A former TV personality and president of the Detroit City Council was sentenced Wednesday to up to 15 years in prison for having sex with a 14-year-old boy.
Charles Pugh, a once-popular local figure, told the court “I know I’ve let down a lot of people,” as the judge ordered him to serve 5 ½- to-15 years behind bars.
The 45-year-old pleaded guilty last month to two felony counts of criminal sexual conduct. The plea agreement stipulates Pugh must undergo sex offender counseling and have no contact with minors, the Detroit Free Press reported.
He will remain on the sex offender registry for life.
“I accept full responsibility for my actions,” Pugh said.
Wayne County Circuit Judge Thomas Cameron admonished Pugh, telling him, “You used your celebrity status, and your position of trust, to convince parents to entrust you with their children.”
The judge called Pugh’s crimes “reprehensible.”
Pugh told authorities the illegal sex acts occurred in 2003 and 2004.
Austin Williams, who has spoken publicly, said he met Pugh at the Fox station where Pugh worked in 2003. They began having sex later that year, when he was 14, the paper reported.
“Mr. Pugh wasn’t the decent human being I thought him to be,” the victim’s mother wrote in letter read in court. “Mr. Pugh was the monster I warned my children against.”
Williams, now 28, reported the incidents to police in 2015, more than 10 years after they occurred. He testified he finally came forward because he didn’t want Pugh to “do this to any other kids,” the paper said.
The former local Fox anchor was elected to the Detroit City Council in 2009, but abruptly quit in 2013 and left the city as allegations of sexual misconduct began to surface.
He ended up working as a waiter at a Harlem soul food restaurant.
Another teen filed a federal lawsuit against Pugh, claiming the council president “groomed” him to be a sexual partner while mentoring the boy, who was then 17, as part of a school program.
In 2015, the jury ordered Pugh to pay the young man $250,000. The Detroit school district settled for $350,000, CBS News reported.
The teen alleged that the district didn’t do enough to protect students and gave Pugh extraordinary access to boys.
Criminal charges were not filed in that case.