Court date set for Wednesday.
By Sam Catanzaro
The City of Santa Monica has rejected calls for a citizen oversight committee into the investigations into Eric Uller, the City of Santa Monica employee who was arrested on Thursday, October 19 for a series of alleged child molestation incidents that date back to 1986. Uller is set to appear in Court on November 5.
50-year-old Uller, Principal Technology Analyst with the City’s Information Systems Department is accused of sexually molesting ten minors between the years 1986 and 2010. Four of the victims were allegedly assaulted while Uller was volunteering with the Santa Monica Police Activities League (PAL) in the 1990s.
Following Uller’s arrest, Oscar de la Torre, who is on the Santa Monica School Board and runs the Pico Youth and Family Center, accused the City, including high ranking law enforcement officials, of covering up the alleged incidents. In response to these allegations, the City has hired outside counsel to investigate accusations of a cover-up.
“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 allegations that the City previously knew, or should have known, of Mr. Uller’s alleged criminal conduct,” said City in a statement.
The calls for a citizen oversight committee into this investigation were rejected by City Officials, including City Attorney Lane Dilig, speaking at a community town hall meeting last week, who urged residents to come forward to officials with relevant information but said that the investigators should remain free to look into the case on their own accord.
“Investigators need to be independent in deciding who to interview, what questions to ask, so that they can follow where the facts lead,” Dilig said.
City Councilmember Sue Himmelrich echoed this sediment, saying that a citizen oversight committee would violate the privacy of victims and their families.
“Victims and families have a right to their privacy. This is a confidential and private investigation,” Himmelrich said, adding that residents’ voices would be better served coming up with better policies and preventative measures rather than “overseeing investigations.”
Uller’s bail has been set to $750,000 and he will appear in court on November 5.
This case is ongoing and anyone with information related to this investigation is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Special Victims Bureau toll-free tip line at (877) 710-5273.