Paul Haggis arrested in Italy in sexual assault case

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Oscar-winning film director Paul Haggis was detained in Italy on Sunday under investigation into allegations he sexually assaulted a woman, Italian media said, citing local prosecutors.

Haggis, 69, was in Italy for the Allora film festival, which starts on Tuesday in Ostuni, a tourist town in Puglia, a region that forms the “heel” of the Italian peninsula.

The LaPresse news agency and several other Italian media groups published a written statement from prosecutors in the city of Brindisi that they were investigating allegations that a “young foreigner” – that is, non-Italian – was forced to have sex “not consensual”. two-day relations with the Canadian screenwriter.

Prosecutors Antonio Negro and Livia Orlando, who are leading the investigation, said in the statement that the woman was “forced to seek medical attention” after the sexual encounters.

Fox News Digital has reached out to Haggis’ legal representatives for comment.

Paul Haggis attends the 19th Monte-Carlo Film Festival De La Comedie at the Grimaldi Forum on April 30, 2022 in Monaco, Monaco.
(Daniele Venturelli)

After a few days “of non-consensual relations, the woman was accompanied by the man” to Brindisi airport on Sunday and “was left there at dawn, despite her precarious physical and psychological conditions”.

HILARY SWANK SURPRISED ‘MILLION DOLLAR BABY’ WRITER PAUL HAGGIS IS ACCUSED BY 4 WOMEN OF SEXUAL ASSAULT

The Brindisi prosecutors’ office was closed on Sunday. Haggis’ attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Prosecutors said airport staff and police noticed her “obviously confused state” and, after initial treatment, took her to Brindisi Police Headquarters, where officers accompanied her to a local hospital for examination.

Authorities said they were not authorized to provide information about the case, including whether Haggis was being held at the police station or in a hotel or other accommodation after the arrest.

Prosecutors were also quoted as saying the woman “formalized her complaint and cited circumstances that were later reviewed for confirmation by investigators”.

They did not mention their nationality or age.

Paul Haggis won Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay for

Paul Haggis won Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay for “Crash” in 2004, which was inspired by a real-life incident where he was kidnapped outside a video store in Los Angeles.
(J.Vespa)

Haggis won an Oscar in 2006 for best original screenplay for “Crash,” which was inspired by a real-life incident in which he was kidnapped outside a video store in Los Angeles.

The Canadian director, who also wrote “Million Dollar Baby” and “Flags of Our Fathers”, was accused of rape and sexual misconduct by a total of four women, citing incidents that allegedly took place between 1996 and 2015.

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Publicist Haleigh Breest filed a civil suit in December 2017 and claimed that Haggis raped her on January 31, 2013 in a New York apartment.

Her lawsuit prompted three other women to come forward on the condition of anonymity, according to the AP.

Haggis was a Scientologist for 35 years and left the church in 2009. Shortly after the lawsuits, Leah Remini and her “Scientology and the Aftermath” co-host Mike Rinder released a lengthy statement defending Haggis and claiming that the women in question can have suspicious motives to come forward.

“There are many reasons to be concerned about defending someone accused of sexual assault in today’s climate. But fear of consequences for speaking our truth has not stopped us in the past and is not about to begin now,” they wrote. “We support victims of sexual abuse who have come to us and work with them and law enforcement to ensure that justice is served for both victims and accused. We avoid media judgment.”

Remini questioned the affiliation of Haggis' sexual assault accusers with his previous religion.  The pair were seen in 2015 where Remini signed copies of her book,

Remini questioned the affiliation of Haggis’ sexual assault accusers with his previous religion. The pair were seen in 2015 where Remini signed copies of his book, “Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology”.
(Debra L Rothenberg)

In their post, they defended Haggis’ character and suggested that the Church of Scientology is behind the three additional accusers who are “suddenly appearing out of nowhere”.

“We hope that the next ‘revelations’ about Paul Haggis in this campaign to destroy him will be based on information pulled from his Scientology archives in the form of more ‘anonymous’ accusers hiding behind a lawyer who will never have to reveal who is paying. your account.”

Haggis denied the original rape allegation in a counter-complaint and said the accuser and her lawyer demanded a $9 million payment to avoid legal action, which he characterized as extortion.

“Paul Haggis deserves, based on his record as a gentleman and humanitarian, to stand trial when all evidence is taken under penalty of perjury in court,” wrote Remini and Rinder. “Because the allegations by anonymous accusers who have NOT gone to the police are not credible.”

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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