Statement from Mayor Ted Winterer

October 30, 2018

Statement from Mayor Ted Winterer

The recent arrest of a City employee has raised legitimate concern in our community, from this Council and from our City staff, so I want to provide a brief announcement on what we know and are able to share. Our hearts go out to anyone impacted by these deeply disturbing circumstances.  And I want to acknowledge the bravery of any and all victims that come forward to report sexual misconduct.

Earlier this year, the Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) received an anonymous tip about an alleged crime involving Mr. Eric Uller, a city employee, working in the Information Services Department.  Our Police immediately followed up and was able to identify the victim.  To ensure a completely independent investigation, the information was immediately turned over to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Special Victims Unit for investigation.  The Sheriffs Special Victims Unit pursued the investigation; and, on Thursday, the Sheriff’s Department arrested Mr. Uller. 

Last week, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office filed criminal charges.  Mr. Uller is charged with six counts alleging illegal sexual conduct with four minors, three under the age of 14 and one under the age of 18.  The illegal conduct is alleged to have occurred between December 1986 and September 1995, while Mr. Uller was volunteering with the City’s Police Activities League (PAL) program.  Mr. Uller’s arraignment on the charges was postponed to November 5, and he is currently being held in custody, with bail set at $750,000.  The District Attorney’s Office has stated that the criminal investigation remains ongoing.

Mr. Uller was placed on administrative leave immediately upon his arrest, pending resolution of the charges.  The City will continue to cooperate fully with the Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s Office as the matter proceeds.  We encourage anyone with information related to this investigation to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Special Victims Bureau, at (877) 710-5273 or by email at specialvictimsbureau@lasd.org.  The Special Victims Bureau contact information is also posted on the City website.   

Our unwavering focus as a City is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of each and every one of the thousands of young people who participate in the City’s youth programs in our libraries, parks, community centers and school campuses.  From what we know right now, the reported incidents are alleged to have taken place two decades ago.  Nonetheless, we are actively reviewing our current procedures and records to be sure we are doing everything we can to give parents and community members confidence in our vigilance and reporting procedures.

Over the last several days, there have been allegations that the City may have been aware of criminal conduct by Mr. Uller and failed in the past to address it.  We take this concern seriously.  We are committed to transparency and accountability. The City Attorney's Office has retained outside counsel to conduct a comprehensive investigation of these allegations. The City is also conducting a comprehensive review of the procedures in place to protect youth participants of the PAL program. 

As your mayor, as a fellow community member, and as a parent I’m devastated by the events that unfolded over past several days. We will strive to find all the facts while continuing to cooperate with all elements of law enforcement, protect the civil and human rights of all concerned, and work to ensure our community is stronger and healthier because of our efforts. 

 

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