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Award-winning author and University of Virginia professor accused of harassment

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia — Former students at the University of Virginia have accused a creative writing professor and National Book Award winner of sexual harassment.

The Daily Progress in Charlottesville reported Friday that two former graduate students recently filed complaints with the school against author John Casey. He won the National Book Award in 1989 for his novel “Spartina.”

Former student Emma Eisenberg says Casey repeatedly touched her and others and made vulgar remarks about women.

Eisenberg, who earned her degree in 2014, said Casey’s behavior was an “open secret.” She said she came forward after women nationwide began speaking out against sexual harassment.

UVA spokesman Anthony de Bruyn said the school is investigating.

Casey told the newspaper and The Associated Press that it’s too early to comment because “the case is ongoing.”