Intern: My porn-filled life inside Pugh’s inner circle

Robert Snell
The Detroit News

Detroit — Former Detroit City Council President Pugh subjected his 14-year-old personal assistant to unwanted sexual advances and regularly played pornographic movies while the teen cleaned his house, according to a federal court filing.

The allegations in a sworn affidavit by Nathaniel Hill add a new layer of intrigue to a civil lawsuit filed in federal court. Pugh and Detroit Public Schools are being sued by another male teen, identified in court records as “K.S.” who alleges that Pugh offered cash for sex while leading a mentoring program at Frederick Douglass Academy. The student was then 17.

Hill could testify later this month about behind-the-scenes life with Pugh, a television broadcaster and politician who resigned in disgrace and fled Detroit after sexual allegations aired two years ago.

Lawyers for “K.S.” want Hill to testify during a trial starting Oct. 13 to bolster allegations Pugh has a history of inappropriate relationships with school-aged boys.

“It was clear to me that Mr. Pugh was attracted to teenaged males,” Hill, now 22, wrote in a sworn affidavit. “I saw him pursue young men on several occasions and in various ways. Frequently he was manipulative. Mr. Pugh made it clear that he believed he could attract any young man he set his sights on.”

Hill is currently serving at least 11 years in state prison for carjacking, felony firearm and other charges.

Pugh’s lawyer did not respond to a message seeking comment Monday.

In the affidavit, Hill chronicles an alleged working relationship with Pugh that started when he was 14 and a student at Cass Tech.

Hill was hired as an intern/personal assistant while Pugh was still working for WJBK Fox 2 as a broadcaster.

“I drove a car for the job, although I did not have a driver’s license and I was not old enough to obtain a driver’s license, and Mr. Pugh knew this,” Hill wrote.

It is unclear whether Hill drove Pugh’s city vehicle. Pugh was embroiled in a controversy in early 2010 after he waited three days to file a police report about his city vehicle being involved in a one-car crash.

Hill

The crash was the second that month involving a city-owned car and Pugh's staff. On Feb. 12, a 2009 city-owned Ford Focus driven by staffer Samuel D. Stringer was side-swiped by another car downtown, according to a police report. Pugh said a police report was filed immediately after the crash, and Stringer wasn't at fault.

Former Mayor Kenneth Cockrel Jr., who served alongside Pugh on City Council, said he had never heard of Hill.

“That guy’s name doesn’t ring a bell with me at all, nor do I recall seeing somebody that young around the council offices,” Cockrel said Monday. “He could have been paying the guy out of his own pocket or with campaign funds.”

While working for Pugh, Hill said he was paid as much as $300 a week and continued working for Pugh during his City Council campaign and after the 2009 election.

Pugh knew he was only 14 or 15 years old, Hill wrote.

“During my employment with Mr. Pugh, I was in his home frequently,” Hill wrote. “On several occasions pornographic videos were on the computer screen while I was present. It was not unusual for me to come into a room and find pornographic material on Mr. Pugh’s computer and talk to him while the material was visible. Pornography was a frequent backdrop to activities at Mr. Pugh’s home when I was there.

“Many of the actors in the pornography videos were very young and appeared to be adolescent or very young adults,” Hill added. “Some videos depicted group sex. All of the pornography was gay pornography.”

While working for Pugh, Hill said he felt uncomfortable about the way Pugh talked and looked at him.

“Over the months and years, there were a number of small incidents involving body language and/or the way Mr. Pugh spoke to me and/or looked at me that made me uncomfortable because they seemed to be sexual advances,” Hill wrote.

One time, Hill alleges he was present when Pugh interviewed a 19-year-old male who had applied to be Pugh’s housekeeper.

“Mr. Pugh asked the young man if he would feel comfortable working around gay men and asked him if he would be comfortable working topless or in a ‘wife beater’ T-shirt,” Hill wrote.

When Hill was 16, he sent Pugh a photo of himself wearing only underwear and socks, according to the affidavit.

“Can I see more?” Pugh asked, according to the affidavit. “Show me more.”

“When I did not respond to his texts, Mr. Pugh became nervous and asked why I wasn’t responding to him,” Hill wrote.

His relationship with Pugh soon changed, Hill wrote.

“Mr. Pugh gave me fewer work hours and responsibilities,” Hill wrote. “Mr. Pugh also began to give me sums of money randomly. These ranged from $40 to $200 at a time, and were given to me privately with little or no explanation.

“I never became sexually involved with Mr. Pugh and he began giving me fewer and fewer hours to work until I was no longer working for him at all,” Hill added.

Allegations included in the civil lawsuit against Pugh are consistent with his experience, Hill wrote.

“The stories I heard were similar to the experience I had when Mr. Pugh attempted to groom and manipulate me into participating in sexual behavior while I was an underage Detroit Public Schools student,” Hill wrote.

rsnell@detroitnews.com

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