Judge denies request to drop charges against Pugh
A Wayne County judge denied a request Friday by the attorney representing former Detroit City Council president and broadcast journalist Charles Pugh to dismiss criminal sexual conduct charges against him.
Delphia Burtonargued the statute of limitations had run out on the third-degree charges and that one of the first-degree counts lacked evidence.
Charles Pugh, 45, is charged with five counts of criminal sexual conduct, three first degree and two third degree. One of the third-degree charges was dropped at his preliminary examination in August.
Prosecutors allege Pugh used his position of authority to solicit and entice a 14-year-old boy into an inappropriate sexual relationship between 2003 and 2005.
Burton said Pugh was not in a position of authority and that the teen, whom Pugh met when he toured the WJBK-TV (Channel 2) television station where Pugh worked, did not work for the anchorman.
“(His mother) knew he wasn’t working at Fox 2,” Burton said Friday. “She was just happy he was hanging out with a celebrity.”
Third Circuit Judge Thomas Cameron denied Burton’s request partly concluding the statute of limitations for the lesser counts of criminal sexual conduct didn’t apply because neither Pugh nor his accuser were living in Michigan when the charges were brought. Pugh was arrested in New York City in June. He had been living on the East Coast after leaving Michigan in 2013.
The statute of limitations in third-degree criminal sexual conduct runs out in 10 years or by the alleged victim’s 21st birthday. There is no statute of limitations for first-degree criminal sexual conduct. If found guilty on first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges alone, Pugh could face up to life in prison.
Cameron did grant Burton’s request to have Wayne County prosecutor present two “official” documents verifying the birth date of the man, who is now in his late 20s.
“Age (of the alleged) victim is at the very crux of this case,” Burton said. “It’s basically what this case hinges on.”
In testimony at Pugh’s August preliminary hearing, the man said he began an intimate and sexual relationship with Pugh where he watched a pornographic video with Pugh and ended up at Pugh’s apartment where both engaged in sexual activity.
The man said Pugh told him then, “Don’t tell anybody. I could get into trouble for this.”
The man, who said he is gay, said other times he had sex involving penetration with Pugh.
The man, who now lives out of state, said he saw Pugh as a mentor and someone in his corner and that he was attracted to Pugh because “he was gay; he was successful. He was black from Detroit.”
The man said the sex between Pugh and him was consensual.
Another motion hearing for Pugh will be held before Cameron Oct. 20. A trial is scheduled for Nov. 7.
Pugh is in the Wayne County jail on a $150,000 bond.