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As Catholic bishop, Paraguay's president fathered a child

On Monday, President Fernando Lugo admitted he had a son while still an ordained bishop

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Paraguay's President and former Catholic bishop Fernando Lugo gestures during a news conference at the government palace in Asuncion, Monday, April 13, 2009.

Jorge Saenz/AP

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Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo admitted Monday that he's the father of a 2-year-old boy who was conceived when Lugo was still a Roman Catholic bishop.

Lugo made the surprise announcement five days after the boy's mother, Viviana Carrillo, filed a paternity suit against him that contained more than just the explosive claim about the father's identity.

In it, the 26-year-old Ms. Carrillo said they began having sexual relations when she was 16. As bishop of San Pedro, Lugo sometimes stayed at the rural home of her godmother, where Carrillo also lived, she said.

McClatchy obtained a copy of the nine-page paternity suit on Monday.

Carrillo said that she first met Lugo when she was studying in preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation in her church, and that their personal relationship began one night shortly thereafter.

Carrillo said he began to pursue her "until, because of my youth and inexperience, I was seduced by the way he talked, his pretty words, his beautiful expressions and by his promises that he would resign his position for me, that he would spend his life with me, that we would have many children together and form a household."

She said that Lugo had been "my first and only man."

Reaction to the disclosure is divided.

Alfredo Boccia, a political columnist for the Paraguayan newspaper Ultima Hora, said by telephone from the capital of Asuncion that most people there would take the news in stride.

"He did the smartest thing he could have done," Mr. Boccia said. "He nipped the scandal in the bud. People are more lax in their attitudes here. It shouldn't hurt his personal image much."

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