City of Santa Monica Demanded to Pay Out Millions

City of Santa Monica Demanded to Pay Out Millions

Faith Spalding, Editor-In-Chief

The city of Santa Monica has settled lawsuit after lawsuit throughout the past several months, bringing total payouts to over $295 million dollars. The cause? Eric Uller, a former “public servant” famed for his compassionate police work in the Police Activities League, being both a friend and support source for underprivileged youth. He even let kids have a ride in his unmarked police car, as neighborhood friend groups would beg to take turns.

But this facade has been broken after over 200 victims have come forward saying they were horrifically, sexually abused by the Uller. Not only did Uller destroy children’s innocence and livelihood, but his abuse completely disproportionately affected children from low income families and underprivileged living situations. 

Uller was initially arrested in 2018 after an intense investigation by the Los Angeles Special Victims Unit, the charge being “lewd acts with teenage boys.” Uller died by suicide shortly after being charged with molesting 4 teenage boys and as such, was unable to be properly prosecuted and face the full extent of the justice system. But the numbers kept growing- soon more than 23 victims had come forward, some cases dating all the way back to 1989. 

The majority of his victims were teenage boys, many of whom he was able to pray on due to his access to an unmarked police car through the Police Activities League. According to David King, one of the several attorneys representing Uller’s victims, “The police department and city had repeated warnings and reports of his horrendous behavior.” Former employees of the city of Santa Monica who were interviewed during the 2018 investigation of Fuller alleged they had repeatedly reported misconduct with minors, as well as access to a police car despite not being employed by the LAPD. Even worse, top officials within the department were aware of this unfettered access, and did nothing to stop Uller for years. 

Retired Lt. Greg Slaughter, Uller’s former boss, even reported Uller to his bosses for “driving young boys all over town,” and after child pornography was found on computers in the Police Department Communication Center, the report led to “Eric Uller.”

Time and time again, there were disastrous issues involving Uller, many of which would now be considered beyond major, yet they were able to fly under the radar. There’s a clear pattern shown within Uller’s abuse that was even noticed by his superiors, yet his behaviors continued with no punishment. Innocent children, coming from already at risk situations, were exposed to the worst horrors possible, with the man who abused them being awarded the 1999 “Employee of the Year” award from the Santa Monica Police. The horrific, systemic neglect that allowed for hundreds of children’s childhood to be shattered deserves as much attention as possible to prevent a continuation of normalized, hushed up abuse.