Lawyer Claims Charles Pugh Had Improper Relationship With Teen He Mentored
DETROIT (WWJ) - Charles Pugh was still unaccounted for as an attorney held a press conference Wednesday afternoon claiming the Detroit City Council President had an inappropriate relationship with a student.
Ivan Land, an Oak Park attorney representing the teen’s mother, claims Pugh took the student off campus in a city car and bought him gifts.
Land said he intends to sue Detroit Public Schools on claims the district should have done more to protect the boy, who was 17 when he met Pugh at the start of the 2012 school year.
Pugh was her son’s mentor through a leadership program he ran at Frederick Douglass Academy for Young Men, Land said, adding that the pair exchanged texts and talked on the phone.
“I have text messages to substantiate some of the things I am telling you … DPS had a duty to protect my client. He was sent to school to learn,” Land said, adding that he would not be releasing the text messages at this time.
Skip Mongo, a spokesman for the boy’s family, alleged Pugh attempted a sexual relationship with the teen.
“He was in a position of authority and he tried to seduce this young man,” Mongo said.
Unflattering reports, rumor and speculation have been swirling in the city since Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr gave Pugh until 5 p.m. Wednesday to appear in council chambers or lose his job.
This all comes — after skipping several council sessions — Pugh on Tuesday requested a four-week-long medical leave — which Orr rejected.
Earlier Wednesday, a Detroit Public Schools spokesman confirmed they’ve received a complaint that Pugh allegedly gifted money, clothes, and a mobile phone to her teenage son.
In an email to WWJ Newsradio 950, schools spokesman Steve Wasko said a parent of a recent Douglass Academy graduate approached the school with concerns regarding her son’s mentor — whom the mother, in a TV interview, identified as Pugh. Wasko said the school reached out to the mother who said she’d prefer to handle the matter personally. He said the district has since contacted her again, and is awaiting a response.
Pugh — who is usually very active on social media — deactivated both his Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Even his friends say they can’t get a hold of him.
Pugh’s personal trainer Christian Wallace told WWJ’s Zahra Huber that, after Pugh missed paid training sessions this week, he got a little worried. Wallace said even Pugh’s phone has been disconnected.
Wallace says Pugh needs to come back and face the music.
“Come home! Come address the city,” Wallace said. “This is a city that he loves; people here love him and, you know, they would love to hear what’s going on.”
“Not only me — there’s a lot of people out here that are definitely concerned and hoping that he is OK,” Wallace added. “If he did just come out and just say, ‘I’m here and I’m OK and this is what it is,’ I think that everyone would feel … a lot better about that.”
Wallace said he is confident Detroit will hear from Pugh soon — and that speculation will only increase otherwise.
Wallace calls Pugh a “leader” and “no-nonsense” kind of guy.
Stay with WWJ and CBSDetroit.com for the latest.