Director Paul Haggis arrested in Italy over sexual assault charges

Screenwriter, producer and director of film and television Paul Haggis, pictured in 2017, has been arrested in Italy on sexual assault charges. (Andres Iglesias Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Paul Haggis, an Oscar-winning film director and screenwriter is being held in Italy on sexual assault and serious bodily injury accusations.

Sunday, Italian police arrested Haggis for the alleged two-day rape of a woman in Ostuni, in southern Italy.

According to prosecutors Antonio Negro and Livia Orlando, Haggis reportedly abandoned the lady in a small airport despite her "precarious physical and psychological conditions," in the morning. La Presse and other Italian media sites said that airport personnel notified the police and sent her to a hospital.

The prosecution has not yet revealed her nationality or age.

The counsel for Haggis refuted the allegations. "I am prohibited under Italian law from discussing the evidence. Consequently, I am convinced that all claims against Mr. Haggis will be dropped. He is completely innocent and eager to fully assist with the authorities in order to expedite the discovery of the truth "lawyer Priya Chaudhry told NPR in an email.

Haggis has been in Italy teaching master classes for a film festival that begins on Tuesday. In a statement, the Allora Fest directors described the news as startling and expressed their support for the women involved. They also stated that they promptly pulled Haggis from the event.

The 69-year-old Canadian director won Oscars for penning the 2005 Best Picture-winning film Million Dollar Baby and directing the 2006 Best Picture-winning film Crash.

This is not the first time Haggis has been accused of sexual assault, and Haggis was sued in 2018 by a publicist who claimed he assaulted her after a film screening. During the civil trial, postponed due to COVID, three other women accused Haggis of sexual misconduct, and Haggis refutes the charges.

Publish : 2022-06-20 08:30:00

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