugard.

It provides new evidence of other Garrido crimes, including 10 to 20 instances in which young girls were lured into the back of a van while his wife, Nancy, videotaped the children stretching and bending over to later provide her husband with sexually gratifying images.

And it explores details of Garrido's visit to one of his earlier victims, Katie Callaway Hall, after he was released from a 50-year sentence for raping and kidnapping her in 1976.

"It is beyond dispute that the criminal justice system failed Jaycee Lee Dugard, it failed Katie Callaway Hall, and assuredly failed many of the other countless unknown victims of Phillip Garrido," the report concludes.

Mr Pierson said he hoped to help win approval of legislation that will allow parole boards to give as much weight to an inmate's original crime as to psychiatric reports that purport to show the criminal no longer poses a threat to society.

Nancy and Phillip Garrido pleaded guilty in April to kidnapping Ms Dugard. Phillip Garrido is serving a 431 year sentence and will never win release. His wife was sentenced to 36 years to life.

The Pierson report lists the top five failings his office identified as they prepared for a trial that was avoided when the Garridos agreed to plead guilty. They are:

- federal authorities allowing Garrido's release after 11 years of a 50-year sentence;

- the inexplicable failure to look at Garrido as a suspect in the 1991 kidnap of Ms Dugard. By then, he was known to authorities as a serial kidnapper-rapist who had victims in the South Lake Tahoe area from which Dugard was taken;

- the failure of parole agents supervising Garrido to detect Ms Dugard in his backyard and home in Antioch, California;

- the lack of supervision by federal parole agents, starting on May 15, 1991, when an agent noted the presence of a soundproof recording studio in Garrido's backyard. Three weeks later Ms Dugard was abducted and kept inside, where she was assaulted by Garrido. For the next four years, a parole agent visited the home only one brief time;

- failure of federal parole agents to investigate Ms Calloway Hall's complaint in 1988 that Garrido approached her at a casino where she worked after he had been released from jail.

Original report here

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