DOJ complaint: School officials ignored warnings about Charles Pugh seducing students

Charles Pugh

Detroit Public Schools officials, including the state-appointed emergency manager, ignored warnings that then-City Council President Charles Pugh was trying to seduce male students and allowed him to continue mentoring teenage boys, according to a complaint filed with the Department of Justice.

Pugh disappeared in June 2013 after the mother of a DPS teenager told police that the council president lavished her 16-year-old boy with gifts. A lawsuit was filed, and text messages later showed that Pugh gave the student $16o for a nude video.

Then-DPS School Board President LaMar Lemmons said he initially warned Emergency Manager Roy Roberts that Pugh “was a potential risk to students” after the council president was spotted at the Detroit Opera House on a date with a student.

“The EM shrugged his shoulders,” Lemmons said, adding that the EM dismissed him “as a homophobic troglodyte.”

The complaint alleges that Roberts’ dismissive attitude “allowed Pugh his pick of hundreds of students” as he continued to mentor teenage boys.

How Council President Charles Pugh fell from grace

The allegations were part of a much larger Section VI complaint filed by Maryland-based Go Left America, which claimed the state and Gov. Rick Snyder deprived students of an education with reckless budget cuts.

To read the complaint, click here.

Here’s a sampling of Pugh’s texts to the teen, as we reported in December 2013:

“I wanna see your body. Front and back. So the video has to show everything. lol. #EVERYTHING.”

“Strip down, then set up the cam, then walk around a little bit…Lemme know and I’ll bring your cash when I get the iPod. Please erase these messages bro.”

“Truth is: I’ve had a crush on u all year!! I just couldn’t say or do anything about it until now.”

“Dude, if anyone finds out about this: I’m dead. So please keep this between us.”

“I pay MORE for solos lol. $125 for solos and $150 if u shoot the vid over here…”

“what we talk about is private. Becuz if I can really trust u then I really wanna help u ALOT. (thru college and everything). You’ll always have money in your pocket.”

After the mother caught on, Pugh texted:

“Tell your mom to call me. We can work something out. This is crazy. I just wanted to help you :-(”

“I’ll do anything bro. This will bring down everything. I’ve work to do and how I want to help this city. PLEASE. I just wanted to help.”

Two weeks later, Pugh disappeared.


Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • el tortuga

    We have male guards in female prisons, female guards in male prison……it’s just a logical extension to have perverts mentoring boys.
    Why haven’t charges been brought and this sick person arrested.
    On a somewhat different angle., where is otis mathis these days? I never think of DPS without thinking of otis AND “reverend” david murray. Is this a great city, or what?

  • Rich Gibson

    Great job, as usual, Steve, This stuff goes way back, even before Otis Mathis.

  • Mike C

    This blows my mind how the city and state let this slide. It’s like they were worried about what it would look like going after a gay minority. Pugh should be in prison.

    • javierjuanmanuel

      If they moved quickly the social justice warriors would ask for peoples heads.

      They would lose their job, and publicly be branded a racist and homophobe.

      They create situations you cannot win.

      You stand to lose years of work, half your friends, half your family, maybe suffer actual violence, your family will get death threats. You may gave to move. I would say there is a 20% chance you could end up bankrupt then a year later divorced.

      Alternative is a whoops, sorry kid, sorry that dude raped you. So unfortunate. Ohh well.

  • Klann Killa

    You’ve got a known homosexual, and now pedophile in a ALL boys school as A MENTOR of all things WTF did you think was gonna happen? ANYONE who had ANY influence in letting this creep roam freely around young boys should immediately be removed from their positions, get the pants sued off of them ( no pun intended), and be placed in one of our fine correctional facilities so now they can know what it’s like to be propositioned by bigger, much stronger men. From what I’ve heard, rejection is not an option. How long do you think a person with a “lust” for opiates would be working in the Rite Aid pharmacy? This was inevitable, and it’s not rocket science, and why isn’t Pugh on an “iron vacation”? He hasn’t answered yet for what he’s done.

    • javierjuanmanuel

      The all boys school was over the top. The gay angle made people bite their tongues. It is equally suspicious as a straight male who volunteers, mentors, hangs out alone in cars and at his home with exclusively the hottest females at the all girl school.

      Nevermind texting, Shopping, hanging out, going on what is essentially dates, all with 15 year old girls, that look like crazy hot 22 year old girls.

      How many times does the 40 year old dude come to pick up your 15 year old, long legged, dd cup 15 year old daughter before your creep radar goes off.

      This was crazy stuff.

      • Klann Killa

        That 40 year old dude would get his skull cracked like an eggshell in my driveway. No bullshit. ? Peace ✌?️

        • Mike C

          If a straight man did this is an all girls school he’d already be in prison.

          • Klann Killa

            At the very least, if a straight male were ACCUSED, he’d be looking for another job. The school would cut ties so fast…..(fill in the blank)