NEWARK, N. J. – A former Rutgers University professor, whose conviction for the sexual assault of a handicapped man was overturned pleaded guilty Monday to aggravated criminal sexual contact.
Anna Stubblefield in her plea Monday as part of a deal with Essex County prosecutors in New Jersey. She admitted that she should have known that the man was not legally able to consent, but refused to comment further after the hearing.
The prosecutors will recommend Stubblefield received four years in prison when they are sentenced May 7, and they get a credit for the jail time she has already served.
Stubblefield, who once chaired Rutgers-Newark is the philosophy of the department, testified during the trial that she and the man fall in love with after she was brought in by his family to help him communicate. Stubblefield said he agreed to the relationship by communicating on a keyboard, but the prosecutors said Stubblefield used her position to take advantage of the then-29-year-old man, who has cerebral palsy and can’t speak.
Stubblefield was sentenced in 2015, and sentenced to 12 years in prison. But a court of appeal ruled in June that they must have a new trial with a new judge because the judge erred by barring testimony from an expert witness for the defense.
Stubblefield’s lawyer argued that the expert would have convinced the members of the jury, the man could consent to sex. The expert had done a three-day evaluation of the man who recorded “facilitated communication”, a technique that uses a trained person to help a person with a disability, usually of different types.
The judge facilitates communication, is an ‘ unknown area of science.”
The appellate panel found that because the jurors could not hear the expert’s overall assessment of the man, they had the impression that no one — except Stubblefield himself believed that he had the mental abilities to consent to sex.
The Associated Press generally does not identify people who are the alleged victims of sex crimes.
Stubblefield, 48, was married with children, when her relationship with the man developed. She met him in 2009, through his brother, who had all that time training her. The next two years she worked with him with the help of facilitated communication. They claimed that he could communicate by typing.
The family of the man sued Stubblefield and won a $4 million judgment over its treatment of him.