Court sets Charles Pugh's bond at $500K

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News
Former Detroit City Council president Charles Pugh stands for his video arraignment Tuesday in 36th District Court in Detroit.

Detroit — A thinner and grim-faced former Detroit City Council president Charles Pugh was formally arraigned Tuesday on criminal charges in connection with a criminal sexual conduct case involving a then-14-year-old boy.

The allegations stem from a case more than a decade ago.

Pugh, 44, appeared for a video arraignment from the Detroit Detention Center in 36th District Court wearing beige jail inmate clothing.

A $500,000 cash bond was given to Pugh and a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf. There was no attorney present to represent Pugh, also a former popular local television anchor and reporter.

He was charged with three counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree and three counts of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree. He will be sent to the Wayne County Jail on Tuesday night.

Pugh is due back in court for a probable case conference July 19 and a preliminary hearing July 26.

Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Danielle Bennetts, who handled the case, asked 36th Magistrate Millicent Sherman to deny bond to Pugh. Bennetts said Pugh was a flight risk because he failed to show up for a recent federal trial for the lawsuit of a man who sued Pugh involving a relationship with the former Detroit city council president and that his life is now in New York.

Bennetts said Pugh “likes to avoid prosecution” and no longer has ties to Detroit.

Pugh was extradited Thursday from his New York City jail cell to Detroit. Prosecutors say Pugh had sexually inappropriate behavior with a teenaged boy starting in 2003 when Pugh was a reporter and anchor for Detroit TV station WJBK. The alleged victim, now, 27, was 14 and 15 years old at the time, according to authorities.

Pugh met the 14-year-old in June 2003, when the boy was at the news station performing with a local theater group. The teenager asked Pugh about an internship and they exchanged numbers, according to authorities. Though the teen never worked an internship for Fox 2, Pugh kept in contact and allegedly began inviting the teen to his Detroit apartment that summer as they communicated via phone and text messages.

Pugh was elected to Detroit’s City Council in 2009, but quit in 2013. He left Detroit for New York City.

“Despite what the defendant has meant to the city in the past, and the positive work he did here, we cannot and will not turn a blind eye to these alleged facts,” Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement when charges were announced.

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