Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

Santa Monica Real Estate Company ROQUE & MARK Co.

Home Special Reports Archive Links The City Commerce About Contacts Editor Send PR

Council to Take Up 38 More Child Sex Abuse Cases


Bob Kronovetrealty
We Love Property Management Headaches!

Welcome to Santa Monica.  Good Vibes Start Here.

Santa Monica College
1900 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 434-4000



By Jorge Casuso

April 5, 2024 -- One year after the City Council announced the closing of a "sad chapter in Santa Monica history," it will take up sexual abuse cases on Tuesday filed on behalf of 38 additional plaintiffs.

The new cases will be discussed during closed session after the City has paid nearly $230 million in settlements to 229 plaintiffs who claim they were sexually abused as children by former City employee Eric Uller ("Council Votes to Settle Remaining Sexual Abuse Cases for $122.5 Million," April 25, 2023).

"We're buried," said Mayor Phil Brock. "We have a Santa Monica lawyer trolling for clients.

"It's very serious," he said, noting that any future settlements would need to be paid with funding for City programs. "I thought we were done last year, and we're not."

Attorney Catherine Lerer, whose firm McGee Lerer & Associates represents the current plaintiffs, filed the first lawsuit two months after the Council approved a second settlement amount totaling $122.5 million on April 25, 2023.

That lawsuit, representing 18 plaintiffs, was filed on June 27, 2023, the deadline for a California extension granted due to the coronavirus shutdown, Lerer said.

The other case the Council will take up Tuesday represents 20 plaintiffs, all of whom are under the age of 40 and fall within the statue of limitations that applies to childhood sexual abuse victims, Lerer said.

Lerer, who could file claims for another 15 potential plaintiffs, said she is "aware of about 50 plaintiffs represented by other attorneys" who also could file claims.

Over the past year, Lerer has been pursuing potential clients who allege they were abused by Uller between the late 1980s and early 2000s while he was volunteering at the City's Police Activities League (PAL).

"Did Eric Uller drive your child home from Santa Monica Police Activities League (PAL) between the late 1980s and early 2000s?" a display ad in a local Santa Monica paper asks.

"Most victims kept it a secret from their loved ones, even to this day. Your loved one could be eligible for compensation. There may still be time to file a claim."

While the ad reaches potential clients in Santa Monica, many of Lerer's clients called after national media reported the settlements last April and an investigation appeared shortly after in the LA Times.

"Many of them have moved from Santa Monica," Lerer said. "They don't want to be reminded.

"My ads don't reach those," she said. "There could be a lot more."

Most of Uller's alleged victims were Latino boys between the ages of 12 and 15 from the Pico Neighborhood, according to Dave Ring, who represented most of the plaintiffs in the second settlement. The youngest was eight.

Uller -- who committed suicide three weeks after his arrest -- is alleged to have engaged in sexual abuse almost exclusively with boys, but Lerer says that eleven of her 53 current and potential clients were girls.

The average age child sexual abuse victims come forward, Lerer said, is when they are in their fifties.

Uller's alleged victims, Lerer said, "thought they were the only ones. They felt ashamed, they felt guilty, they were afraid they could get into trouble. Almost every male victim was terrified they would be labeled gay."

Back to Lookout News copyrightCopyright 1999-2024 All Rights Reserved. EMAIL Disclosures