Prof: Toss conviction for sexually assaulting disabled man

AP News
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Posted: Nov 09, 2015 2:36 PM

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A Rutgers University professor is asking a judge to throw out her conviction for sexually assaulting a man who has cerebral palsy and cannot speak.

Anna Stubblefield, 45, of West Orange, was convicted Oct. 2 of two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault. She has filed a motion with the judge seeking to have the verdict set aside and either be acquitted or granted a new trial, NJ.com (http://bit.ly/1QoxkM2) reported Sunday.

Stubblefield previously served as chairwoman of the Rutgers' philosophy department. She met the 34-year-old man in 2009 through his brother, who had been taking her course. Over the next two years, Stubblefield worked with the man using a method known as facilitated communication. She argued that although he could not speak, he could communicate by typing.

She said the two were love and they revealed their sexual relationship to his mother and brother in 2011.

Prosecutors challenged the method of facilitated communication, and psychologists determined that he was mentally incompetent and couldn't consent to sexual activity.

Defense attorney James Patton said their most recent motion is based on a lack of evidence to prove Stubblefield knew the man couldn't consent. She is expected to be interviewed at a Woodbridge facility for persistent sex offenders, he said. That should determine if Stubblefield will be considered a compulsive sex offender, he said.

That report will affect how she is sentenced, he said. Court records show she is scheduled for sentencing Jan. 15 and faces a sentence of up to 40 years in state prison.

"We're going to be asking the judge to be as lenient as possible," Patton said. Stubblefield will appeal her conviction.

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Information from: NJ Advance Media.