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Academy Award-winning film director Paul Haggis was arrested in Italy on Sunday over allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman, Italian news media reported, citing local prosecutors.
Haggis, 69, was in Italy for the Allora film festival, which kicks off Tuesday in Ostuni, a tourist town in Puglia, the region that forms the “heel” of the Italian peninsula.
News agency LaPresse and several other Italian media groups released a written statement from prosecutors in the city of Brindisi that they are investigating allegations that a “young foreign woman” – meaning a non-Italian – was coerced into “non-consensual” sex in relationships of two Days with the Canadian screenwriter.
Prosecutors Antonio Negro and Livia Orlando, who are leading the investigation, said in the statement that the woman was “forced to seek medical attention” after the sexual encounters.
Fox News Digital has reached out to Haggis’ legal representatives for comment.
After a few 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”.
HILARY SWANK AMAZED THAT “MILLION DOLLAR BABY” WRITER PAUL HAGGIS WAS ACCUSED OF SEXUAL Assault BY 4 WOMEN
The Brindisi prosecutor’s office was closed on Sunday. Haggis’ attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Prosecutors said airport staff and police noticed her “apparently confused condition” and, after initial treatment, took her to Brindisi Police Headquarters, where officers escorted her to a local hospital for a check-up.
Authorities said they were not authorized to release any information about the case, including whether Haggis was being held at the police station or at a hotel or other accommodation after the arrest.
Prosecutors were also quoted as saying that the woman “formalized her complaint and presented circumstances which were subsequently examined by investigators for corroboration.”
They gave neither their nationality nor their age.
Haggis won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 2006 for “Crash,” which was inspired by a real-life incident in which he was mugged by car in front of a Los Angeles video store.
The Canadian director, who also wrote Million Dollar Baby and Flags of Our Fathers, has been accused of rape and sexual misconduct by four women, citing incidents that allegedly took place between 1996 and 2015.
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Publicist Haleigh Breest filed a civil suit in December 2017, alleging that Haggis raped her on January 31, 2013 in a New York City apartment.
Her suit prompted three other women to come forward on condition of anonymity, according to the AP.
Haggis was a Scientologist for 35 years and left the Church in 2009. Shortly after the trials, Leah Remini and her “Scientology and the Aftermath” co-host Mike Rinder released a lengthy statement defending Haggis, claiming that the women in question would have suspicious motivations to come forward.
“There are many reasons to be concerned about defending someone accused of sexual assault in today’s climate. But fear of consequences for speaking our truth has not held us back in the past and will not start now,” they wrote. “We have supported victims of sexual abuse who have contacted us and have worked with them and law enforcement to ensure that justice is done for both the victims and the accused. We have avoided media trials.”
In their post, they defended Haggis’ character and suggested that the Church of Scientology was behind the three additional accusers who “suddenly emerged from the woodwork.”
“We expect the next ‘revelations’ about Paul Haggis in this campaign to destroy him to be based on information gleaned from his Scientology files in the form of more ‘anonymous’ accusers hiding behind a never-disclosing attorney must, who pays her bill.”
Haggis has counterclaimed the original rape allegation, saying the accuser and her attorney wanted $9 million to avoid legal action, which he described as racketeering.
“Paul Haggis, for his achievements as a gentleman and philanthropist, deserves to be convicted when all evidence is taken in court under penalty of perjury,” wrote Remini and Rinder. “Because claims made by anonymous accusers who did NOT go to prosecution are not credible.”
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.