DETROIT (WJBK) - For the first time, former Detroit City Coucil president and former FOX 2 morning anchor Charles Pugh admitted Wednesday morning in court he had sexual relations with a teenage boy. Pugh pleaded guilty to two of the five charges against him in a child sexual assault case, which involved a victim who was just 14 at the time. That victim and is now in his late twenties.
Austin Williams says he came forward so that what happened to him does not happen to anyone else.
"I think this is justice because, the most important thing is that people know that he is a sexual predator, that parents and people are aware of what happened," Williams says. FOX 2 does not identify sexual assault victims, but Williams gave us permission to use his name and show his face.
Williams met Pugh more than a decade ago back in 2003 when he visited the FOX 2 studio. Pugh was an anchor at the time. He says shortly after that encounter their sexual relationship began.
Williams previously testified that he was told never to tell anyone about their relationship because Pugh could get in trouble. Pugh was elected to the Detroit council in 2009 but suddenly quit in 2013 and mysteriously left Detroit as allegations surfaced about sexual misconduct.
Pugh originally faced life in prison if convicted on the charges, but the plea deal that has been agreed upon cuts that time significantly. Pugh's plea deal calls for a minimum prison sentence of 5 1/2 years, after which he'll be eligible for parole.
"The shame he put on myself and the countless other young men who have dealt with him, he now has to feel that for the rest of his life. That's going to be justice," Williams says.
As many as three alleged victims of Pugh were set to take the stand in the trial that was supposed begin November 7. Criminal charges were never filed in any of those cases, though.
Among them was a victim who was recently awarded $250,000 in a civil suit in federal court, in which he alleged Pugh also had an inappropiate relationship with him. The pair met during a mentorship program at the Frederick Douglass Academy, and, just like Williams, this has had lasting effect.
Wednesday's plea was surely another part of the healing process.
"This was a long-held secret that I know a lot of people did not want to admit to, admit to knowing about, admit to hearing about; keeping them, keeping my mom away from any of that made this all worth," Williams says.
Pugh is due back in court November 9 for his sentencing hearing.