Is Scientology Behind the Paul Haggis Rape Allegations?

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

Last week, the legal team for Haleigh Breest, an entertainment publicist suing filmmaker Paul Haggis for allegedly sexually assaulting her in his New York apartment in 2013, issued a subpoena that invoked Donald Trump’s $ 130,000 hush payment to adult star Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 presidential election.

Breest’s team served the subpoena to the Hollywood talent agency CAA, which represents Haggis, and is seeking any and all documents and communications concerning the Crash director’s lawsuits and legal settlements, arguing that this is necessary “because settlement agreements involving sexual misconduct are often written to conceal their true subject matter.” Haggis, for his part, denied being involved in any such sexual misconduct settlement agreements, and his legal team has contended that this demand for correspondences is meant to cause his “total ruination.” They also referenced Haggis’ status as a Scientology whistleblower, claiming, “Such tactics call into question whether [Breest] has obtained outside funding for her litigation from parties with an interest in harming [Haggis].” 

This isn’t the first time Haggis has suggested that the Church of Scientology, who’s had it out for him since he became the first high-profile celebrity to defect from (and speak out against) the controversial religion, is somehow involved with the sexual-assault allegations against him—which now includes Breest and three other accusers who have chosen to remain anonymous.

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Rape survivors are fighting back against victim-blaming in Lebanon

“I’ve been raped,” Manal Issa shouts as she staggers down a street in Beirut.


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Women are posting photos of their underwear online in response to this shocking Irish rape trial

#ThisIsNotConsent

REX

Words by Niamh McCollum

Activists in Ireland have taken to social media to post photos of their underwear after attention was drawn to a female complainant’s thong during a rape trial in Cork, Ireland.

In the female defence barrister’s closing speech, she asked the jury to consider the 17 year old’s choice of underwear during their final determination. She stated: ‘You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front.’

The accused was subsequently acquitted.

The events of this trial have led to outcry across Ireland, with many women engaging in a viral social media campaign, surfacing on Twitter and Instagram.

Under the hashtag #ThisIsNotConsent, women have been posting photographs of their own underwear in all shapes, colours and materials.

The campaign is to protest the use of such a technique in court, which allows for victims’ underwear to be passed around as evidence.

Here are some of the most powerful images we’ve seen from this vibrant campaign…

The hashtag was created by a Facebook group called Mna na hEireann (Women of Ireland).

Attention was also drawn to the issue by Irish politician Ruth Coppinger, who held up a lace thong in the Irish Parliament during Leader’s Questions yesterday.

While holding the blue lacy underwear, she said: ‘It might seem embarrassing to show a pair of thongs here…how do you think a rape victim or a woman feels at the incongruous setting of her underwear being shown in a court?’

Since when did the shape or material of a woman’s underwear determine the issue of consent?!

Fiery females of Ireland, roar louder!

The post Women are posting photos of their underwear online in response to this shocking Irish rape trial appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Elementary school teacher accused of child rape

BENTON, La.  — A Louisiana elementary school teacher is accused of rape and video voyeurism of children. News agencies report that Benton Elementary School physical education teacher Aubrey “Perry” Norcross was arrested Wednesday on a charge of video voyeurism, and the rape charge was added Friday. The two charges involve different children. The Times of…
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Cristiano Ronaldo Left Off Portugal National Team After Rape Allegations

(LISBON, Portugal) — Cristiano Ronaldo was left off Portugal’s national team squad for a pair of upcoming matches, the decision coming Thursday as the soccer great fights rape allegations in the United States.
Ronaldo has been accused of rape by Kathryn Mayorga, who says the player assaulted her in Las Vegas in 2009. He has denied the accusation. Ronaldo was left off the squad for Portugal’s second game in the UEFA Nations League at Poland on Oct. 11 and a friendly match in Glasgow against Scotland three days later.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos said Ronaldo also will not be called up for the next round of international games in November.

Santos said the decision was taken after a three-way conversation between him, Ronaldo and the head of the Portuguese soccer federation. He refused to give details of the conversation, nor would he comment on Ronaldo’s state of mind, saying the information was private and personal.

Santos said he expected Ronaldo to play again for Portugal eventually.

Ronaldo also missed Portugal’s first two post-World Cup matches last month, with Santos saying then that Ronaldo had only just moved to Italian club Juventus and was still settling down there.

Santos used the 33-year-old team captain’s absence last month to try out younger players.

Ronaldo, who is nearing the end of his playing career, is a national hero in Portugal and the country’s best-known celebrity.

He is the country’s most experienced player with 154 national team appearances, and its all-time highest scorer with 85 goals.

Sports – TIME

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A Rape Accusation Against Cristiano Ronaldo Is Finally Getting Attention. It’s About Time Soccer Had Its #MeToo Moment

Cristiano Ronaldo is Portugal’s most famous soccer player and arguably the most famous athlete in the world. But in the last few days, his name hasn’t been in headlines for winning championships or crying on the pitch after being issued a red card. His name is flashing across screens because of a 34 year-old woman named Kathryn Mayorga, has come forward to say Ronaldo brutally raped her in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009.

How is it possible that a story that sports media in North America had no interest in publishing less than two years ago, is now splashed all over every screen and social media platform? This case was not reported on by any major outlet except for a story in 2017 by the independent German newspaper Der Spiegel. Except for a select few commenting on social media (myself included), the case against Ronaldo got no traction. Fast forward 18 months, and Der Spiegel published another story. This time, it was a detailed account from Kathryn Mayorga herself. The publication spent more than 20 days with her and held countless interviews, fact checked and re-checked before it published.

The documents acquired by der Spiegel were damning and according to a recent Twitter thread by one of the main authors, Christoph Winterbach, there were more than 20 staff involved in working on the article. In response. Ronaldo’s lawyer and his team made a lot of noise as part of their legal posturing and even accused der Spiegel’s piece of being “illegal” because “it violates the personal rights” of Ronaldo. Laughable at best.

For those who understand the law, and the severity of the crime, there is much substance in this story. Back in 2009, Mayorga’s inexperienced lawyer (who had specialized in traffic violations) was no match for Ronaldo’s PR mega-machine and legal team, ended up settling with them for $ 375,000 on the condition Mayorga not . But Mayorga’s new legal team is disputing that contract and arguing that she was mentally deficient due to trauma from rape, and was not competent enough to make a proper decision at the time.

They have filed a civil suit on Mayorga’s behalf and the case has since been re-opened by the Las Vegas police. In Nevada, the statute of limitations has not expired for this crime. Mayorga has not only suffered physically (the hospital documented her injuries in a rape kit when she reported the crime), but she continues to suffer from that trauma to this day and—according to her lawyer—is in “active therapy.”

Ronaldo initially called the allegations “fake news” and insinuated that Mayorga was trying to get famous using his name. I have worked with survivors of violence and have yet to meet or know of a victim who has enjoyed any of the bullying, shame, societal isolation and mental health upheavals, and wanted to claim some type of infamy from an attack. And I won’t even dignify the ridiculous notion of “false accusations.”

Writing about rape culture in the soccer world is a struggle. Before the 2015 UEFA Championships, I heard about allegations against Spanish goalkeeper and Manchester United star David De Gea, who was implicated in a horrible rape case. I pitched that piece to at least ten different outlets and no one was interested in publishing it and paying me for my work. Thankfully, I found it a home at a soccer site entirely run by women. And they backed me up when the online harassment started to descend. I have only tweeted about Ronaldo thus far and the responses to my tweets have been violent and angry—presumably from Ronaldo supporters. Another indication of the hatred casually flung at women for speaking up.

Mayorga’s attorney has said that she was enabled by hearing survivors in the #MeToo movement disclose their own stories. There is a strong tide of women speaking up courageously, slowly washing away the impunity often enjoyed by powerful misogynists and abusers. Perhaps #MeToo has finally transcended into the realm of sports, a realm where it is desperately needed. With cases like Patrick Kane, Kobe Bryant and Baylor University’s football team, and other men who rarely face consequences for their actions, it is needed now more than ever.

Predictably, the same sports media who initially had no interest in this story have become “experts” in criminal law, and on sexualized violence. The vacuous reporting and unnecessary reflections are mostly done by men, and center the 33-year-old star. Opinions on due process (reminder: it’s a legal system not a justice system) and about Ronaldo’s athletic prowess and teams don’t have anything to do with this case in which he is accused of anally raping a woman, who by his own accord, told him “no.”

The way that these stories are reported by sports journalists who have little or no training in reporting accurately on sexualized violence can be re-traumatizing for many survivors. Instead of investing in proper media tool kits compiled by advocates for victims of violence (all free), editors unleash a bevy of unhelpful pieces that contribute to an unhealthy society steeped in rape apologism. On that night in 2009, Mayorga was dancing with Ronaldo. Does that mean she invited rape? No. These outlets are complicit in the way that victim blaming and shaming become part of natural discourse when rape is reported.

Then there is the sexist sports establishment itself. Since the most recent news broke out, the predictably irrelevant statements of solidarity from Ronaldo’s supporters have emerged. His current team Juventus FC tweeted out nonsensically reminding Twitter that Ronaldo has conducted himself with “professionalism” and “dedication.” The issue at hand is not whether he is a “champion.” How Ronaldo performs on the pitch is not correlated to the fact that he may have brutally violated a woman. The issues must not be conflated.

Ronaldo was left off of the Portuguese national team roster for upcoming international matches—but not because the Portuguese football federation felt it necessary to exclude him from the squad for being charged with a violent crime. They somehow managed to explain this decision while singing his praises. Portugal national men’s coach Fernando Santos said in a news conference on Thursday, “[Federation] president Fernando Gomes and I spoke with Cristiano Ronaldo and we considered it best for the player not to be included in this and November’s call-ups.

He went on to wax poetic about the alleged rapist: “I personally always support my players, and this is not even a question of solidarity, but I believe what the player said publicly. He considers rape to be an abominable crime and clearly reaffirms that he is innocent of what he is being accused of. I know Cristiano well and I fully believe he would not commit a crime like that.”

How nice for Ronaldo for people to believe him because he works hard and people are familiar with his persona. And while Nike and EA Games, two of Ronaldo’s major corporate sponsors, are “concerned” with the allegations, it is not enough to have them pull their money away—even though Ronaldo allegedly used sponsorship money to settle with Mayorga in 2009. The reluctance to cut ties with a powerful athlete underlines that the dignity of a woman is not worth sacrificing profits from soccer cleats.

#MeToo has yet to be championed the way that alleged rapists are.

Sports – TIME

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‘An Abominable Crime.’ Soccer Star Cristiano Ronaldo Denies Rape Accusation

(TURIN, Italy) — Cristiano Ronaldo has denied “accusations being issued against” him and called rape an “abominable crime.”

The 33-year-old Ronaldo has been accused of rape by Kathryn Mayorga. She has said the soccer great raped her in Las Vegas in 2009.

Ronaldo posted a video on Instagram shortly after a civil lawsuit was filed in Nevada last week, calling it “Fake. Fake news.”

On Wednesday, Ronaldo tweeted in both Portuguese and English.

Ronaldo wrote: “I firmly deny the accusations being issued against me. Rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I am and believe in. Keen as I may be to clear my name, I refuse to feed the media spectacle created by people seeking to promote themselves at my expense.”

In a second tweet, he added: “My clear conscious will thereby allow me to await with tranquility the results of any and all investigations.”

Sports – TIME

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