SANTA MONICA—On Tuesday, August 24, the Santa Monica City Council approved settlements with 61 claimants, resolving additional pending claims and lawsuits against the city arising out of allegations of sexual abuse between the 1980s and early 2000s by former city employee Eric Uller.
“To each of the individuals impacted by these horrific crimes, we are deeply sorry for the pain caused by one of our former employees and hope this settlement supports your journey to healing,” said Mayor Sue Himmelrich.
The city of Santa Monica indicated in a press release the settlement resolves all claims and lawsuits from people who allege that Uller sexually abused or attempted to sexually abuse them between the late 1980s and early 2000s, while most were youth participating in the Police Activities League (“PAL”) program. Pursuant to the settlement agreement, Santa Monica will pay $54.9 million into a qualified settlement fund, and the funds will be allocated to the individuals as determined by a retired Superior Court Judge, whom plaintiffs’ counsel retained as a third-party neutral to perform this allocation.
Following the first allegations of sexual abuse by Uller in 2018, the city created a new code of conduct for providing youth services and expanded requirements for Child Abuse Mandated Reporter Training for all employees, volunteers, and contractors for any City-managed youth program. Praesidium, which formerly audited Santa Monica operations related to youth programming, is expected to serve as the Child Protection Officer for the City and work to convene a Child Protection Committee.
Uller was found dead in his apartment on November 15, 2018 from an apparent suicide. The former city employee was charged on November 5, 2018, 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. If convicted as charged, Uller could have faced a possible maximum sentence of more than 23 years in state prison.