TOP STORIES Paul Haggis Arrested for Sexual Assault in Italy

Paul Haggis Arrested for Sexual Assault in Italy

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Oscar-winning director and screenwriter Paul Haggis was arrested on charges of aggravated sexual assault and aggravated bodily harm in the southern Italian city of Ostuni on Sunday, local police said.

According to the prosecutor’s office in the nearby city of Brindisi, which ordered the arrest, the accuser was not Italian. The statement identifies the detainee as P.H., Canadian; Vincenzo Leo, on duty with the local Italian police, confirmed that it was Mr. Haggis.

The statement said that after two days of “non-consensual intercourse,” he brought the woman to Brindisi’s Papola Casale airport on Friday and left her there “at the first light of the sun, despite the woman’s dire physical and psychological condition.” ”

Airport staff and border guards spotted her at the airport in a “confused state”, assisted her and took her to the local police station, the report said. She was then taken to the hospital, where she received treatment after protocol used in Italy for victims of violence against women; she subsequently reported the abuse to the police.

According to the allegations, Mr Haggis, 69, “would force a girl he met some time ago to have sex.”

“I am confident that all charges against Mr. Haggis will be dropped,” Priya Chaudhry, Mr. Haggis’ lawyer, wrote in an email. “He is completely innocent and is ready to fully cooperate with the authorities so that the truth comes out quickly.”

Mr. Haggis, who won an Oscar in 2006 for the screenplay for the crime drama Car Crash and wrote famous films such as Million Dollar Baby, came to the southern city to attend the Allora Film Festival, where he was supposed to participate. in panels and discussions with viewers starting June 21, reports festival program.

Mr. Haggis was sued for sexual assault in New York. in 2017 publicist Hayley Brest. Ms Brest accused Mr Haggis of forcing her to perform oral sex before raping her after the premiere in 2013. Mr. Haggis claimed that the meeting with Ms. Brest was consensual.

Following a lawsuit still pending due to delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, three other women have accused Mr. Haggis of sexually assaulting them. according to the Associated Press.

Mr. Haggis’ attorney, Christine Lepera, denied the other three allegations, saying “he didn’t rape anyone,” according to the AP.

Mr. Haggis began his career as a television writer in the 1980s and later helped create several series, including Walker, Texas Ranger, a long-running drama starring Chuck Norris. But he is perhaps best known for his film work, especially Crash, a 2005 ensemble drama he directed and co-wrote. The film won the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay for Mr. Haggis and Bobby Moresco.

In 2009, Mr. Haggis left the Church of Scientology due to its support for Proposition 8, a ban on same-sex marriage passed by California voters and later rescinded. AT resignation letter which was circulated in Hollywood, Mr. Haggis wrote that the church’s stance is “a blot on the integrity of our organization and a blot on us personally.” In the documentary The Purification and elsewhere, Mr. Haggis has become one of the church’s most prominent critics. And he said that in response, the church launched a campaign of persecution.

In a lawsuit last year, Mr. Haggis argued that a pending sexual harassment lawsuit in New York effectively froze his career, making it impossible for him to work as a director or producer.

“I had talks with producers and financiers, but I was repeatedly told that they could not work with me until I cleared my name,” he wrote in a statement that was filed as part of a motion for the court to set a trial date. .

Stephanie Goodman contributed to the report.

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