DETROIT (WJBK) - Former Detroit City Council President and FOX 2 anchor Charles Pugh will spend the next five to 15 years in prison after a judge accepted a plea deal reached Tuesday.
Pugh made the deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to two counts of third degree criminal sexual conduct. He admitted in court that he had sex with a teenage boy.
In exchange for the plea, three rape charges were dropped. If convicted on those charges, he could have gotten life in prison.
Pugh admitted to having sex with the teen from 2003 to 2005 while he was making a name for himself in the city, anchoring at FOX 2, and eventually winning a city council seat in 2009.
Pugh's dramatic fall as a public figure is astounding for a man who once seemed destined for greatness.
"I pray for not only the families that may have been affected by this situation with Charles Pugh - I'll pray for Charles," childhood friend 'Reggie Reg' Davis said.
For 30 years, Davis was on the radio in Detroit. He grew up with Pugh and both had big dreams that they achieved in Detroit.
"We stood together in the lockers at Murray Wright High School talking about - I have a dream, I want to do radio, you're going to do TV, let's do it, let's conquer. And we went ahead and it happened," Davis said.
The sky was the limit for Pugh, it appeared. His drive and success seemed to defy the odds.
From a difficult upbringing that included his mother murdered when he was three and his father's suicide four years later. He was raised by his grandparents and was not only a successful journalist for 10 years, he then left FOX 2 to serve the City of Detroit.
In 2009, he was elected City Council President and served as a mentor to teenage boys.
"Charles Pugh called me and I was part of the team of guys who went back into the school - and persevere," Davis said.
In 2013, that future for Pugh dimmed. Allegations surfaced that he wasn't a mentor to one of the boys in his program - he was accused of being a predator. He denied those allegations at the time but on Wednesday, he admitted to sexual assault in court.
After the accusations, he fled to New York in the middle of the night. He was prosecuted criminally but was ordered to pay $250,000 to the victim in a civil trial.
June of 2016, Pugh was arrested in New York and charged with the sexual assault of that teenage boy that he met at FOX 2 in 2003.
"Ninety percent of children who are molested are molested by people that they know - so it's not the stranger, it is the people who have the power, who have the status, that actually have access to our kids," clinical psychologist Dr. Carol Van Dyke said. "These people in positions of power are able to gain the trust of our children and that's what makes them easy prey in terms of being victimized."
Dr. Van Dyke doesn't know why Pugh did what he did, but she hopes parents and children can learn from it so parents can protect their children from predators.
"Parents need to start having conversations with their kids and start letting them know what they need to do if they find themselves feeling uncomfortable," Dr. Van Dyke said.
Pugh is set to be sentenced on November 9 in Detroit.