March 3, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica to Pay Additional $54.9 Million to Settle Child Abuse Claims Against Former City Employee

City of Santa Monica will pay a total of $97.5 million to over 80 victims

By Sam Catanzaro

The City of Santa Monica will pay a total of nearly $100 million to over 80 alleged molestation victims who were part of a City-run youth program in one of the nation’s largest sex abuse settlements by a municipality.  

On Tuesday, 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, who was a Principal Technology Analyst with the City’s Information Systems Department 

The settlement resolves all claims brought by 61 individuals who allege that Uller sexually abused or attempted to sexually abuse them between the late 1980s and early 2000s when many were youth participating in the City-run Police Activities League (“PAL”) program, where Uller frequently volunteered. Uller died by suicide three weeks after his arrest in 2018. 

“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 Santa Monica Mayor Sue Himmelrich.

City Council’s action this week comes a year after the City approved $42.6 million in settlements with 26 other plaintiffs who claimed they were abused by Uller. As reported by the Santa Monica Lookout, the 87 total cases filed against the City are among the most relating to child molestation charges against a single municipal employee. In addition, David Ring, who represented a majority of the plaintiffs, told the Lookout the total payout of $97.5 million is probably the largest child molestation settlement in the nation’s history against a city employee. 

Under the terms of the settlement agreement approved Tuesday, the City will pay $54.9 million into a qualified settlement fund, and the funds will be allocated to the 61 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. In addition, the City hired Praesidium, to serve as the Child Protection Officer for the City and work to convene a Child Protection Committee. The City has also launched an independent investigation into allegations that Santa Monica officials were aware of Uller’s alleged criminal activity. 

Nearly all of the alleged victims were Latino boys between the ages of 12 and 15 from the Pico Neighborhood. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Uller allegedly molested victims in his car, often under the guise of taking them for medical exams at his father’s medical office. 

“Uller as an authority figure preyed on the most vulnerable young Latino boys,” Ring told the Times following the initial 26 settlements. “The police department and city had repeated warnings and reports of his horrendous behavior.” 

The Time reporting, as well as reporting from the Lookout, states that several former City of Santa Monica employees told Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department detectives investigating the case that they reported Uller’s alleged abuse to their superiors. To date, there have been no findings released by the independent probe launched by the City into these allegations of a cover-up. 

in Crime, News
Related Posts

Construction Alert: Topanga Canyon Boulevard Faces Nightly Closures Starting March 4

March 1, 2024

March 1, 2024

Caltrans Announces 18-Mile Project Spanning Chatsworth to PCH Commuters in the Los Angeles area should prepare for significant delays as...

Film Review: Nyad

February 29, 2024

February 29, 2024

FILM REVIEWNYADRated PG-13121 MinutesReleased November 3rdOscar Nominations: Best Leading Actress, Best Supporting Actress “I failed many times, but I can...

Security Officers Being Deployed at Big Blue Bus Stations and Routes

February 29, 2024

February 29, 2024

The Guards will be provided by a firm with other security contracts with the city of Santa Monica  By Zach...

Leap Day Brings Once-in-Four-Year Deals at Popular Restaurants All Day Long

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’, and More Roll Out Special Offers to Mark the Occasion Leap Day, that rare additional day occurring...

Sweet Lady Jane’s Social Media Tease Continues As Locations Sport Hiring Notices

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Mysterious Posts Leave Fans Eager for the Return, But Questions Linger By Dolores Quintana After resurfacing on social media, the...

Upcoming Ice Cream Shop on Montana Ave. Will Serve Multitude of Vegan Flavors

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

The Company Has Come a Long Way Since Its Humble Beginnings as a New York City Food Truck By Zach...

(Video) Pro-Palestine Protest at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Protesters were there to protest the arrival of U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi Counter-protesters drove by in a car. @smmirrornews Pro-Palestine...

(Video) Restaurants Replace Glass Front Doors After Late Night Robbery Spree in Del Ray

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Seven restaurants and small businesses in Del Rey and Venice, including Nick the Greek and Dudley Market, were robbed. Council...

SMMUSD Appoints New Asst. Superintendent of Education Services

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Dr. Williamson Will Assume Her Role on March 8, Bringing 17 Years of Education Experience In a special board meeting...

Hollywood Royalty to Shine at 96th Oscars: First Wave of Star-Studded Presenter Lineup Unveiled

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Incredible Lineup of Actors and Previous Oscar Winners Announced Executive producer and showrunner Raj Kapoor, along with executive producers Molly...

Vote Smart, Vote Early: Streamlining Your 2024 Presidential Primary Experience in L.A. County

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Skip the Lines and Save Time – Your Guide to Early Voting Options  In preparation for the upcoming 2024 Presidential...

Iconic Venice Beach Sculpture and Landmark to be Removed, Returned to Artist’s Property

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Since the Money, Effort or Desire to Purchase the Piece Appears to Not Be There, the Artist Wants It Back...

(Video) Heartfelt candlelight vigils in Westchester and West Hollywood for Nex Benedict

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

The non-binary 16 year old student with Choctaw ancestry died in Owasso, Oklahoma after being beaten by three older high...

Sweet Lady Jane Sparks Hope of Return – Popular Bakery Hints at Reopening Across LA

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

After Abrupt Closures, Beloved Bakery Hints at a Comeback, Leaving Fans Intrigued  Sweet Lady Jane, a Los Angeles cake bakery...

Waymo’s LA Expansion Hits Roadblock: CPUC Temporarily Halts Self-Driving Company’s Plans

February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024

California Public Utilities Commission suspends Waymo’s service expansion for 120 days. California’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has put a temporary...