Film director Paul Haggis arrested in Italy over alleged sexual assault

Prosecutor said young woman filed complaint after showing up at airport in distress

Liam James
Sunday 19 June 2022 21:32 BST
<p>‘Crash’ director was detained in southern Italy </p>

‘Crash’ director was detained in southern Italy

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Film director Paul Haggis has been detained in Italy over allegations of sexual assualt.

The Canadian-born, Oscar-winning director, best known for his 2004 film Crash, was in the country for a film festival that begins on Tuesday in Ostuni, Puglia.

The news agency LaPresse published a written statement from prosecutors in the nearby city of Brindisi which said they were investigating allegations a “young foreign woman” was forced to have “non-consensual” sexual relations over two days.

Prosecutors Antonio Negro and Livia Orlando, who are conducting the investigation, said in the statement the woman was “forced to seek medical care” following the ordeal.

They said after two 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”.

Airport staff and police noticed her “obvious confused state” and “after lending initial treatment, took her to Brindisi’s police headquarters, where officers accompanied her to a local hospital for examination”.

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

Police said they were not authorised to give out information about the case, including where Mr Haggis was being held.

Mr Haggis, 69, is a director, producer and screenwriter. He won an Oscar in 2006 for best original screenplay for Crash.

Prosecutors also were quoted as saying that the woman “formalised her complaint and cited circumstances which were subsequently looked into for confirmation by investigators.” They did not cite her nationality or age.

Additional reporting by agencies

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