Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis was detained by authorities on Sunday (19 June 2022) in the southern Italian town of Ostuni on charges of sexual assault and aggravated personal injury, according to multiple reports in the Italian media and a statement by the public prosecutors of the nearby city of Brindisi.
As per reports, a statement from Brindisi prosecutors said that the director was "seriously suspected of the crimes of aggravated sexual assault and aggravated personal injury, crimes committed to the prejudice of a young foreign woman". Paul has denied all the allegations through his lawyer Michele Laforgia.
A young woman, identified only as being “foreign,” that is not Italian, has pressed charges against Haggis, accusing the two-time Oscar winner of forcing her to engage in sexual intercourse over the course of two days in Ostuni, where Haggis was scheduled to hold a series of master classes at the Allora Fest, a new film festival launched by Los Angeles based Italian journalist Silvia Bizio and Spanish art critic Sol Costales Doulton that is set to run from June 21 - June 26. Prosecutors reportedly stated that the alleged victim was staying with Paul ahead of the Allora Fest film festival in Italy. "The suspect allegedly forced the young woman, whom he met some time ago, to undergo sexual intercourse," they wrote.
Haggis is a director, producer, and screenwriter who won an Academy Award in 2006 for the Best Picture as well as the Best Original Screenplay category for Crash. He subsequently wrote screenplays for Million Dollar Baby, the James Bond installments Quantum of Solace and Casino Royale, and also directed In the Valley of Elah and The Next Three Days.