Filmmaker Paul Haggis arrested over sexual assault charges in Italy
Oscar-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis was detained by authorities on Sunday for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in southern Italy, as reported by Italian media publications. The 69-year-old Canadian-born filmmaker was in Italy to attend a film festival that will start on Tuesday in Ostuni, Apulia. An attorney for Haggis, Priya Chaudhry, has issued a statement declaring Haggis "totally innocent." TW: Mention of sexual assault.
Woman forced into non-consensual sexual relations required medical care
Italian news agencies reported allegations of a "young foreign woman" who was forced into "non-consensual" sexual relations for two days. Prosecutors Antonio Negro and Livia Orlando stated the woman was "forced to seek medical care" after the assault. She was allegedly accompanied by Haggis (referred to as "the man") to the airport and "was left there at dawn despite precarious physical and psychological conditions."
Airport staff, police came to complainant's aid
The airport staff and police noticed her "confused state" and took her to the Brindisi police headquarters after lending treatment. She was accompanied by the police to a local hospital for examination. Italian prosecutors also stated that the woman "formalized her complaint and cited circumstances which were subsequently looked into for confirmation by investigators." The sources did not reveal the woman's age or nationality.
Haggis is 'willing to cooperate' so 'truth comes out quickly'
However, following the allegations, Haggis's attorney Chaudhry issued a statement that declared the filmmaker was innocent. She stated, "Under Italian law, I cannot discuss the evidence. That said, I am confident that all allegations will be dismissed against Mr. Haggis." "He is totally innocent and willing to fully cooperate with the authorities so the truth comes out quickly."
Haggis has been accused of sexual misconduct before
This isn't the first time that the filmmaker has been accused of sexual assault. He was reportedly accused of sexual misconduct by four women in the US, which also included two rape allegations from 2018. Haggis was also the subject of a lawsuit that was filed by a publicist who claimed that he had raped her. More details on the current case are awaited.