Lenient parole system and Jehovah’s Witnesses helped Garrido get back on the streets after 10 years of 50 year sentence
Story from San Francisco Chronicle, updated with James A. Beckford reference
Philip Garrido and his wife Nancy are under arrest for the abduction of Jaycee Lee Dugard, then 11 years old, on June 11, 1991. Garrido was a convicted sex offender for past three decades who had been in an out of jail. Nancy was a devout Jehovah’s Witness who converted Garrido to the religious sect prior to 1978.
1991 was 18 years ago and the couple held the child and sexually abused her. Philip Garrido fathered two children by the abducted Dugard.
The Garrido’s kept Dugard and her children locked up in a backyard compound in Antioch California, east of San Francisco. They used the girl, along with being their sex slave, to handle telemarketing for printing business related to religious brochures the Garrido’s were promoting.
In 1993 Philip Garrido was returned to prison on a parole violation. In 1999 he was released from another parole violation. During that time it was his wife Nancy Garrdo who held the Dugard child captive.
Mrs Garrido’s role has stunned America, leading to speculation about her motives, her relationship with her husband and her own mental state. Little has been made public about her early life but it is believed that she was a Jehovah’s Witness when she met Garrido during a visit to her uncle in a prison in Leavenworth, Kansas. TimesOnline.uk
Conversion to Jehovah’s Witness
Nancy met Garrido in 1977 when he was in prison on a rape conviction. The 1970s rape and violent abduction had sent Garrido to Leavenworth on what should have been a virtual life sentence of 50 years.
Nancy, slightly younger than Garrido and a devout Jehovah’s Witness, was visiting her uncle in prison according to the Times Online.
The fact that they married behind bars in 1988, and he was released shortly afterwards, proves how valuable she was. She gave him what seemed like a family life, and, by implication, proved that he would not offend again. Daily Mail
Philip Garrido was using his newfound JW faith as early as 1978 to obtain his release.
When Garrido subsequently appealed his sentence, however, his lawyer said he was getting help in prison and had become a Jehovah’s Witness. In a handwritten letter to a judge in March 1978, Garrido said he was ready for a chance to “get my life in line.” “I am so ashamed of my past. But my future is now in controle (sic),” he wrote. SF Gate
For the 11 years after Nancy and Garrido met while he was in jail, she corresponded with him. She converted him to the Jehovah’s Witness faith which would have required the approval of the local JW congregation. It is highly unlikely the Witnesses will confirm his conversion although Garrido claims to be converted.
It was the marriage and conversion that Garrido used to convince the parole board that he would not re-offend.
Jehovah’s Witnesses take pride in converting the down-and-out, drug addicts, people down on their luck.
In his study The Trumpet of Prophecy: A Sociological Study of Jehovah’s Witnesses sociologist James A. Beckford *(1) theorized that people with low social attachment are more likely to accept the other-world view of a religious cult like the Witnesses. Beckford, who writes on religion and teaches at the University of Warwick, Coventry, UK, found in his 1975 book that the most likely converts to the Jehovahs Witness cult are females in their mid-20′s who are dislocated from society due to a move away from their home location or through multiple child births in close succession.
Similar studies of the members of the Jim Jones cult who committed suicide in the 1970′s showed adherents were poor, dispossessed and looking for a new world order that Jones promised to deliver.
Garrido apparently strayed from Jehovahs Witnesses to form his own religious cult. In 2007, he began blogging under various titles. One blog”The Truth Will Set You Free” is eerily familiar to the insider dialogue of Jehovah’s Witnesses. To those inside the JW sect, the code word for Jehovah’s Witness is “The Truth”. Members use that bible quotation to define themselves as being “in the Truth”, “strong in the Truth” and defectors conversely as “weak in the Truth.”
It was the religious fanaticism that caught Philip and Nancy Garrido. They were spotted handing out religious pamphlets at UCLA Berkeley by police. Under questioning, the police became suspicious of the parolee and sex-offender accompanied by children.
“James A Beckford, Fellow of the British Academy, teaches an undergraduate module on Collective Behavior and Social Movements and the doctoral programme core module Research Process and Research Design.
“His research has focused on the theoretical and empirical aspects of religious organisations, new religious movements, church-state problems, civic religion, religion in prisons and religious controversies in several different countries. He was President of the Association for the Sociology of Religion (1988-89), Vice-President of the International Sociological Association (1994-98) and President of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion for 1999-2003.
“His teaching and research have taken place at the Universities of Reading, Durham, California at Berkeley, Loyola at Chicago, the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris. His current research deals with the relationship between social theory and religion, the treatment of religious minorities in prison, and ‘emergent’ faith communities in England.” University of Warwick Coventry