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02 Jul 2022

Reports: Oscar winner Paul Haggis detained in Italy in sex assault case

Reports: Oscar winner Paul Haggis detained in Italy in sex assault case

Film director Paul Haggis has been detained for the investigation of allegations he sexually assaulted a woman in south Italy, Italian news media said, quoting local prosecutors.

The Canadian-born, Oscar-winning Haggis, 69, 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 carried a written statement from prosecutors in the nearby city of Brindisi that 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”.

After a couple of days “of non-consensual relations, the woman was accompanied by the man” to Brindisi airport on Sunday and “left there at dawn despite (her) precarious physical and psychological conditions”, they said.

The Brindisi prosecutors’ office was closed on Sunday.

Haggis’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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

Police in the headquarters’ operations room said they were not authorised to give out information about the case, including whether Haggis was being held at the police station or at a hotel or other lodging.

Haggis is a director, producer and screenwriter.

He won an Oscar in 2006 for best original screenplay for Crash.

Prosecutors were also quoted as saying 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.

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