ROME (AP) – Filmmaker Paul Haggis was detained Sunday in connection with an investigation into allegations of sexual assault against a woman in southern Italy, Italian media reported, citing local prosecutors.
The Canadian-born Haggis, 69, was in Italy for a film festival starting Tuesday in Ostuni, a tourist town in Puglia, a region that forms the heel of the Italian peninsula.
The LaPresse news agency and several other Italian media outlets have released a written statement from the prosecutor’s office in the nearby city of Brindisi that they are investigating allegations that a “young foreigner” was forced to have sexual relations “without consent” for two days.
Prosecutors Antonio Negro and Livia Orlando, who are leading the investigation, said in a statement that the woman was “forced to seek medical attention” after the sexual relationship. After a couple of days of ‘non-consensual relationship’, the woman was escorted by a man’ to Brindisi airport on Sunday and ‘was left there at dawn despite (her) dire physical and psychological condition’.
On Sunday the public prosecutor’s office of Brindisi was closed. Haggis’ attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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Prosecutors said airport officials and police noticed her “obvious confused state” and “after providing initial assistance, they took her to the Brindisi police station, where officers escorted her to the local hospital for an examination.”
Police at the operating headquarters said they were not authorized to release information about the case, including whether Haggis is being held at a police station, a hotel or other accommodation.
Haggis is a director, producer and screenwriter. In 2006, he received an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Crash.
The prosecutors also said that the woman “formalized her complaint and gave circumstances that were subsequently verified to be confirmed by the investigators.” They did not indicate her nationality or age.
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