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Jaycee to get €16m for kidnap ordeal

A woman held captive for nearly two decades by a rapist out on parole will receive $20m (€16m) from the State of California for her ordeal, during which she bore two children to the man whom officials were supposedly monitoring.

Lawmakers approved the settlement yesterday for Jaycee Dugard, now 30, and her two daughters, who resurfaced last August after being held in a secret backyard by a suspect identified by authorities as Phillip Garrido.

"It is compensation for three people for the rest of their lives who have been horribly damaged over a period of 17 or 18 years," mediator Daniel Weinstein said.

Dugard and her daughters, ages 15 and 12, filed claims in February, saying parole agents with the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation began supervising Garrido in 1999 but didn't discover them.

The Dugard family members claimed psychological, physical and emotional damages.

"I can't emphasise enough that we've got to be much more prudent in terms of how we provide oversight for released prisoners in the State of California," said Assemblyman Ted Gaines.

The money will be used to buy the family a home, ensure privacy, pay for education, replace lost income and cover what will likely be years of therapy, said Weinstein, a retired San Francisco County Superior Court judge.

"It was not an effort to make reparations for the years of abuse and incarceration or imprisonment against their will, because ... the damages to these people were incalculable," Weinstein said.

"Part of this was a prudent effort by the State to shut off liability from a catastrophic verdict."

Weinstein praised the State for quickly accepting responsibility, and the Dugards for accepting a reasonable settlement at a time when the State faces a $19bn (€15bn) budget deficit.

The money will come from the State's hard-hit general fund, which pays for most State operations.

Dugard's mother Terry Probyn filed a claim with the State in February but was not included in the settlement, Weinstein said.

Garrido and his wife Nancy have pleaded not guilty to charges that they kidnapped and raped the young woman.