Senator Colin Kenny faces new harassment allegations
Liberal-appointed senator allegedly an 'aggressive stalker,' tried to kiss, grope women
Five more women have come forward to say they were harassed by Liberal-appointed Senator Colin Kenny, including through inappropriate touching and phone calls, Radio-Canada's Brigitte Bureau has learned.
They join two other women who told CBC News last fall that they were harassed by Kenny, who has been a senator for 30 years and once chaired the Senate's powerful national security and defence committee.
The Senate is currently investigating one of those claims.
The Senate refuses to talk about the investigation into Kenny. It won't release the investigator's name to CBC News. Women who tried to contact the investigator through the Senate to tell their stories did not have their calls returned.
None of these allegations have been proven in court and Kenny has never been charged. The senator, who recused himself from caucus, said last fall that he was prevented from commenting on the allegations because of the ongoing Senate investigation. He denied the original allegations, calling them "bogus" and "fabricated."
Four of the five women making new allegations recently came to a CBC studio to tell their stories. Some of them were meeting for the very first time. CBC agreed to conceal their identities because they say they fear for their physical safety. The women knew Kenny from the Senate or from one of the two tanning salons he used to own in Ottawa.
'He would try to grab my breasts'
The new allegations span from the 1980s to early 2000s.
The women describe a pattern of phone calls, several times a day or late at night. One woman says Kenny would turn up uninvited at her home.
"Two or three times a day, calling, persistent, consistent," one woman said.
"He turned into a pretty aggressive stalker.... He would just come to my house," she added.
"He would try to grab my breasts and I would push him away... He wouldn't take no for an answer."
Another woman told CBC News that "on one occasion, he grabbed my buttocks... [he] would try to peer down your blouse," she said.
'Tried to kiss me'
A third woman said Kenny would comment on what she was wearing and suggest she add high heels to her wardrobe.
"I was hanging posters in the window and I was up on a ladder," she said, describing one alleged incident.
"He came up behind me and the way he secured the ladder was by holding my ... behind. And I quickly came down."
This woman, after having worked in one of Kenny's tanning salons, was offered a summer job at the Senate by Kenny.
Another woman said Kenny parked outside her house and followed her.
"He tried to kiss me and grope me. He was stalking me. It was non-stop," she said.
In some cases, the harassment stopped when the police were contacted. In other cases, authorities believed Kenny over the women.
Last fall, other women alleged similar behaviour, including his former aide, Pascale Brisson.
The Senate refuses to talk about the investigation into Kenny.It won't even release the investigator's name. As a result, the women who have stories to tell about the senator are unable to do so, making them wonder if the investigation is as thorough as it could be.
'He wanted to see my breasts'
Last fall, Brisson said Kenny would make sexual comments at work and once invited her to his house for drinks.
Brisson also said Kenny asked her to wear high-heeled shoes to work and would sometimes stand with his hand on her waist when they were meeting alone in his office with the door closed.
"When we were discussing different issues, it would happen sometimes that he would put his hand around my waist or try and come closer to me to talk to me. I didn't really feel comfortable at the time with such things, so I would just take a step back and continue the conversation," Brisson said.
Another woman, Candace Amis, alleged Kenny demanded sexual favours from her when she worked at his tanning salon in 2003.
"He wanted to see my breasts and I did not want to do it. I made it clear that I was uncomfortable," she said. "And he communicated to me that if I didn’t take my shirt off then I wasn’t 'performing' as to be expected, to the level he wanted me to perform at my job. And so, therefore, he would have no other choice but fire me. So I took my shirt off."
Amis said Kenny then told her to take off her pants, then to perform oral sex on him. She said she complied because she was afraid of losing her job.
Amis complained to the Ottawa police. They didn't believe her story, in part because she had lied to the police in the past.
CBC News also reported last fall that an international organization of parliamentarians had complained about Kenny's behaviour.
In 2001, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly wrote a letter complaining about Kenny making frequent phone calls to a female intern and female staff member, attention that Simon Lunn, then the secretary general to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, referred to as "unwelcome" and "upsetting."
Lunn asked the head of the Canadian delegation, then-Liberal MP Carolyn Parrish, that Kenny be taken off the Canadian delegation. Kenny later quit.