SAN FRANCISCO – A day after releasing disturbing footage videotaped by one of Jaycee Dugard's captors and a report highlighting law enforcement failures in the case, a California prosecutor plans to join a state lawmaker Wednesday to develop ideas for improving supervision of parolees.
El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson on Tuesday discounted claims by federal officials that Phillip Garrido's parole agent had not missed opportunities to find Dugard and the two daughters she bore the convicted rapist.
"The system as a whole failed, and we should all be angry about it," he said during a news conference Tuesday in the state Capitol.
In his report, Pierson said the agent visited Garrido's home in the San Francisco Bay area town of Antioch only once between May 1991, the month before Dugard was snatched off her South lake Tahoe street, and May 1995, eight months after she had given birth to her first child by Garrido.
During the 1991 visit, the agent was shown Garrido's backyard recording studio, which became the first place Dugard was confined and raped after her kidnapping just weeks later.
"Had the federal parole agents been doing their job and searching the residence (and the recording studio they were aware of), then they would have found Jaycee Lee Dugard imprisoned in the back yard," Pierson asserted.
The district attorney also made public a 1993 video tape of Garrido's wife luring a young girl into the couple's van, asking her to do the splits and videotaping her. Nancy Garrido later told authorities she made 10 to 20 similar videos at area parks and playgrounds for her husband's sexual gratification.
"That's it. Can you go all the way down?" Nancy says to the girl, who is blurred out in the video released by authorities.
The girl says she can go down farther.
"Let me see, I bet you can go down really easy," Nancy Garrido said.
When the girl notices a light on the camera, she asks Nancy Garrido about it.
"I don't know anything about that camera," says Nancy, quickly changing the subject.
The report says Garrido should not have been freed from prison in 1988, where he was serving a 50-year federal sentence and a five-years-to-life Nevada state sentence for a previous kidnapping and rape. Pierson said the parole system relied too heavily on psychiatric advice in determining Garrido's suitability for parole.
After Garrido nabbed Dugard in 1991, Pierson said federal and state parole agents failed to investigate his history of sexual crimes and instead relied on reports from psychiatrists. This led to agents missing numerous warning signs over dozens of visits.
The report also lists dozens of incidents in which Garrido should have had his parole revoked, including once in 1988 when he contacted a woman he earlier had been convicted of raping and kidnapping, and other times when his urine tested positive for methamphetamine or he was caught diluting his urine samples.
In her book and grand jury testimony, Dugard said Garrido would go on sex binges with her after he took amphetamines.
In 1994, it was learned that Garrido wore a prosthetic penis during drug screenings. "Garrido would wear a fake penis and use warm Mountain Dew to fool the urine tests conducted with this counselor," the report states.
In response to the report, the California Department of Corrections, which assumed responsibility for monitoring Garrido in 1999, said it has repeatedly acknowledged there was a need for changes in the wake of Dugard's discovery two years ago this month.
The department said it has made "significant improvements," including requiring parole officers to work with federal and other state parole authorities, and re-evaluating all sex offenders. They're also using GPS monitoring for parolees.
But Pierson said he hoped his report would begin a process of exploring potential legislative solutions that will help law enforcement do a better job of supervising and detecting sexual predators.
On Wednesday, he will participate in a public meeting with Republican state Sen. Ted Gaines, who represents the area where Garrido snatched Dugard, then 11, in 1991.
Gaines said he hopes to introduce legislation that would change the rules for evaluating parole of serious offenders, and pass it this month with bipartisan support.
Since a 2008 California Supreme Court decision that said the parole board cannot deny release solely based on the nature of the original crime, the number of paroles granted to prisoners serving life terms has soared, Gaines said.
He said it would be appropriate to give the parole board more discretion to hold prisoners based on their crimes, especially sexual predators who may be more likely to commit new crimes if released, he said.
Garrido is serving a sentence of 431 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to raping Dugard and other charges. Nancy Garrido was sentenced to 36 years to life for kidnapping and rape.
Associated Press Writer Adam Weintraub contributed to this report from Sacramento.
Newly released video of Nancy Garrido: http://www.co.el-dorado.ca.us/ELDODA/Press_Release/2011/Findings_Re__Jaycee_Lee_Dugard_Case.aspx
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