A 50-year-old former Santa Monica Police Athletic League volunteer currently employed by the city was behind bars Friday on suspicion of committing lewd acts with minors in the early 1990s.
Eric Uller was being held in lieu of $2 million bail following his arrest Thursday morning, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Uller, who works for the city of Santa Monica as a systems analyst, has been the subject of an investigation by the sheriff's Special Victims Bureau since June, when detectives received information from the Santa Monica Police Department, officials said.
The case involves the alleged molestation of four boys while Uller was volunteering with the Police Athletic League, according to the Los Angeles Times, which reported that Santa Monica police received an anonymous tip about the alleged lewd acts.
Uller has been placed on administrative leave, The Times reported.
"It's common knowledge here in the Pico neighborhood in Santa Monica that Eric Uller was molesting children," Santa Monica School Board member Oscar de la Torre, who’s also the CEO of Pico Youth Center, said.
The center helps at-risk young people. He told NBC4 he’s spoken to several of Uller's alleged victims.
"He was acting like a police officer. He would wear a badge. He had a radio," de la Torre said.
The victims told investigators it happened in the 1990’s when Uller was a volunteer at the police activities league, which sponsors after school programs. They were 14 and 15 years old at the time.
"He used his position to coerce children, to threaten children, to extract sexual favors for them," de la Torre said.
De la Torre says the city knew or should have known years before an anonymous tip came in this past summer. The city issued this statement:
"We are deeply disturbed by the allegations that led to the arrest of Eric Uller, a city employee, working in the information services department...The city will continue to take all steps to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of youth enrolled in city-sponsored programs."
"You have families impacted by this. You have children right now whose fathers have been impacted. It's generational trauma that this has brought on to our community," he said.
The sheriff's department told NBC4 because there are multiple entities involved, there will be a joint press conference early next week on Uller's arrest.