Paul Haggis‘ rape accuser scored a precedent-setting victory before a New York appeals court. As a result, Haleigh Breest will be able to claim that the Oscar-winner commited a gender-motivated hate crime under the Victims of Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Law (VGM), according to The Hollywood Reporter.
New York appellate judge Peter Moulton wrote in the majority: “Rape and sexual assault are, by definition, actions taken against the victim without the victim's consent. Without consent, sexual acts such as those alleged in the complaint are a violation of the victim's bodily autonomy and an expression of the perpetrator's contempt for that autonomy. Coerced sexual activity is dehumanizing and fear-inducing. Malice or ill will based on gender is apparent from the alleged commission of the act itself. Animus inheres where consent is absent.”
This is her second major legal victory. Last year, New York Supreme Court Judge Robert Reed ruled that she could move forward with her suit against the director, despite questions about the timeliness of her suit.
Breest says Haggis raped her in his apartment in January 2013 after the premiere of Side Effects. The trial begins in February.