A 30-year-old Englishwoman accused Paul Haggis of a series of sexual attacks, telling investigators one was so violent it rendered her unable to have sex, after which he dropped her off at an airport with money but no ticket, according to new details that emerged from local media Monday.
Haggis was arrested in Italy over the weekend on charges of sexual assault and aggravated personal injury, according to the reports. An unidentified woman claims Haggis, 69, raped her over multiple days in the town of Ostuni, where he was scheduled to hold a series of master classes at Allora Fest this week, according to Corriere della Serra.
The local film festival has canceled his appearances and distanced itself from the Canadian filmmaker. The Associated Press, citing multiple local news outlets, reported that the victim is an Englishwoman who has known Haggis “for some time.”
Haggis’ longtime attorney has denied the allegations, the latest to surface against the “Crash” director and “Million Dollar Baby” writer who’s been accused by four other women. The Oscar winner publicly left Scientology in 2009 and has claimed the church is behind the accusations.
According to local reports, police in the Italian city of Brindisi say the latest accuser’s injuries are consistent with her claims. “I was raped for days,” she told police, according to arrest documents obtained by The Daily Beast. “We were supposed to work together, but instead he raped me from Sunday evening to Wednesday.”
She told investigators he then drove her for an hour to the Brindisi airport where he left her in the pre-dawn hours with no ticket, but money to buy one when the airlines opened. Police say she was discovered cowering in a corner by a flight attendant who told them: “She was destroyed. She spoke with difficulty.”
The woman was examined at an airport clinic and taken to a hospital for treatment and psychological counseling, according to the reports. Authorities said she suffered repeated nonconsensual assaults including one so brutal she was left unable to have sex and “forced to seek medical attention,” which she says ended her ordeal.
Italian authorities say they’re looking at camera footage from Haggis’ hotel and the airport that reportedly corroborates their movements. The Daily Beast says police waited until the woman was safely out of the country before arresting Haggis, whose family had joined him by then. He was held in Brindisi overnight and released under house arrest awaiting arraignment.
Haggis had previously been accused of sexual abuse by four other women, including a publicist who accused him in 2018 of raping her at a premiere and is pursuing a civil lawsuit. Haggis has vehemently denied all wrongdoing, and his ex-wife has publicly supported his denials.
“I am confident that all allegations will be dismissed against Mr. Haggis,” longtime Haggis attorney Priya Chaudhry told TheWrap. “He is totally innocent, and willing to fully cooperate with the authorities so the truth comes out quickly.”
The civil lawsuit against Haggis, filed in New York, appears to have stalled because of the Covid-19 backlog. Haggis asked for a speedy trial date in 2021, saying he was struggling to find work and couldn’t keep up with legal fees. The most recent filing in the case was a denial of that motion just over a year ago, and attorneys representing Haggis in that case did not immediately return messages sent Monday.