Anna Stubblefield, the former Rutgers professor who was initially sentenced to 12 years for sexually assaulting a disabled student, pleaded guilty to criminal sexual contact on Monday as part of a new plea deal.
Stubblefield was first sentenced to 12 years in prison in January 2016 after being found guilty in 2015 of first-degree aggravated sexual assault. But an appellate court determined in 2017 that Stubblefield did not receive a fair trail and overturned the conviction. NJ.com reports that in Newark Superior Court on Monday, Stubblefield pleaded guilty to third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact as part of plea deal with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, which recommends a four-year prison sentence (though Stubblefield would get credit for the time she’s already served.) Stubblefield’s sentencing is scheduled for May 7.
Stubblefield, a former professor of ethics at Rutgers, was the subject of a 2015 New York Times Magazine story about her case. Stubblefield was enlisted by the family of the victim D.J., a 34-year-old man who has cerebral palsy and was declared by the state to have the mental capacity of a toddler, to help him communicate with a controversial method known as “facilitated communication,” which involves guided typing and movements. Stubblefield then developed a sexual relationship with D.J. and maintained throughout her trial that he could consent to their actions.
Stubblefield finally admitting in court that her sexual contact with D.J. is a crime is a departure from how she has previously described their relationship. “I believed that he and I were intellectual equals, and that our romantic relationship was consensual and mutually loving,” she wrote to Superior Court Judge Siobhan Teare in a letter from prison in 2016. “I intended no harm, and I had nothing to gain.”