Paul Haggis Resigns From Charity, Set To Be Deposed By Sexual Assault Accuser’s Lawyers

The lawyer for Paul Haggis is denying the claims of four women who allege that the Oscar-winning “Crash” director sexually assaulted them, and one of his accusers is now firing back.

According to Associated Press, three women came forward to accuse the London, Ont.-born director of sexual assault in the wake of a civil lawsuit, filed in December by publicist Haleigh Breest, who alleges that Haggis forced her to perform oral sex on him and then raped her.

In a legal response obtained by The Blast to a suit filed against Breest by Haggis, his accuser says she wants the director to be “held accountable for what he did.”

“The only thing worse than raping a woman is raping her, then suing her for trying to stand up for herself. Mr. Haggis complaint is a disgrace,” the filing says.

The response continues: “It says nothing about what happened on January 31, 2013. It fails to deny any of the horrific details of what happened in Mr. Haggis’ apartment. It is not even a sworn statement. It is nothing more than a PR stunt and Haggis’ an attempt to silence and intimidate Mr. Haggis victim. Shame on him.”

According to Deadline, on Jan. 29 Haggis will face Breest’s lawyers when he gives a deposition set to be filmed and recorded in New York City.

Haggis is no longer listed on Artists for Peace and Justice’s website, a charity he founded in 2009. As of last month he was still listed as a member of the board of directors.

The screenwriter resigned from his role amid the ongoing sexual misconduct allegations, the charity confirmed to ET Canada. APJ has added Susan Sarandon and Ben Stiller as new Board Co-Chairs and thanked Haggis for “his years of vision and dedication.”

In a statement obtained by ET Canada, Sarandon and Stiller said: “The work of Artists for Peace and Justice, so essential to the present and futures of thousands of children in Haiti, has been a part of our lives for years. As supporters of APJ’s mission to foster economic growth and empower local communities, we are honoured to be joint Co-Chair’s of the Board of Directors for APJ to help steward the mission of the organization into the future.”

The 64-year-old writer/director (his screenplays include “Casino Royale” and “Million Dollar Baby”) first sued Breest after she accused him of sexual misconduct and, he alleges, threatened to sue unless he offered a financial settlement. Haggis has denied all her claims and alleges that Breest is using the current climate in which women are coming forward to report sexual misconduct as a way to extort him. She responded to his lawsuit by filing a civil suit against him.

On Friday, AP reported that since Breest’s lawsuit was filed, three additional women have come forward, detailing alleged encounters with Haggis that took place between 1996 and 2015.

RELATED: Ex-Scientologists Leah Remini And Paul Haggis Reveal Big Stars Have Quit The Church

According to AP, each of the unidentified women were “early in their careers in the entertainment business” when Haggis allegedly “lured” them to private locales “under the guise of discussing productions or a subject of a professional nature.”

Each of the women alleged that Haggis began by trying to kiss them, with two of the women alleging that when they fought back from his advances, he became aggressive.

One of the women, who was 28 when working as a publicist on a Haggis TV project in 1996, alleged that Haggis “forced himself on me. I was just numb. I didn’t know what to do.” She tells AP that Haggis allegedly forced her to perform oral sex on him, and then raped her.

Another accuser told AP of an alleged incident that occurred in the late 2000s, when she arrived at Haggis’ office for what she had expected to be a meeting. Instead, she found a bottle of wine on the desk, while Haggis told her “he had an arrangement with his wife to have extramarital relationships.”

RELATED: Paul Haggis Regrets Being A Scientologist ‘I Just Wish I Had Left Earlier’

She told AP she felt immediately fearful. “I felt like my life could have been over,” she said, adding that she ran to her car, with Haggis in pursuit, and managed to drive away.

A different accuser alleged that Haggis tried to forcibly kiss her, and followed her into a taxi. When they arrived at her home, she alleged she was able to lock him outside, and says that he then sent her threatening text messages until she eventually blocked him.

The director’s lawyer, however, is denying all the women’s allegations. “He didn’t rape anybody,” Haggis’ attorney, Christine Lepera, told AP when addressed with the claims of the three women.

Haggis has continually denied Breest’s allegations; their competing lawsuits are pending.

RELATED: Screenwriter Paul Haggis Sues Woman He Says Is Allegedly Threatening To Extort Him

Last month, Haggis’ attorney issued the following statement in response to Breest’s allegations: “In today’s world, headlines pour down like rain every day with explosive new claims and allegations of sexual misconduct and impropriety, particularly targeted at the Hollywood male elite. Of course, this environment of support and freedom of expression provides a positive forum and voice — for those who actually have been wronged.”

The statement continued: “This maelstrom of media attention, coupled with the immediate guilty verdict from the court of public opinion and the utter and complete damnation of anyone accused of any sexual misconduct, has created an opportunity for persons whose motives and intentions are not so pure.”

Following AP’s report on Friday, Lepera has issued a statement to ET Canada regarding the new allegations, questioning whether the Church of Scientology — which Haggis left in 2009 and which, he says, “has been attacking him for years with false accusations” — may have something to do with these recent accusations.

“Mr. Haggis denies these anonymous claims in whole,” begins the statement.

“In a society where one of a person’s fundamental rights is the ability to confront an accuser, that right has now been eviscerated when it comes to anyone being charged in the press with any sort of sexual misconduct,” the statement continues. “Notably, no one has reached out to anyone on Mr. Haggis’ team other than the press to report this.”

Haggis, the statement adds, “views the fact that these reports appear to be spearheaded from the law-firm representing Ms. Breest, as a further tactic to try to harm him and continue their effort to obtain money.”

In addition, “Mr. Haggis also questions whether Scientology has any role here, which he notes has been attacking him for years with false accusations. We reiterate our claim against Ms. Breest, and note again that we initiated the legal proceedings, not Ms. Breest.”

Interestingly, Haggis was a vocal supporter of the women who came forward to accuse disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein as the scandal unfolded, addressing the accusations in tweets such as this one:

 

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