CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina man is accused of committing “egregious” sexual harassment against women who either rented or wanted to rent or buy a house from him for at least 13 years.

The U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday that it filed a lawsuit against Robert N. Hatfield, who rents, sells and finances homes in Wilkes County. A news release said Hatfield made unwelcome sexual comments and advances, and engaged in unwanted sexual touching and groping.

The lawsuit also said Hatfield offered housing benefits in exchange for sex acts and took or threatened to take action against women who objected. Hatfield denied the allegations in an interview with WSOC-TV in Charlotte.

A person who answered the phone Thursday at a listing for Hatfield hung up before responding to a request for comment.