ROME—Police in the southern Italian city of Brindisi say the British woman who has accused Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis of brutal rape has injuries consistent with her allegations. “I was raped for days,” the woman told investigating prosecutor Antonio Negro, according to a summary of the arrest document relayed to The Daily Beast. “We were supposed to work together, but instead he raped me from Sunday evening to Wednesday.”
The woman, who Negro’s office says holds a British passport, was left last Wednesday before dawn by the director outside the Brindisi airport in the province of Puglia, which sits at the heel of Italy’s boot, according to her testimony to police. She says she did not have an airline ticket, but that he gave her money to buy one when the airport opened, according to the prosecutor’s office.
The prosecutor’s office says the woman was discovered cowering in a corner of the small airport by a flight attendant who immediately alerted authorities. “She was destroyed,” the attendant told police, according to the initial investigative document. “She spoke with difficulty.”
After an initial medical examination at the airport health clinic, she was taken to the hospital for treatment in line with Italy’s “pink protocol” for rape victims, which includes psychological counseling. The prosecutor’s office says she “suffered repeated non-consenting sexual assaults” including one so violent she was “forced to seek medical attention.”
That horrific event is apparently what led to the end of her ordeal, when she says Haggis drove her to the airport in the early hours of Wednesday. The medical examiner’s report says that she was left incapable of having sex from the violence.
The prosecutor’s office says that after she was left incapacitated, he drove her alone to the airport from the tourist town of Ostuni about an hour away where the 69-year-old—who has been accused of sexual misconduct by four other women—was headlining the Allora Fest with Oliver Stone, Matt Dillon, Edward Norton, and Marisa Tomei. The music and film festival immediately distanced themselves from Haggis, canceling all events he was scheduled to take part in.
Police then investigated the new allegations, surveying camera footage outside Haggis’ hotel room and the airport that reportedly proves she was with him. They then waited until the woman left Italy safely to arrest the director on Sunday in Ostuni. His family had by then joined him. He was held in custody in the provincial capital city of Brindisi overnight, but has been released under house arrest at a hotel in Ostuni awaiting the equivalent of an arraignment this week.
An attorney for Haggis, Priya Chaudhry, refused to comment on the case to The Hollywood Reporter, citing a non-existent “law” she says prohibits her from commenting on ongoing cases. “That said, I am confident that all allegations will be dismissed against Mr. Haggis,” Chaudhry said in an email to the outlet. “He is totally innocent, and willing to fully cooperate with the authorities so the truth comes out quickly.”
Haggis wrote two best picture Oscar films with Million Dollar Baby in 2014 and Crash in 2005. The latest incident is not the first time the Canadian director has been in legal trouble. An ongoing civil lawsuit accusing him of violence was filed against him by publicist Haleigh Breest in 2017. Three more women came forward a year later saying he had sexually abused them. He denies all accusations.
Haggis, who left the Church of Scientology in 2009, has claimed that the sex abuse allegations are simply retaliation by the church. His accusers deny that claim.