DETROIT (WWJ) – The attorney for a mother who claims embattled Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh had an inappropriate relationship with her teenage son says the case is strikingly similar to that of convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky.
Deano Ware is set to file a multi-count civil complaint against Pugh in Wayne County Circuit Court on Monday. In the complaint, Ware says that Pugh — an unmarried, openly gay man — strategically targeted a 17-year-old boy he met at the Frederick Douglass Academy in Detroit through a mentoring program he ran at the all-boys school. He says the pattern is similar to Sandusky’s.
“As part of us preparing the complaint I did look at the complaint that was filed in the Jerry Sandusky and Penn State University case, and I’m telling you honestly as an attorney, a lot of the same things that were mentioned or that we saw in that case is what I’m seeing here in this situation with Mr. Pugh,” Ware told WWJ’s Charlie Langton.
“There was a school/university involved, there was a young man’s mentoring program involved by the predator in that case, Mr. Sandusky, there were gifts, there were trips and there were other privileges bestowed on the individuals that he targeted,” he added.
And the similarities apparently don’t end there.
“Our complaint is going toward an individual that was targeted or apparently was being groomed and that is the same hallmarks that we saw in the Jerry Sandusky case. I don’t know if there’s a predator playbook out there that these types of individuals get this from, but there are a lot of similarities,” he said.
Ware said he has text messages that support his position, and Pugh knows it.
“The text messages are very damaging. The text messages are going to speak for themselves when they’re revealed,” he said. “Charles Pugh has these text messages on his phone. So, if Charles Pugh is listening to all of this, Charles Pugh can come forward with his text messages and let everyone know what’s in there or what’s not in there.”
As far as a possible sexual relationship existing between Pugh and the teen, Ware said the lawsuit will speak for itself.
“There was inappropriate conduct. There was an inappropriate relationship with a minor,” he said. “I haven’t said [there was a sexual relationship] at this point, but I think you’ll be able to answer that question when you see the complaint on Monday.”
Ware said it’s just a civil case for now, but that doesn’t mean criminal charges won’t emerge.
“The only thing I’ll say about criminal charges at this point is that we are willing to cooperate with any criminal authorities that come to us and ask to speak with our client and his mother,” he said. “Whether there’s going to be enough for any criminal charges, that’s something that might not be revealed until we’re further into discovery in the civil case.”
While Ware is only representing one student, he thinks others could have fallen prey to Pugh.
“All I know is this program has been going on since 2010 and there’s usually a pattern when you deal with individuals with this type of conduct. Every individual that’s ever engaged in this type of conduct has had their first person, right? They all had number one that they did the test run on,” he said.
“Obviously, if there’s other individuals involved in this program or other young men, then I would suggest, personally as a parent and as an attorney, that their parents speak with them and that they question them and question them specifically. Because sometimes in these situations, young men are told ‘Oh, there’s nothing wrong with this, there’s nothing wrong with that. You don’t have to tell your parents about that.’ And so it behooves us as adults that we speak to them and ask them specific questions,” he added.
Pugh hasn’t been seen or heard from for the last several days, so WWJ has been unable to reach him for comment. Ware said he’s not worried about Pugh being MIA when the lawsuit is filed.
“I’m not worried about that. Lawyers deal with that all the time, so I’m not worried about that at all. When we need to find him, we’ll either find him or we’ll let the court know he’s hiding,” he said.
The lawsuit is the latest in recent troubles for Pugh, who was stripped of his pay and authority after being a no-show at recent council meetings. The last Pugh was publically heard from was when he requested a four-week medical leave earlier this week, which was denied by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.