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Number of Plaintiffs Filing Child Molestation Cases Against the City Could Reach 100
By Jorge Casuso
March 9, 2021 -- New child molestation cases involving more than 50 victims are being filed against the City of Santa Monica and the police youth program it runs, according to a prominent attorney involved in the litigation.
David Ring -- who won a $42.6 million settlement against the City and the local Police Activities League (PAL) last March -- said he represents approximately 20 of the plaintiffs in the nine new cases the City Council will discuss in closed session Tuesday.
Five or six other attorneys are expected to file similar lawsuits representing another 30 plaintiffs, Ring said.
That would bring to nearly 100 the total number of children allegedly molested by Eric Uller, a City employee and PAL volunteer, who killed himself three weeks after his arrest in October 2018 ("Uller Found Dead in Apparent Suicide," November 15, 2018).
The total number of alleged victims includes the more than 40 plaintiffs in the settlement between Ring and the City the Council unanimously approved on March 10, 2020 ("Santa Monica to Pay $42.6 Million to Alleged Victims of Sexual Abuse," March 10, 2020).
"This guy Uller was doing these crimes for 20-plus years," said Ring, a pioneer in sexual abuse cases. "It's not gotten the media coverage.
"It's one of the largest number of victims we've seen," said Ring, who has been prosecuting molestation cases for more than 30 years. "It's incredible."
Most of the victims were Latino youth living in the Pico Neighborhood when the were allegedly molested by Uller beginning around 1987, he said.
Most were between the ages of 12 and 15, Ring said. The youngest was eight.
"There's overwhelming evidence the City knew about it and gave him free rein," Ring said. "The complaints went all the way to the top and nothing was done."
Uller's suicide in his Marina del Rey apartment on November 15, 2018 is evidence of his guilt, Ring said.
"The circumstances of his death point to the fact that he did it," Ring said. "Everyone is operating on the assumption that he did it."
The City issued he following statement in response to a request for comment.
"Child sexual abuse is a horrific and heartbreaking crime," the statement read.
"As with previous allegations related to the charges formerly brought against Eric Uller, these are the subject of pending litigation.
"We will be reviewing the claims with City Council in closed session," the statement concluded.
Councilmember Oscar de la Torre, who has been involved in past efforts to bring Uller to justice, said he would recuse himself from the issue.
There have been few molestation cases with more alleged victims than the Santa Monica cases and they have drawn widespread media attention.
Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics national team doctor, was accused in 2015 of sexually assaulting at least 265 young women and girls dating back to 1992.
Nassar, who admitted to 10 of those accusations, is serving what amounts to life in prison.
In 2019, former University of Southern California gynecologist George Tyndall was accused of sexually abusing hundreds of his patients.
The Los Angeles County district attorney's office charged Tyndall with committing 29 criminal felonies while treating student patients from 2009 to 2016.
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