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Paul Haggis was detained by Italian authorities on Sunday after he was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in southern Italy

The 69-year-old Oscar-winning screenwriter and director has been in Italy for a film festival that begins on Tuesday in Ostuni, a tourist town in Puglia, the region that forms the “heel” of the Italian peninsula.

The news agency LaPresse and several other Italian media reported a written statement from Brindisi prosecutors stating that they were investigating allegations a “young foreign woman” was forced to have “non-consensual” sexual relations over two days. 

The statement also said the woman was “forced to seek medical care” following the sexual relations. 

Prosecutors Antonio Negro and Livia Orlando also say “the woman was accompanied by the man” to the Brindisi airport on Sunday and “was left there at dawn despite her precarious physical and psychological conditions.”

Airport staff and police noticed the woman’s “obvious confused state” and after rendering initial treatment, they took her to Brindisi’s police headquarters.

Officers accompanied her to a local hospital for further examination.

Priya Chaudhry, an attorney for Paul Haggis, said although he cannot discuss the evidence in the case:

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.

Unfortunately, Paul is not new to this. 

In late 2017 and early 2018, several women came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against him. 

Publicist Haleigh Breest filed a civil lawsuit against Paul, which is still ongoing but was delayed due to the Covid pandemic. 

Following Haleigh’s suit, three more women came forward with allegations against Paul. 

Via Rolling Stone

One of the accusers said she was 28 when the alleged attack took place in 1996. She claims she was working on a television show that Haggis produced when he asked her to review some photos from the show.

When they met in a back office, she claimed he tried to kiss her. “He said, ‘Do you really want to continue working?’” she claimed.

He then allegedly forced her to perform oral sex on him and pushed her onto the floor and raped her.

Whatever they said Paul Haggis did… (50 Cent voice)

Source: AP News