SAN FRANCISCO (UPI) — The U.S. government cannot be sued for not preventing the kidnapping of Jaycee Dugard in 1991, a federal appeals court ruled.

The suit brought by Dugard, alleged that if federal officials had revoked the parole of her kidnapper, Phillip Garrido, her 18-year ordeal never would have happened.

Garrido was on parole for a previous rape and abduction conviction over the previous 2 1/2 years leading up to Dugard’s kidnapping. But Dugard’s lawyer said parole officers did not revoke his parole despite multiple failed drug tests and admitting to drug use, which should have returned Garrido to jail.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled 2-1 that police or the government had no legal duty to protect Dugard from Garrido because they could not have known he would single her out as a victim. However, the ruling did not say whether parole officers had failed to do their jobs.

Garrido and his wife Nancy kidnapped Jaycee from a South Lake Tahoe, Calif., street in 1991 when she was 11 and held her captive in a backyard shed in Antioch for nearly two decades. Garrido impregnated Dugard, who gave birth to two daughters, in 1994 and 1997.

Garrido was sentenced to 431 years in prison for kidnapping and rape. His wife was sentenced to 36 years to life.

Dugard and her children were awarded a $20 million settlement by state lawmakers after it was determined state officers had missed multiple opportunities to rescue Dugard.

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