|Home||Special Reports||Archive||Links||The City||Commerce||About||Contacts||Editor||Send PR|
More Child Molestation Cases Filed Against City
By Jorge Casuso
October 7, 2021 -- Less than two months after the City Council approved a $54.9 million settlement with 61 alleged child molestation victims of a former City employee, another 11 cases have been filed.
The cases were placed on next Tuesday's closed session agenda, then removed at the request of staff, according to an updated agenda posted Thursday.
The new cases brings to nearly 100 the total number of individuals who have alleged they were sexually abused by Eric Uller while participating in the Santa Monica Police Activities League (PAL) program from around 1987 through at least 2004.
The City -- which faced a fiscal crisis during the coronavirus shutdown last year -- has already paid a total of $97.5 million in settlements to the alleged victims.
According to City officials, most of the money has been paid from the City's general fund.
Last Thursday, the City sued half a dozen insurance companies that allegedly failed to help pay more than $100 million in legal expenses related to the cases ("City Sues Insurance Companies Over Child Molestation Claim Expenses," October 1, 2021).
"Since 2018, the City has faced complex litigation involving claims by over one hundred individuals," according to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.
"Left without the Defendants’ assistance, the City has been, and continues to be, wrongfully forced to spend over $100 million dollars of its own much needed resources in defending against and resolving claims in the PAL/Uller Litigation."
The lawsuit asks the judge to order the companies to meet their obligations and seeks damages and other relief for the "harm caused" by breaching their contracts with the City.
The lawsuit summarizes the allegations made by the more than 80 plaintiffs who have been paid by the City.
"All of the underlying claimants who have come forward to date, allege that PAL and the City are liable because their negligent supervision and retention of Uller (a former civilian employee of the Santa Monica Police Department) allowed Uller to sexually abuse them," the lawsuit states.
Most of the claimants allege that Uller "would abuse them after misstating that he could provide a physical required for participation in PAL programs or activities, or activities conducted in and around PAL facilities, while they were confined in his vehicle, his father’s medical office, or his apartment and restrained by threats."
Uller -- a systems analyst for the Information Services Department who worked in the Public Safety building -- committed suicide in November 2018, three weeks after his arrest ("Uller Found Dead in Apparent Suicide," November 15, 2018).
The first round of settlements with some two dozen individuals was approved by the City Council on March 10, 2020 and totaled $42.6 million ("Santa Monica to Pay $42.6 Million to Alleged Victims of Sexual Abuse," March 10, 2020).
The second involving 61 individuals was approved by the Council on August 24, 2021 ("Council Votes to Pay Alleged Child Molestation Victims Another $54.9 Million," August 25, 2021).
Dave Ring -- a pioneer in sexual abuse litigation who represented most of the alleged victims -- said the City's total payout is likely the largest child molestation settlement against a city employee in U.S. history.
Most of the alleged victims were Latino boys between the ages of 12 and 15 from the Pico Neighborhood, according to Ring. The youngest was eight.
|copyrightCopyright 1999-2021 surfsantamonica.com. All Rights Reserved.||Disclosures|