Oscar and Emmy-winner director Paul Haggis was arrested in Italy on Sunday after being accused of sexually assaulting a woman, local media reported. The filmmaker of the 2004 hit "Crash" and the screenwriter of the boxing drama "Million Dollar Baby" had traveled to Italy to attend a film festival in Ostuni, Puglia, which is the heel of the boot-shaped country.
According to the prosecutors, the alleged victim had been staying with Haggis ahead of the festival. Italian police and prosecutors said that Haggis is "seriously" suspected of the crimes brought against him. He is now being questioned by the authorities and may end up in serious trouble.
Prosecutors in Brindisi, southern Italy, said the Canadian filmmaker, 69, is "seriously suspected of the crimes of aggravated sexual assault and aggravated personal injury" against a non-Italian lady.
The victim alleged that Haggis forced the "young foreign woman" to have "non-consensual" sex with him over the course of two days, according to Brindisi local media.
"The suspect allegedly forced the young woman, whom he met some time ago, to undergo sexual intercourse," they added.
"The woman was accompanied by the man" to Brindisi airport in the Puglia region on Sunday and "was left there at dawn despite [her] precarious physical and psychological conditions," the statement said.
Most of the specifics of the allegations are still unknown. However, prosecutors Antonio Negro and Livia Orlando issued a statement to Italian media saying the victim needed medical attention after the alleged forced sexual sessions.
Following one encounter, the woman was "forced to seek medical care."
Everything Still Mysterious
The woman was allegedly held captive in Haggis' hotel room, according to The Daily Beast. According to the outlet, he attempted to fly the woman out of Italy and left her at the airport when she refused.
According to the Daily Beast, employees at the airport brought the woman to the cops, who then took her to the hospital.
It's not known where Haggis is being held. Italian authorities said the unidentified woman "formalized her complaint and cited circumstances which were subsequently looked into for confirmation by investigators."
Haggis is a well-known filmmaker, writer, and producer. In 2006, he earned an Academy Award for best original screenplay for "Crash," which also won Best Picture.
Haggis' attorney, Priya Chaudhry, has stated that she believes in his client's innocence. "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."