Former Rutgers-Newark philosophy department chairwoman to appear in court for alleged sexual abuse of mentally-handicapped man


The former chairwoman of the Department of Philosophy at Rutgers-Newark is expected to appear in court on Thursday for charges of aggravated sexual assault after she allegedly molested a man with cerebral palsy in 2011. The alleged victim, D.J., is said to have the mental capacity of an 18 month old.

Anna Stubblefield, 44, who is on administrative leave without pay, allegedly told the school that she and 33-year-old D.J. were in “love” and had consensual sexual relations, according to courthousenews.com.

D.J.’s mother and brother claim that Stubblefield told them about the alleged incidents in May 2011.

Stubblefield advocated “facilitated communication,” a technique she thinks can help the disabled communicate with the help of a facilitator running their fingers across a keyboard, according to nj.com.

Stubblefield’s lawyer, James Patton, said the issue is whether D.J. was capable of giving consent through Stubblefield’s facilitated communication.

Patton claims that D.J. was capable of giving consent.

Stubblefield met D.J. in 2008 and acted as his facilitator for two years, according to nj.com.

She met with D.J. at his home, Rutgers and the Cerebral Palsy Center of North Jersey, according to courthousenews.com

She brought him to conferences in Philadelphia and Wisconsin, where D.J. communicated in front of audience members with Stubblefield as his facilitator, according to nj.com.

According to the complaint filed by D.J.’s mother and brother, Stubblefield sexually exploited D.J. at a pool party the same summer she claimed she would help him present his research at the 2010 Autism National Committee.

In August 2011, D.J.’s family brought their allegations to University police officers, according to nj.com. Stubblefield was indicted on aggravated sexual assault charges in January 2013.

Both sides are expected to appear in court on Thursday before state Superior Court Judge Siobhan Teare. According to nj.com, the judge will make the decision regarding whether or not more tests need to be done to determine D.J.’s ability to communicate.

A previous version of this article titled Anna Stubblefield as the chairwoman of the Department of Philosophy.


Sabrina Szteinbaum

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