DETROIT (WXYZ) - Speculation is rising that the sudden absence of Detroit City Council's President is tied to allegations that he had inappropriate contact with a teenager who was part of his mentoring program at the Frederick Douglass Academy for Young Men, a Detroit public school.
Charles Pugh, a former TV anchorman who drew the highest number of votes to become Council President, still appears to be in hiding since Tuesday when he sent a four-line memo to the city's Emergency Manager indicating that he would be taking a month-long medical leave.
The leave was quickly denied.
7 Action News has learned that the same day at 9:38 a.m., the Assistant Principal for the Douglass Academy sent the teenager's mother an email that reads as follows:
Detroit Public Schools, and specifically Frederick Douglass Academy would like to assist you with your concerns about the Charles Pugh Mentoring Program.
In lieu of our last conversation, I wanted to reach out to you once again and lend my support. I would like to personally offer my assistance to you and reiterate that your parental concerns are noted and have not been forgotten.
I would like to meet with you and all parties involved to bring a resolution to this situation. What would be a good time for us to meet and resolve your concerns?
Detroit Public Schools
Frederick Douglass Academy for Young Men
Attorneys representing the teen's family say the boy's mother did not respond to the email.
Attorneys Ivan Land and Deano C. Ware suspect the school was more interested in trying to keep the mother quiet than getting to the bottom of what they say was inappropriate contact Pugh had with the teenager that included gifts, money and pulling the boy out of school without parental permission.
"I believe Mr. Pugh is trying to avoid talking to us. We will subpoena Mr. Pugh," said Land.
"They decided since they couldn't ignore it, we will control it," added Ware.
The attorneys anticipate including text messages between Pugh and the teen in the lawsuit they plan to file next week.
7 Action News contacted the assistant principal by phone. She declined to comment, but a spokesperson for Detroit Public Schools released the following statement:
Detroit Public Schools is committed to the safety and well-being of its students. Whenever a parent concern is raised about an activity within our schools, the district takes it seriously and investigates accordingly. Upon learning of the specific concerns of the parent in this incident, the DPS Office of General Counsel initiated an investigation, which is on-going.