The arrest of a city employee on charges of child molestation has prompted accusations officials knew about the situation for years and did nothing to protect local youth.
Eric Uller, Principal Technology Analyst with the city’s information technology department was arrested by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) on Thursday, Oct. 18. on charges that translate to lewd and lascivious acts on a minor ages fourteen (14) or fifteen (15) years old. Uller is accused of four counts related to his volunteer time with the Police Activities League (PAL).
Uller is the second individual associated with the organization accused of improper contact with a child following the arrest of Don Condon in 2014.
School Board member Oscar de la Torre runs the Pico Youth and Family Center. He said Pico residents have talked to him about their experiences with Uller and Condon.
“I have talked to people who have alleged that they were also victimized by Eric Uller and I have been contacted by a parent who has alleged that she complained about Don Condon in 2013,” he said. “The rumors about Eric Uller were common knowledge amongst young Latino men in the Pico neighborhood since at least 1995.”
Within 24 hours of the story publishing, several individuals also contacted the Daily Press alleging officials had prior knowledge of Uller’s behavior.
City officials released a second statement on the subject Friday.
“Our hearts go out to everyone impacted by this deeply troubling situation. We again encourage anyone who has information about Eric Uller’s conduct, or other information relevant to its investigation to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD), Special Victims Bureau toll-free tip line at (877) 710-5273 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The City will continue to fully cooperate with the Sheriff’s Department as its investigation continues,” it said.
“The City is aware of the additional allegations that the City was aware of Mr. Uller’s conduct and did nothing to address it. The City is in the process of retaining outside counsel to conduct a comprehensive investigation of these allegations. The City is committed to transparency and accountability. The City will take all steps to protect youth participants in all City programs, and to determine whether there have been any past failings to live up to this commitment.”
According to de la Torre, the situation in Santa Monica could mirror the allegations that have surfaced with the Catholic Church, USC, Penn State or Larry Nassur. He said individuals within those organizations chose to look the other way and protect their positions of power when they should have been protecting children.
“There are high ranking members of law enforcement that were fully aware about the allegations related to Eric Uller,” said de la Torre.
Uller is being held in the Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles on $2 million bail and is expected to have his first court hearing on Monday.
Editor’s note: this story was first published on Oct. 20 at 12:22 PM and is being updated as additional information becomes available