IOWA CITY — A judge says 15 female drivers who claim they were sexually harassed by male trainers cannot testify at the upcoming trial against a Cedar Rapids trucking company.

U.S. District Judge Linda Reade barred the testimony Monday from women who claim they were groped, assaulted and harassed while working for CRST Van Expedited.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission wanted to introduce their testimony to bolster claims of the woman it’s representing in the long-running case. Monika Starke claims she reported being sexually harassed by a trainer in 2005 but a dispatcher initially instructed her to stay on the truck. CRST denies that.

Reade says the testimony isn’t relevant to Starke’s claim and could confuse and prejudice jurors since the 15 were allegedly harassed by other trainers. A scheduling hearing is Thursday.

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