January 05, 2018 04:41 PM

 

After a civil lawsuit was filed against Paul Haggis accusing the filmmaker of rape in December, three additional women have come forward with sexual misconduct allegations against him, according to a report from the Associated Press.

In the lawsuit — which was filed on Dec. 15 in New York City — a publicist who was identified as Haleigh Breest accused the Crash Oscar-winning filmmaker of raping her.

According to the lawsuit, 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. The next morning, Breest left while Haggis was still asleep.

The AP reported that Haggis denied the original rape allegation and filed an extortion lawsuit against Breest, claiming she and her lawyer had demanded a $9 million payment.

One of the three additional women who has spoken out against the filmmaker also accused Haggis of rape.

In response to the charges brought forward against Haggis, Christine Lepoera, attorney for the 64-year-old Million Dollar Baby screenwriter told PEOPLE in a statement, “Mr. Haggis denies these anonymous claims in whole.”

Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic

“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,” her statement continued. “Notably, no one has reached out to anyone on Mr. Haggis’ team other than the press to report this.

“He 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. Mr. Haggis also questions whether Scientology has any role here, which he notes has been attacking him for years with false accusations.”

Haggis is one of the most high-profile Scientology defectors.

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According to the AP, the three additional women came forward to Breest’s attorneys and in a series of separate interviews with the AP, they provided details claims 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. All of the women chose to remain anonymous.

One of Haggis’ new accusers claimed that the director and screenwriter raped her in 1996 when she was 28 years old and working as a publicist.

At the time she claimed she was working on a television series Haggis was producing and one day he had asked her to review photos from the show at night. The woman claimed that Haggis then insisted they go to a back office, where he quickly began kissing her.

“I just pulled away. He was just glaring at me and came at me again. I was really resisting. He said to me, ‘Do you really want to continue working?'” the woman told the AP. “And then he really forced himself on me. I was just numb. I didn’t know what to do.”

She then claimed Haggis made her perform oral sex before raping her. The accuser added that she did not tell the police at the time because she was worried Haggis would end her career.

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Another woman claimed that when she was in her 30s, Haggis tried to kiss her during a nighttime meeting. Although she claimed the meeting was initially attended by other employees, she added that they left quickly after she arrived. The woman went on to allege that after rebuffing Haggis, the filmmaker followed her outside to her car before she was able to drive off alone.

A fourth woman claimed that after Haggis forcibly kissed her, he followed her into a taxi and then attempted to force his way into her residence. The woman — who was in her late 20s at the time — went on to claim that for the next 24 hours, Haggis sent her harassing messages via text. 

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