Paul Haggis Released in Italy Following Sexual Assault Charges: Reports

·3 min read
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Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic Paul Haggis

An Italian judge has reportedly granted Paul Haggis' release from detainment following charges of sexual assault.

In his ruling, Judge Vilma Gilli of the Court of Brindisi said there was an "absence of constricting violent behavior" from Haggis, according to Italian news agency ANSA, adding that "the methods of meeting between the suspect and the offended person" were "spontaneous."

The judge also reportedly noted "a complex story that blurs the original judgment expressed in the ordinance which had ordered house arrest for" the Canadian writer-director, 69.

Prosecutors alleged last month that Haggis "forced the young woman, known by him from some time ago, to submit to sexual relations," reported the Associated Press, via Federal News Network.

Prosecutors said in their written statement that the woman was "forced to seek medical care" after the alleged incident, which they said occurred over the course of two days.

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Sebastian Reuter/Getty Paul Haggis

RELATED: Oscar-Winning Crash Director Paul Haggis Arrested in Italy on Sexual Assault Charges: Reports

Best known for writing and directing 2004's Crash, Haggis was reportedly being detained in a hotel room in the city of Ostuni. Gilli previously ordered the two-time Academy Award winner to remain in the hotel room pending further review, the AP reports.

The filmmaker's lawyer Michele Laforgia told the AP that Haggis is remaining in Italy for the time being, noting, "let's see what the prosecutor's office will do at this point."

He also told PEOPLE in a statement: "The revocation order by the judge for preliminary investigations acknowledges not only the absence of any precautionary needs, but also excludes 'any violent or otherwise coercive conduct' by Haggis.

"It is an important result, which confirms the version offered from the very first moment by Haggis on the voluntary nature of the relationship he had with the complainant and shows how our procedural system is capable, in a short time, of remedying mistakes and restoring freedom to those who are entitled to it.

"We are confident that in an equally short time it will be possible to definitively clarify that Haggis did not commit any crime and he is completely innocent of this terrible accusation, as we have always said."

RELATED VIDEO: Director Paul Haggis Accused of Rape, Sexual Misconduct by Multiple Women

Haggis was previously accused of rape and sexual misconduct by multiple women. In a December 2017 lawsuit, publicist Haleigh Breest claimed that after a film premiere in 2013, she accepted Haggis' offer to give her a ride home, but instead he allegedly brought her back to his apartment where he quickly became "sexually aggressive." After allegedly forcing her into a bedroom, Breest claimed he forced her to perform oral sex on him before allegedly raping her. Haggis denied the rape allegation at the time.

The following month, three other woman came forward to Breest's attorneys. In a series of interviews with the AP, they provided details of their sexual-misconduct allegations, which allegedly stemmed from interactions they had with Haggis from 1996 through 2015, when they were still beginning their careers. One of Haggis' accusers claimed that the director and screenwriter raped her in 1996 when she was 28 years old and working as a publicist. All of the women chose to remain anonymous.

In August 2018, Haggis said in part in a filed response that Breet's claims were "shocking and scandalous claims of fiction" which he "vehemently denies." Additionally, the director denied Breest "gave [him] oral sex" forcibly or without her consent, calling the moment consensual.

He also denied the claims in a statement provided to PEOPLE at the time.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.

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