A jury convicts filmmaker Paul Haggis, writer and director of ‘Crash’, of rape

Movie director Paul Haggis, in Rome.TIZIANA FABI (AFP)

The Me Too motion inspired many ladies to report instances of sexual abuse that had occurred up to now and had gone unpunished. Within the warmth of it, a publicist denounced Canadian filmmaker Paul Haggins for abuse and rape within the writer-director’s house in Manhattan (New York) in 2013. This Thursday, a jury discovered him responsible and sentenced him to pay the sufferer a minimal of $7.5 million.

Because of the time that had elapsed, in lots of instances of abuse and rape there was no conclusive proof to help a legal cost. In some instances, corresponding to this one, the victims opted for civil proceedings. Haggis, 69, should pay these 7.5 million {dollars} as compensation to Haleigh Breest, 36, who was 26 when the occasions occurred. As well as, the jury will later set an extra quantity for punitive damages.

Haggis received two Oscars in 2006 together with his movie crash to the most effective authentic screenplay and to the most effective movie. He was additionally the screenwriter for Million Dolar Child, Letters from Iwo Jima, On line casino RoyaleY Quantum of Solace. As director he left his signature on the function movie Within the valley of Elah or within the miniseries Present Me a Hero.

Haleigh denounced him in December 2017 by means of a civil lawsuit earlier than a New York courtroom. 4 different girls who’ve participated within the trial testified that Haggis had additionally abused them to totally different levels, together with one who mentioned she had been raped by the screenwriter within the Nineties. Final June he was arrested in southern Italy on prices of sexually abuse a lady for 2 days. He remained in confinement in a lodge for 2 weeks till a choose allowed him to depart. The investigation into that case is ongoing.


In keeping with the publicist’s grievance, after attending the premiere of the movie Unwanted side effects, Haggis provided to take her dwelling. She then informed him to have a drink earlier than her and pressured her to go to his home, moderately than in a public setting. As she testified on the trial, the girl warned her: “Simply so you realize, I am not going to sleep in Soho tonight,” the place the place her house was. Nonetheless, as soon as there, Haggis behaved violently, kissing her, ripping off her stockings, forcing her to carry out oral intercourse and raping her. She fell asleep afterwards and awakened there the following morning.

After six hours of deliberation, the jury has given credibility to the sufferer’s story with the vote of 5 of its six members. In the course of the trial, the communications after the day of the rape have been proven. Haleigh wrote to a pal that the filmmaker had been “powerful and aggressive” regardless of her continued denial. “I believed he was simply going to take me dwelling. How naive,” she wrote to a pal. As she testified, she informed the jury that she had felt “trapped like an animal.”

Haggis denied the accusations, mentioned the connection was consensual, accused Breest of getting demanded cash in trade for withdrawing them and sued her, though her case has been rejected. He additionally supported the thesis that it was all a conspiracy by the Church of Scientology in revenge for having withdrawn from it. The filmmaker, nonetheless, has proven contradictions and model adjustments. First he mentioned that he had not had sexual relations with the publicist, then that he didn’t bear in mind having had them after which that she was “passionate” in her mattress.

The filmmaker even acknowledged that when he kissed her, she informed him: “No, I should not”, however he took it as a “mocking” conduct, “a bit like Betty Boop”, the primary feminine cartoon character to behave sensually . And that since she acquired “contradictory alerts” he informed her that she didn’t need to do something that she didn’t need. “He by no means gave me any indication that it was not consensual,” he testified on the trial.

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