ROME — Police in the southern Italian city of Brindisi say a British woman who has accused Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis of brutal rape has sustained injuries consistent with her allegations. “I was raped for days,” the woman told investigating prosecutor Antonio Negro, according to a summary of the arrest document relayed to The Daily Beast. “We were supposed to work together, but instead he raped me from Sunday evening to Wednesday.”
The woman, who says Negro’s office holds a British passport, was left last Wednesday before being called out by the director at the Brindisi airport in the province of Puglia, which sits at the heel of Italy’s boot, according to her testimony to police. She says she didn’t have an airline ticket, but that he gave her money to buy once the airport opened, according to the prosecutor’s office.
The prosecutor’s office says the woman was discovered cowering in a corner of a small airport by a flight attendant who immediately alerted authorities. “She was destroyed,” the attendant told police, according to the initial investigative document. “She spoke with difficulty.”
After an initial medical examination at the airport health clinic, she was taken to the hospital for treatment in line with Italy’s “pink protocol” for rape patients, which includes psychological counseling. The prosecutor’s office says she was “forced to seek medical attention.”
That horrific event is apparently what led to the end of her ordeal, when she says Haggis drove her to the airport in the early hours of Wednesday. The medical examiner’s report says she was left incapable of having sex from the violence.
The prosecutor’s office says that after she was left incapacitated, she drove her to an airport about an hour away from the tourist town of Ostuni where the 69-year-old — who had been accused of sexual misconduct by four other women — was headlining. The Allora Fest with Oliver Stone, Matt Dillon, Edward Norton, and Marisa Tomei. The music and film festival immediately distanced themselves from Haggis, canceling all events he had scheduled to take part in.
Police then investigated the new allegations, surveying camera footage outside Haggis’ hotel room and the airport that reportedly proves she was with him. They then waited until the woman left Italy to safely arrest the director on Sunday in Ostuni. His family had then joined him. He is being held in custody in the provincial capital city of Brindisi where he will face an Italian arraignment Monday or Tuesday.
An attorney for Haggis, Priya Chaudhry, declined to comment on the case The Hollywood Reporter, citing a non-existent “law” she says prohibits her from commenting on ongoing cases. “That said, I am confident that all allegations will be dismissed against Mr. Haggis, “Chaudhry said in an email to the outlet. “He is totally innocent, and willing to fully cooperate with the authorities so the truth comes out quickly.”
Haggis wrote two best pictures with Oscar films Million Dollar Baby in 2014 and Crash in 2005General Chat Chat Lounge The latest incident is not the first time a Canadian director has been in legal trouble. An ongoing civil lawsuit accusing him of violence was filed against him by publicist Haleigh Breest in 2017. Three more women came forward a year later saying he was sexually abused. He denies all accusations.
Haggis, who left the Church of Scientology in 2009, has admitted that the sex abuse allegations are simply retaliation by the church. His accusers deny that claim.
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