Mike Duffy has reached out to the Peruvian woman who claims to be his daughter.
One week after Maclean’s first published news of Karen Duffy’s lawsuit seeking to have the disgraced senator legally recognized as her father, her three-decade-old dream came true. She received a Facebook message from the former television journalist that was later followed by a two-hour online video chat. “My father, he wrote to me. We’re now in communication, and I’m very happy about it,” the 32-year-old Lima resident said in a brief phone interview. Citing an agreement she and Duffy have struck to keep the matter between themselves for the time being, Karen declined to go into detail, however. “He doesn’t want to talk to journalists about it,” she said.
Karen Duffy’s lawsuit in the Corte Superior de Justicia de Lima claims she is the product of an unlikely affair between a man who was one of the most famous journalists in Canada, and her mother, a convicted drug mule then serving time in an Ottawa halfway house. Seven months after being deported back to Peru, Karen’s mother, Yvette Benites, gave birth to a baby girl and entered Duffy’s name as the father in Lima’s central registry. Both mother and daughter say they made many attempts to contact Duffy over the years, but he never responded. The lawsuit does not seek money, and Karen says she is not interested in Canadian citizenship.
Mike Duffy has been aware of the court action since December, but had yet to respond. When first contacted by Maclean’s, he said its allegations were “untrue.” He has not responded to further inquiries from the magazine about his recent conversations with Karen and her lawyer. But he did respond via email to questions from the QMI news agency. “Leave it alone. This is a good thing,” he wrote.
Luis Higa, Karen’s husband, says she and Duffy are now talking on a daily basis. “He is a very nice guy. He is very warm, and he is being very kind to Karen,” he said. “It’s going to be very good for her.”
In a French-language interview with Quebec’s TVA network, Karen’s mother, Yvette, said the 68-year-old politician has indeed acknowledged Karen as his own, and indicated that he is willing to eventually meet her. “Yes, he told her that he recognized that . . . he knew that she was his daughter,” she told the channel.
Higa suggested his mother-in-law had spoken out of turn, but didn’t contradict her. “We are waiting for Mike to talk about this,” he told Maclean’s.
Jorge Alejandro Rázuri, Karen’s lawyer in Lima, issued a brief statement, saying he received a message from Duffy on July 21, but waited for confirmation of the suspended senator’s identity before putting him in touch with his client. “Out of respect for the parties, we will not be making any other statement,” he wrote.
Karen’s Facebook timeline shows a couple of brief exchanges with a “Dennis Duffy.” (Dennis is Mike Duffy’s middle name.) Shortly afterward, she posted the following message for her friends: “It’s impossible, said pride. It’s risky, said experience. No use, said the brain. Just try, whispered the heart.”