SANTA MONICA—Eric Uller, the Santa Monica City employee who was accused and charged of molesting four boys while he was a volunteer at the city of Santa Monica’s Police Activities League, was found dead in his apartment on Thursday, November 15, from an apparent suicide.
The former city employee was charged on November 5 with three counts of lewd acts upon a child, two counts of oral copulation of a person under 18, and one count of continuous sexual abuse. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office revealed that Uller, 50,of Marina del Rey was expected back in court on November 15 in Department W30 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Airport Branch. The illegal conduct is alleged to have occurred between December 1986 and September 1995
The defendant is alleged to have abused the victims between the ages of 12 and 16 years old from 1986 to 1995, the prosecutor indicated.
Santa Monica Mayor Ted Winterer issued the following statement on October 30:
“The recent arrest of a City employee has raised legitimate concern in our community, from this Council and from our City staff, so I want to provide a brief announcement on what we know and are able to share. Our hearts go out to anyone impacted by these deeply disturbing circumstances. And I want to acknowledge the bravery of any and all victims that come forward to report sexual misconduct.”
Uller was placed on administrative leave immediately upon his arrest noted Mayor Winterer in his statement.
“Over the last several days, there have been allegations that the City may have been aware of criminal conduct by Mr. Uller and failed in the past to address it. We take this concern seriously. We are committed to transparency and accountability. The City Attorney’s Office has retained outside counsel to conduct a comprehensive investigation of these allegations. The City is also conducting a comprehensive review of the procedures in place to protect youth participants of the PAL program,” said Mayor Winterer.
The city of Santa Monica released the following statement on November 15 in response to Uller’s death:
“The City was shocked to receive this news. Mr. Uller had been expected to appear in court this morning on the criminal charges previously filed against him. The court was also advised of his death.
The City had initiated an independent investigation into allegations that the City previously knew or should have known of, but failed to address, Mr. Uller’s alleged criminal conduct. The City remains committed to seeing this investigation through. The City has retained Irma Rodríguez Moises and Gabriel Sandoval at the law firm of Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo to conduct an independent investigation of these allegations. The independent investigation is already underway, and will also review whether the City had in place sufficient procedures to encourage reporting of such conduct and to ensure that reports are acted on. The City continues to encourage anyone who has information relevant to the independent investigation to reach out directly to the independent counsel at https://www.aalrr.com/contact-cerritos or 562-653-3200.
The City also remains committed to conducting a review of the policies and practices of the many youth programs funded and operated by the City, including PAL. The City is in the process of retaining an outside consultant, Praesidium, Inc., to review the policies and practices of its youth programs and provide guidance on best practices for preventing any future incidents of abuse. Information about Praesidium can be found at its website, https://website.praesidiuminc.com/wp/.”
If convicted as charged, Uller could have faced a possible maximum sentence of more than 23 years in state prison.
Written By Emily Loudermilk and Casey Jacobs