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.

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