Jury awards $250K to man in suit against ex-Detroit leader
DETROIT (AP) — A jury on Monday awarded $250,000 to a young man who accused a former Detroit City Council member of sexually harassing him while he was in office and serving as a mentor.
The jury found that Charles Pugh had inflicted emotional distress when he offered money to the former student to make a sexually explicit video. The young man, now 20, was a teen at the time.
Pugh was also found liable on a claim of battery, while a sexual harassment allegation was decided in his favor.
The young man said Pugh was making sexual advances while serving as his mentor at Douglass Academy in 2012.
Pugh quit city government in 2013 and moved to New York when the allegations surfaced, saying he was embarrassed. He didn’t attend the civil trial in U.S. District Court, but testimony from a recorded deposition was played for the jury.
Pugh denied touching the young man, known as K.S., but admitted to sending sexually explicit texts about making a video. Police investigated but no charges were filed.
The young man asked the jury for as much as $1.5 million. The Detroit school district was also part of the lawsuit but agreed to settle for $350,000.
“It wasn’t a huge verdict,” the man’s attorney, William Seikaly, said. “I think (Pugh) will go out and celebrate. Why the jury did that? I don’t know.”
Pugh’s attorney, Marc Deldin, told jurors that K.S. and Pugh “both made voluntary decisions.”
“K.S. is a good man. He’ll get over this. He is not a victim,” Deldin said.