Paul Haggis arrested in Italy on sexual assault allegations: report


Paul Haggis, who won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for “Crash” in 2006, has been arrested on allegations of sexually assaulting a young woman.

Film director Paul Haggis was arrested on Sunday to investigate allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman in southern Italy, Italian news media said, citing local prosecutors. Canadian-born, Oscar-winner Haggis, 69, was in Italy for a film festival that kicks off Tuesday in Ostuni, a tourist town in Puglia, the region that forms the “heel” of the Italian peninsula. Also read: Academy Award-winning screenwriter-director Paul Haggis has been accused of sexual abuse by four women

The LaPresse news agency and several other Italian media outlets carried a written statement from prosecutors from the nearby city of Brindisi that they are investigating allegations that a “young foreign woman” was forced to have “non-consensual” sexual relations for two days.

Paul’s lawyer, Priya Chaudhry, said while he could not discuss the evidence under Italian law, “I am confident that all allegations against Mr Haggis will be dismissed. He is completely innocent and willing to cooperate fully with the authorities to ensure that the truth is quickly revealed.”

Prosecutors Antonio Negro and Livia Orlando, who are leading the investigation, said in the statement that the woman was “forced to seek medical help” after the sexual relations. After a few days of “non-consensual relations,” the woman was taken to Brindisi airport “accompanied by the man” on Sunday and “was left there at dawn despite (her) precarious physical and psychological conditions.”

The Brindisi prosecutor’s office was closed on Sunday. Prosecutors said airport staff and police noticed her “apparently confused condition” and “after initial treatment, took her to Brindisi Police Headquarters, where officers escorted her to a local hospital for examination.” He was not authorized to release any information about the case, including whether Paul was being held at the police station or at a hotel or other accommodation.

Paul is a director, producer and screenwriter. He won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Crash in 2006.

Prosecutors were also quoted as saying that the woman “formalized her complaint and presented circumstances that were subsequently examined by investigators for corroboration.” They gave neither their nationality nor their age.


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