It is being reported on September 10, 2015 that the first day of a trial against Rutgers professor, Anna Stubblefield, 46, charged with two counts of sexual assault against her former patient, a 34-year-old man known as ‘D.J’ who suffers from cerebral palsy. The alleged incident occurred in Newark N.J. in 2011.
D.J. has suffered from cerebral palsy since birth and has been diagnosed as severely mentally disabled. Experts determined that he had the mental capacity of a two year old. Stubblefield, the chairwoman of the Philosophy Department at Rutgers University works with helping disabled people communicate through a controversial method called, “facilitated communication.”
The questionable method of communication is when the disabled person’s hands are guided along a keyboard and ostensibly speaks to others through this manual manipulation. The crux of the trial depends upon whether D.J. consented to the sexual contact with Stubblefield. The technique has been compared to using a Ouija board by critics. D.J. is otherwise unable to talk or communicate.
After working with D.J. for two years at her office and his home, Stubblefield claims that they fell in love. The man’s mother discovered them together she filed charges against the professor.
Today prosecutors stated that the Stubblefiedl ” . . .targeted him, because of his mental incapacitation, his physical limitations and the fact that he doesn’t speak . . .” While the defense claimed, “Stubblefield and D.J. had fallen in love and were in a consensual relationship.”
Superior Court Judge Siobhan Teare determined that facilitated communication was not a “recognized science” so she would not allow expert testimony. The judge stated, “The trial is not about facilitated communication.”