Pugh's whereabouts unknown, allegations of inappropriate relationship with 17-year old boy

Jun 27, 2013

This past Tuesday, Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh was absent for his second straight week of council sessions. His whereabouts for the last few days have been unknown and his public Facebook and Twitter pages were taken down last week.

Recently, Pugh is facing allegations that he had an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year old male student he mentored.

Joe Guillen and Matt Helms of the Detroit Free Press reported that Pugh’s office issued a memo saying that the Council President would be on medical leave for three to four weeks.

The Freep reports Detroit’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, didn't accept Pugh's request because he doesn't have the authority to grant a leave of absence to elected officials.

Orr gave Pugh a 5 p.m. deadline to return to work yesterday, but Pugh did not show up.

In regards to the allegations that Pugh had an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year old he mentored, Jennifer Chamber, Christine Macdonald and Christine Ferretti of the Detroit News reported the following:

The attorney, Ivan Land, accused Pugh of buying a then-17-year-old at Frederick Douglass Academy a $350 cellphone, clothes for the prom and gave him $160 in cash. The two met last fall through a leadership program Pugh led at the school.

“It went way past what a teacher-student relationship consists of,” said Land, at a press conference in his Oak Park office. “(The mother) realized that Charles Pugh was taking her kid out of school (alone). She was very upset.”

When asked repeatedly about the relationship, Land would only say it was an “inappropriate relationship” and the district should have done more to protect the boy.

Family spokesman Skip Mongo told reporters Pugh “was in a position of authority and he tried to seduce this young man.”

A lawsuit could be filed within days, the attorney said. The accusations came the same day Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr began the process of stripping Pugh of his $76,000 salary and duties and title as council president. Pugh has been away from City Hall for about 10 days and sought a four-week medical leave on Tuesday.

The report continued to indicate that Pugh began to harass the mother of the 17-year old student.

“It started with a inappropriate relationship with the son but it spilled over into harassment of the mother,” said Mongo, a Detroit political consultant. “The telephone calls all through the night, text messages, emails, after she begged this man to stop. He wanted her not to talk to anyone, media or the authorities. She wanted her son left alone.”

- Julia Field, Michigan Radio Newsroom