Canadian director Paul Haggis arrested in Italy for sexual assault

Canadian director and producer Paul Haggis has been arrested in southern Italy on suspicion of “aggravated” sexual assault against a young foreign woman, Italian news agencies said on Sunday, citing the prosecution.

The director and screenwriter is “seriously suspected of crimes of sexual assault and aggravated bodily harm, crimes committed against a young foreign woman”, indicated the agencies ANSA and AGI quoting the Brindisi prosecutor. The prosecutor’s office did not provide further information on Sunday.

Medical care for the young woman

Haggis, 69, who wrote and directed the film Crash (Collision) which won him several Oscars, was to star at the Allora Fest film festival which will begin on Tuesday in the town of Ostuni in the province of Brindisi. The young woman had been with Haggis before the festival, according to the prosecution.

“The suspect allegedly forced the young woman, whom he met some time earlier, to have sex,” the prosecutor said. After a meeting, the young woman was “forced to seek medical care”, according to him. One of Haggis’ lawyers, solicited by telephone and email, did not react on Sunday. Haggis is currently being sued in civil proceedings in New York on rape charges dating back to 2013 and had been accused by four women, including two of sexual assault as part of the #MeToo movement in 2018.

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