OSCAR-winning director Paul Haggis left a British woman “destroyed” after an alleged two-day ordeal of sexual assault, according to police.
The woman claims she was dumped at Brindisi airport in southern Italy just before dawn last Wednesday, where she was discovered cowered in a corner by a flight attendant who alerted authorities.
Hollywood director Paul Haggis is accused of sexually assaulting a woman over two daysCredit: AFP
He allegedly left the woman at Brindisi airport in southern Italy early WednesdayCredit: Getty – Contributor
Oscar-winner Haggis has denied the charges against himCredit: AFP
Haggis was arrested on Sunday following a police investigation.
Italian prosecutors allege the woman – who holds a British passport – “suffered repeated non-consenting sexual assaults” by Haggis, including one so violent she was “forced to seek medical attention”.
His Italian lawyer, Michele Laforgia, told The Daily Beast that the Canadian will appear in court in Italy on Thursday.
He said that he believes Haggis is “completely innocent and we hope for the maximum speed of all the necessary investigations to clarify the matter”.
Mr Laforgia added that until he had been presented with details of the charges, “we cannot declare anything else, nor enter into the merits of the accusations”.
An attorney for Haggis, Priya Chaudhry, refused to comment on the case when contacted by The Hollywood Reporter.
“That said,” she added, “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.”
Haggis was in Italy to headline the Allora Fest alongside Hollywood stars Oliver Stone, Matt Dillon, Edward Norton, and Marisa Tomei.
The music and film festival immediately distances themselves from Haggis, and cancelled all the events he was scheduled to take part in.
Haggis’ alleged victim told investigating prosecutor she had met with the director for “work” but instead he sexually assaulted her “from Sunday evening to Wednesday”.
She said she was left outside Brindisi airport in Puglia province early Wednesday morning by the director, and that he gave her money to buy a plane ticket as she didn’t have one, according to the prosecutor’s office.
An attendant who found the woman told police: “She was destroyed. She spoke with difficulty.”
She was destroyed. She spoke with difficulty
After an initial medical examination at the airport’s health clinic, the woman was taken to hospital for treatment as part of Italy’s “pink protocol” for alleged sexual assault victims, including psychological counselling.
The medical examiner’s report says the woman was left incapable of having sex due to her violent ordeal.
Police investigating the allegations are said to be studying security camera footage from outside Haggis’ hotel room in the tourist town of Ostuni, about an hour from Brindisi.
They arrested the director on Sunday after waiting until his alleged victim had left Italy, where he was joined by his family.
Haggis was held in custody overnight in Brindisi but has since been released under house arrest at a hotel in Ostuni.
The director – who won Oscars for best pictures for Million Dollar Baby in 2004 and Crash in 2005 – was accused of sexual abuse by three women in 2018.
A year earlier, he faced accusations of violence by publicist Haleigh Breest.
That civil lawsuit is ongoing.
Haggis has denied all the accusations against him.
A former Scientologist who left the Church in 2009, he has claimed that the sex abuse allegations against him are part of a program of revenge by the religion.
His accusers have denied these claims.
Haggis won his first Oscar for Best Picture for 2004’s Million Dollar BabyCredit: Alamy
The following year he won the Best Picture Oscar again for CrashCredit: Alamy
Haggis, 69, was arrested in Italy over the weekendCredit: AP
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