Film director Paul Haggis has been detained for investigation of allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman in southern Italy.
The Canadian-born, Oscar-winning Haggis, 69, has been in Italy for a film festival that begins on Tuesday in Ostuni, a tourist town in Puglia.
The news agency LaPresse and several other Italian media carried a statement from prosecutors in the nearby city of Brindisi that they were investigating allegations a “young foreign woman” was forced to have “non-consensual” sexual relations over two days.
Haggis’s lawyer, Priya Chaudhry, said although he could not discuss the evidence under Italian law, “I am confident that all allegations will be dismissed against Mr Haggis”.
“He is totally innocent, and willing to fully co-operate with the authorities so the truth comes out quickly,” he said.
Prosecutors Antonio Negro and Livia Orlando, who are conducting the investigation, said in the statement that the woman was “forced to seek medical care” following the sexual relations.
After a couple of days “of non-consensual relations, the woman was accompanied by the man” to Brindisi airport on Sunday and “was left there at dawn despite [her] precarious physical and psychological conditions”.
The prosecutors said airport staff and police noticed her “obvious confused state”. After giving her initial treatment, they took her to Brindisi’s police headquarters, where officers accompanied her to a hospital for examination.
Haggis is a director, producer and screenwriter. He won an Oscar in 2006 for best original screenplay for Crash.
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