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Uller Found Dead in Apparent Suicide
By Jorge Casuso
November 15, 2018 -- Former Santa Monica City employee Eric Uller -- who faced charges he molested teenage boys as a youth volunteer -- was found dead in his Marina del Rey apartment Thursday.
Los Angeles Police responded to a call at 8:35 Thursday concerning a death investigation on the 4700 block of Lincoln Boulevard, according to LAPD media relations.
According to a statement issued by the City early Thursday afternoon "initial indications are that it appears to be a suicide."
"The City was shocked to receive this news," the statement said. "Mr. Uller had been expected to appear in court this morning on the criminal charges previously filed against him. The court was also advised of his death."
Uller, 50, pleaded not guilty last week to charges he sexually abused children as a Police Activities League (PAL) volunteer two decades ago.
He posted bail last Tuesday, and City officials announced he was no longer an employee, although they declined to say whether he had resigned or been fired.
Uller was charged 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, according to the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office.
The charges involved four victims who participated at PAL in the 1990s ("Santa Monica City Employee Charged with Five Counts of Sexual Crimes," October 23, 2018).
Since Uller's arrest last month, six more alleged victims have come forward., according to the LA County Sheriff's Department.
The incidents took place from the late 80s until possibly 2010, when Uller had access to hundreds of children as a PAL volunteer, according to the Sheriff's department.
The City announced last month it was launching an internal investigation into allegations City officials were warned about Uller's behavior and took no action ("Santa Monica City Officials Take Additional Actions as Sexual Assault Crisis Expands," October 25, 2018).
In addition to hiring the law firm Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo, the City announced Thursday that it is hiring outside consultant, Praesidium, Inc.
The firm will "review the policies and practices of its youth programs and provide guidance on best practices for preventing any future incidents of abuse."
The City "remains committed to conducting a review of the policies and practices of the many youth programs funded and operated by the City, including PAL," officials said.
"Through criminal acts by some and negligent, irresponsible behavior by others, many children in our community have been permanently injured," said de la Torre, who heads the Pico Youth and Family Center.
"The journey towards healing must include justice, accountability and transparency. So far the elected and appointed leaders of the City of Santa Monica have set up road blocks and we hope that they will change."
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