The family of Jaycee Lee Dugard, who was kidnaped by a paroled rapist and subsequently gave birth to his two daughters, will receive a $20-million settlement from California under an agreement approved by legislators yesterday, the Los Angeles Times reports. Dugard, now 30, was abducted on the way to school in 1991 and was missing until last August. That’s when she was discovered living in a ramshackle Bay Area compound owned by Phillip Garrido – the man charged with her kidnap and rape – in a bizarre case that attracted international attention.
A prison watchdog group later reported that state parole officers had failed to properly supervise Garrido for a decade and had missed obvious clues that could have led them to the three victims much earlier. Assemblyman Jim Nielsen called the settlement “prudent.” As a former head of the state parole board for serious offenders, Nielsen voted for the settlement because “it will end the legal vulnerability of the state and hopefully bring comfort to the families that they won’t have to have protracted litigation.” He acknowledged that the state could have faced legal liabilities “vastly beyond $20 million” if the case had gone to court. He lamented Dugard’s 18-year abduction and blamed the state’s correctional system for lapses that extended the young woman’s ordeal.