The kidnapping of little Jaycee in California many years ago and her eventual rescue received a lot of attention in the mass media, but despite the victim’s books and interviews on the subject, it seems that we still don’t have the whole story.
You may already know that in 1991 when she was eleven years old she was walking to a school bus stop in Lake Tahoe when a convicted sex offender pulled up in his car, and assaulted her with a stun gun. He then brought her to a shack hidden in his backyard and repeatedly raped her over a period of 18 years, made her pregnant twice so they eventually had two daughters, and let them all go outside with him shopping and to the beach, until he apparently confessed to the police and the victims were freed.
In her first book Jaycee briefly describes her somewhat normal childhood before the kidnapping, but she never knew her real father and didn’t even really have a loving father substitute in her childhood. Although Jaycee’s book is rich in details, there are a few aspects of her story that suggest something is missing. I don’t mean to question the author’s sincerity, it’s possible that when she wrote it she herself was unaware of the gaps.
The perpetrator of the tragedy reportedly admitted that he had a “problem.” He was fixated on little girls, prone to violence to satisfy his fixation, and claimed that the kidnapping of Jaycee helped protect other children from being victimized by him. However, according to Jaycee’s book he nonetheless continued seeking bizarre gratification by videoing children on playgrounds. Jaycee believes he then used the videos to masturbate. And yet after Jaycee’s two daughters were born the mother has virtually nothing to say about what her own little daughters might have faced in their little prison.
She says that after years the rapes became less frequent, but that’s more cause for suspicion. The kidnapper was willing to risk a virtual life sentence by taking Jaycee, and after she had two daughters she was no longer a little girl herself. Who took her place as an outlet for his “problem?” When the kidnapper conveniently had two new little girls under his complete control, he suddenly reformed and did absolutely nothing to exploit the situation?
At one point the kidnapper reportedly swore he would never “hurt” his daughters in any way. But then he says he’s sure his second child will be a girl because that’s what he “needs.” The mother doesn’t say anything about the worry she must have felt, the precautions to be taken to prevent her daughters from being molested. She says practically nothing about her daughters’ relationship with their father during more than a decade of her daughters’ experience, their entire childhood.
Quite the contrary, Jaycee tells readers that eventually she slept in a tent in the yard rather than with her growing daughters. She even admits that on occasion her daughters stayed alone in the house where he was. Jaycee even went on outings and left her daughters alone at home with the kidnapper. Can anyone realistically expect such superhuman trust on the part of a loving mother who had been repeatedly raped by him?
At some point the kidnapper took up reading the Bible. Was he reading the Old Testament story of Lot having sex with his daughters, and God not punishing any of them? According to some biblical scholars, we are all descendants of Lot’s incestuous union with his daughters.
In the so-called “Stockholm Syndrome” the victim comes to accept and identify with the kidnapper, and even feels glad she was kidnapped, at least temporarily, as apparently happened in the Patty Hearst case. There is some debate about whether it is properly called a “syndrome,” but since her daughters were born in that situation, it’s possible that in Jaycee’s case there is a kind of cover-up of something far beyond the usual adaptation to a kidnapping.
I’m not criticizing Jaycee or being judgmental or moralistic in any way. I’m just saying that her story seems incomplete. Granted, Jaycee and her family have a right to privacy. We certainly want to avoid any additional suffering to her or her family. They have suffered enough. But a full discussion of what actually happened might be beneficial to everybody concerned.
Let me digress. In the fall of 2015, I published two long articles on this topic, and I almost immediately suffered a determined legal attack by the local police to censor my writing. There is no evidence yet that those events are related, but I am clearly a living victim of the mass hysteria over child porn and child sex abuse. I now feel a need to take up the discussion again, trying to be as sensitive as possible to everyone’s best interests. My practical experience with the modern criminal justice system in the country I live in has taught me that the truth is irrelevant to arrogant state authorities.
Prosecutors and state psychologists can tell blatant lies, falsify testimony, and leave out selected facts to distort the overall picture. At least some judges turn a blind eye to such crimes against the truth, supposedly to serve the “greater good” of promoting the current version of political correctness. This is no minor gripe. If prosecutors and court experts can cheat and lie, and judges look the other way, the public will soon be laughing at the law.
Science is so successful because it is based on open discussion of the whole truth. If scientists lie by omission, then science becomes a farce. But state authorities lie with impunity to protect a political narrative.
For 10 years I have tried to contribute to children’s best interests by attacking the mass hysteria over child sex abuse. The hysteria over pornography and sex abuse not only undermines public faith in government, it causes untold suffering directly to millions of children by terrorizing kids against so-called stranger danger, and worse it distracts public attention away from the thousands of child deaths and serious injuries every year due to physical abuse and neglect that have nothing to do with sex crimes.
Lawyers in general don’t reason logically or scientifically. They reason by political intuition. Most politicians are lawyers, which is why the state tries to censor scientific research. Lawyers don’t care about the truth. They only care about political consequences.
To be perfectly clear, I have no desire to defend or minimize what the kidnapper or others like him might have done. I’m not trying to promote any sexual agenda. There is no entertainment value in reading the sordid details of an inhuman tragedy.
In her 2011 book Jaycee said that at first she didn’t want to write any book at all, and she admitted that her thinking wasn’t very clear yet. She suggested that in 10 years she will have figured it out. The book for sale on Amazon has now had thousands of reviews, more than any other book I know of, mostly brief expressions of sympathy by other women. So now that 10 years have passed since she wrote her first book, I am asking politely and respectfully: Where is the whole story, Jaycee?
Now that your daughters are adults, are they free to talk about what (if anything) happened to them at the hands of their father? Are they free to tell their side of the story? Their childhood was radically different from their mother’s. Before she was eleven Jaycee did not even know what the word “rape” meant, but she says her little daughters knew that their father had already served time in prison for rape.
He picked the worst possible victim to kidnap and rape. Kidnapping any child is a despicable and monstrous crime, but Jaycee had grown up even more timid and inhibited than most. In contrast, the fixated criminal had complete control over his daughters’ early education and the development of their values. As Jaycee put it: “He controlled everything.” Did he make videos of himself having sex with their mother to show the videos to the girls as one of many kinds of inducement? Very young children tend to playfully imitate whatever they see. Jaycee admits: “He had the ability to turn every situation to suit his needs.”
Psychologists, prosecutors and other arrogant state officials have been known to put enormous pressure on crime victims to lie to promote a politically correct fairy tale. Are there some other special interests in this case selectively censoring certain aspects of the story to hide the whole truth? I’m sorry if I can’t help but wonder.
1) Dugard, Jaycee. A Stolen Life: A Memoir. (Simon and Schuster, 2011.)