Canadian director Paul Haggis, who won the Academy Award, was arrested in Southern Italy on suspicion of exacerbating sexual assault, an Italian press reported on Sunday citing a local prosecutor. According to a statement by a Brindisi prosecutor, the director and screenwriter “are seriously suspicious of worsening sexual assault and assault, and crimes against young foreign women,” ANSA and AGI agencies reported.
Through his Italian lawyer, Michele Laforgia, Haggis denied the allegations.
“Make enquiries as soon as possible, I am totally innocent,” he said, according to the agencies, citing Laforgia.
Neither the prosecutor nor Laforsia responded to requests for additional information outside business hours on Sunday. The Haggis, 69, who wrote and produced the Oscar-winning film Crash, was scheduled to star at the Allora Fest Film Festival in Ostuni, Province of Brindisi, starting Tuesday. According to prosecutor , the suspected victim was staying in Haggis before the festival.
“The suspect allegedly forced the young woman, whom he met some time ago, to undergo sexual intercourse,” they wrote.
Following the incident, the woman had to seek medical care.