SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -Three decades ago, a convicted kidnapper named Phillip Garrido stunned a Leavenworth Prison psychologist by turning down an offer most prisoners would leap to take - help with a transfer to a mental health facility.
Instead, Garrido opted to spend at least three more years doing hard time so he could complete his religious studies.
Along his twisted trail of drugs and sexual violence, records and interviews show that Garrido invoked God at every turn before he was arrested Aug. 26 and accused of kidnapping, raping and imprisoning Jaycee Dugard for 18 years in his backyard.
Again and again, he claimed he had found God. To a woman he had abducted and was about to rape. To the judge who sentenced him to 50 years behind bars for the crime. And later, to business clients and neighbors in Antioch, Calif.
In the end, his increasingly bizarre religious fervor took on a desperate, prophetic quality and led to his capture after he tried to hold a rally on a college campus.
Molesters commonly turn to religion to rationalize their behavior, said Ken Lanning, a former FBI profiler who specializes in kidnapping and child abuse cases.
"A lot of them when they're molesting children put a lot of time and energy into trying to convince themselves that they're not bad people," Lanning said. "In some cases the element of religion will come into it, and they will use varying aspects of their religious belief to justify all of this."
The 58-year-old Garrido's preoccupation with religion started shortly after he began taking large quantities of LSD, cocaine and other drugs in the early 1970s.
Garrido, who worked odd jobs and played bass guitar in a band, told a casino worker in 1976 that his car had broken down and convinced her to give him a ride. He soon had her gagged and handcuffed, then took her to a storage unit decked out like a sex palace, where he sexually assaulted her for five hours.
After she was rescued, she told police that Garrido preached about God to her while she was handcuffed in the back seat.
Later, in a note seeking a reduction in his 50-year sentence, Garrido vowed that he had become devoutly religious.
During his first year in prison in Leavenworth, Kan., Garrido told prison psychologist J.B. Kielbauch he did not want to be "released from incarceration to a program of psychological treatment" because of religion.
"Interestingly, Mr. Garrido asked that he be permitted another three years of incarceration in lieu of that so he could complete his current program of training and religious development," Kielbauch wrote.
Kielbauch's 1978 mental evaluation also said Garrido had become a "very absorbed" Jehovah's Witness practitioner.
"Prognosis for successful transition to the community is considered very good," Kielbauch wrote. "The likelihood of further extralegal behaviors on Mr. Garrido's part is seen as minimal."
Garrido ended up spending 10 years in federal prison. Three years after his release he and his wife Nancy allegedly kidnapped Dugard, then 11, from a South Lake Tahoe street, raped her and held her captive in a backyard jumble of tents and sheds. During that time, authorities say Garrido fathered two daughters with Dugard.
Garrido and his wife have pleaded not guilty to kidnapping, rape and false imprisonment charges.