Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis detained in Italy over sex assault claims

Director Paul Haggis was being detained in Italy so police could investigate a claim that he sexually assaulted a woman, according to local reports.  Haggis, 69, is in Italy for a film festival.

Italian media cited local prosecutors as saying they were investigating allegations a "young foreign woman" was forced to have "non-consensual" sexual relations over two days.

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."

Prosecutors also were quoted as saying that the woman "formalized her complaint and cited circumstances which were subsequently looked into for confirmation by investigators." They didn't cite her nationality or age.

Haggis’s lawyer, Priya Chaudhry, said that 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 cooperate with the authorities so the truth comes out quickly."

Canadian-born, Haggis is a director, producer, and screenwriter. He won an Oscar in 2006 for best original screenplay for "Crash."  He also was the screenwriter of "Million Dollar Baby."

In 2018 he was accused of rape and sexual misconduct in a civil lawsuit.

The lawsuit by a publicist prompted three additional women to come forward with their own accusations.

At the time, one of the other women told The Associated Press that Haggis tried to sexually assault her. "I need to be inside you," she recalled him saying, before she managed to run away.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.