Former Detroit City Council president and ex-TV anchor Charles Pugh admitted to having sex with a minor today and agreed to serve 5 1/2 to 15 years in prison as part of a plea deal he accepted.
Walking into court, Pugh, 45, faced five counts of criminal sexual conduct, including three first-degree charges that carry a maximum life prison sentence and two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
As part of the agreement reached with prosecutors, Pugh pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct today and the other three counts will be dismissed.
Pugh admitted to having sex with a teenager under the age of 16 in 2003 and 2004 while he lived in Detroit during the brief hearing in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice.
He told Wayne County Circuit Judge Thomas Cameron that he was 31 at the time.
Pugh must be on the sex offender registry for life, get sex offender counseling and not have unsupervised contact with minors as part of the agreement.
His accuser testified previously that he met Pugh at the Fox TV (Channel 2) station in March 2003 when Pugh worked there. The man said he started having sex with Pugh later that year when he was 14.
He went to police last year, more than a decade after the alleged incidents, and said he decided he wasn’t going to let Pugh “do this to any other kids.”
The man, now 28, was in court today and spoke with reporters after the hearing.
“I think it’s justice because the most important thing is that people know that he’s a sexual predator,” the victim in the case said. “That parents and people are aware of what happened.”
He said he has no plans to file a civil suit.
Pugh’s victim agreed to let cameras show his face and said he hopes what happened today sends a message to every person that has a liking for people under the age of 18: don’t follow through with actions.
“The shame that he put on myself … he now has to feel that for the rest of his life,” he said.
Pugh, who is in jail on a $150,000 cash bond, had relatives in court today, but his family declined comment leaving the courtroom.
During the hearing last week, Cameron ruled that three other men, who prosecutors contend were groomed by Pugh and solicited for sexual purposes when they were teens, would be able to testify if the case went to trial.
Pugh fled Detroit and his job with the city in 2013 amid another sex scandal. A then-high school student — one of the men on the witness list scheduled to testify — accused Pugh of sexually grooming him during a mentorship program at Frederick Douglass Academy for Young Men in Detroit. Pugh was ordered to pay $250,000 as part of a civil trial.
(Story from Detroit Free Press)