DETROIT (WXYZ) - While he was Detroit City Council President, Charles Pugh professed to mentoring young men. Now, he knows he’ll be sued by one of them.
In a court filing made Thursday, Attorney Bill Seikaly says he’ll sue Pugh on behalf of his client, an 18-year-old man that Pugh mentored. He intends to seek damages in excess of $1 million. Also named in the suit is ex-Mayor Dave Bing and the city itself, though it's not immediately clear why he's included as a potential defendant.
It was a 7 Action News Investigation that exposed Pugh’s unusual relationship with the student, who he met at Detroit's Fredrick Douglass Academy while the young man was 17. Pugh gave him cash gifts, clothing and a new cell phone. When 7 Action News contacted Pugh with questions about the gifts, he went on medical leave, fled the state and gave up his job. He hasn’t been seen in Detroit since.
Over the summer, Pugh denied an improper relationship with the young man, but text messages first reported by 7 Action News showed that that was a lie. He offered to pay the young man in exchange for videos of him performing sex acts: “I give $100 for all solo vids,” Pugh wrote in one message. “So if u ever need extra cash keep that in mind.”
"Until we as a society say we won’t tolerate this conduct and here are the consequences for it, I can’t imagine anything to change," Seikaly said.
The texts show that Pugh was afraid of getting caught. In one message, he wrote the young man: “…if anyone finds out about this: I’m dead, so please keep this between us.”
"How do you know he’s not mentoring kids anymore? How do you know what he is doing and isn’t doing?" Seikaly asked. "Our experience with people like this was that unless you’re fairly aggressive, things will continue down the same road."
A call to Pugh’s attorney was not returned. 7 Action News has not been successful so far in reaching former Mayor Bing.