CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- 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 filed formal complaints with the school this month against author John Casey. He won the National Book Award in 1989 for his novel "Spartina."

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

Eisenberg earned her degree in 2014 and said Casey's behavior was an "open secret" at UVA. She said she came forward after women across the country began to speak out against sexual harassment.

UVA spokesman Anthony de Bruyn said the school is investigating. Casey declined to comment but said he may respond in the future.