Suspended Senator Mike Duffy could be declared the father of a 32-year-old Peruvian woman if he does not respond to a lawsuit filed in that country, the woman's lawyer says.
Karen Duffy told Maclean's magazine in a story published this week that she believes Mr. Duffy is her biological father and is seeking to establish their connection through the courts. It is unlikely that a court ruling would carry any force in Canada, but Ms. Duffy said she is simply interested in a formal acknowledgment of the relationship.
Ms. Duffy's mother, Yvette Benites, indicated on her daughter's birth certificate that the child's father was a TV reporter named Mike Duffy. Karen has used the surname her entire life, according to the Maclean's report.
Ms. Benites was convicted of smuggling drugs in 1979 and spent time in the Prison for Women in Kingston, the magazine said. Ms. Benites claims she met Mr. Duffy in Ottawa after her release in 1981 and had a romantic relationship with him in the months before she was deported to Peru.
Asked about the claims on Wednesday, Mr. Duffy wrote in an e-mail that the article "contains numerous errors," but did not detail what, specifically, was incorrect. "These allegations go back more than 30 years," he said. "I will respond to any legal process from Peru in an appropriate manner."
Mr. Duffy's response to The Globe and Mail differed from those he had provided earlier to Maclean's and other media, in which he specifically stated that allegations levelled by Ms. Benites were "untrue."
Karen Duffy's lawyer, Jorge Alejandro Razuri, confirmed to The Globe that the lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of Lima and that the court could declare Mr. Duffy to be his client's father if he does not respond to it. Mr. Razuri declined to provide further details on the case, citing instructions from Karen Duffy.
Ms. Benites met Mr. Duffy's sister, Moira Duffy, while the two were in prison, according to the Maclean's article. When Ms. Benites was released in 1981, she agreed to deliver a birthday gift to Mr. Duffy on Moira's behalf and later began a romantic relationship with him. The Maclean's story said she realized she was pregnant during the summer of 1981 and was deported to Peru in September of that year.
She told Mr. Duffy about her pregnancy in a letter she left in his apartment the day before she was deported, Ms. Benites said, and later sent him an audio recording of the child. But she didn't press the issue further. "My philosophy was that when someone doesn't want contact with you, you don't push them," she told Maclean's.
Mr. Duffy, a former broadcast journalist, was suspended from the Senate last year over allegations that he claimed inappropriate expenses. The matter is currently under investigation by the RCMP, which is also looking into Mr. Duffy's contractual dealings with a friend.
Patrick Brazeau and Pamela Wallin, both former Conservatives, were suspended from the Senate at the same time as Mr. Duffy. Former Liberal senator Mac Harb, who was also accused of claiming improper expenses, resigned from the Red Chamber before the suspension proceedings took place.
Mr. Harb and Mr. Brazeau are both facing charges of fraud and breach of trust in connection with their expense claims. No charges have been laid against Mr. Duffy or Ms. Wallin.