Eric Uller (LASD)

Six victims of Eric Uller have filed claims against the City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Police Activities League (PAL) for failing to protect them from sexual abuse inflicted by Uller.

Los Angeles-based law firm Taylor & Ring filed the claims Monday on behalf of the six anonymous men who allege Uller sexually abused them while he was a volunteer in the PAL youth program during the 1990s. The claims allege the City and PAL intentionally did not investigate and covered up numerous allegations made against Uller that demonstrated he was sexually abusing young boys he met through the program.

The City launched an internal investigation late last year into allegations that City staff covered up Uller’s crimes. Uller, who was also a City employee, was found dead in his apartment last November shortly before he was scheduled to appear in court on multiple felony counts of lewd acts upon a child, oral copulation of a person under 18 and continuous sexual abuse.

Lead counsel David Ring said Uller groomed his clients when they were young boys with the intent to gain their trust so he could molest them and coerce them not to tell anyone.

The City has 45 days to respond to the claims filed Monday, Ring said. If it rejects the claims, Taylor & Ring will file a lawsuit against the City. Another victim of Uller, Rogelio Monroy, announced plans to sue the City in November but the lawsuit has not yet been filed.

Ring said if his firm litigates the case, he will present witnesses who can testify that they complained to City staff about Uller while he was a PAL volunteer. The City did not address their complaints, he said.

“It’s despicable that the City and PAL chose to protect their own jobs and reputations rather than protect the numerous young boys who were abused by Uller for two decades,” Ring said. “They knew of multiple allegations against Uller, yet did nothing to investigate the complaints and covered up the information, allowing him unfettered access to young boys.”

Ring said he hopes the City resolves the claims rather than litigating them.

“I really hope the City does the right thing and makes a good faith effort to resolve these claims quickly, which is in the best interest of the City and the victims,” he said.

City spokesperson Constance Farrell said in a statement that the City has retained Praesidium, an outside consultant, to review the policies and practices of current youth programs to ensure that best practices for preventing incidents of abuse are in place throughout City programs.

“The City of Santa Monica is committed to responding to the allegations related to the charges formerly brought against Eric Uller with transparency and accountability,” Farrell said. “The City will carefully review the claims submitted today.”

This article was updated Feb. 13 at 9:04 a.m.

madeleine@smdp.com

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