Director Paul Haggis arrested in Italy on sexual assault charges
Paul Haggis, an Oscar-winning Canadian screenwriter, and filmmaker was detained in southern Italy on Sunday (June 19) on allegations of sexual assault and serious personal harm against an unidentified lady. He has vehemently disputed the allegations. According to a notice from the public prosecutor of the adjacent city of Brindisi, he was charged with compelling a young “foreign” (non-Italian) woman to engage in sexual intercourse over the course of two days in Ostuni, Italy.
Haggis’ lawyer Priya Chaudhry said in a statement to the press: “Under Italian Law, I cannot discuss the evidence. That said, I am confident that all allegations will be dismissed against Mr. Haggis.” She added that Haggis was innocent and would cooperate with authorities.
Haggis won Oscars for both “Million Dollar Baby” and “Crash,” for which he co-wrote and directed. Haggis was in Ostuni for a series of seminars at the Allora Fest, a new film festival founded by Italian journalist Silvia Bizio of Los Angeles and Spanish art critic Sol Costales Doulton. The festival occurs from June 21 through June 26 in Ostuni.