Director Paul Haggis detained in Italy in sexual assault case

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ROME (AP) — Director Paul Haggis was arrested Sunday investigating allegations he sexually assaulted a woman in southern Italy, Italian media reported, citing local prosecutors.

Haggis, 69, Canadian-born and Oscar winner, was in Italy for a film festival which begins Tuesday in Ostuni, a tourist town in Puglia, the region that forms the “heel” of the Italian peninsula.

The LaPresse news agency and several other Italian outlets published a written statement from prosecutors in the nearby town of Brindisi that they were investigating allegations that a “young foreign woman” was forced to have “unsanctioned” sex. consensual” for two days.

Prosecutors Antonio Negro and Livia Orlando, who are leading the investigation, said in the statement that the woman was “forced to see a doctor” following the sex. 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”.

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

Prosecutors said airport staff and police noticed her “obvious state of confusion” and “and after giving her initial treatment, took her to Brindisi police headquarters, where officers l accompanied them to a local hospital for an examination.

Police in the headquarters operations room said they were not authorized to release any information about the case, including whether Haggis was being held at the police station or in a hotel or other accommodation.

Haggis is a director, producer and screenwriter. He won an Oscar in 2006 for Best Original Screenplay for “Crash.”

Prosecutors also reportedly said the woman “formalized her complaint and cited circumstances that were later reviewed for confirmation by investigators.” They did not cite his nationality or age.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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