Friday 15 November 2019

US professor found guilty of raping a severely disabled patient

Picture: AP
Picture: AP

Clare Cullen

A female university professor has been found guilty of raping a severely disabled man(34) suffering from cerebral palsy.

Dr Ann Stubblefield pled not guilty to two counts of sexual assault, claiming that the relationship between the two was consensual.

According to Stubblefield's lawyer, the married professor had taught the man (known only as DJ) to communicate via 'facilitated communication' - a method in which a family member 'steadies the hand' of a person attempting to communicate in order to enable them to type on a keyboard.

She stood accused of raping the mentally-disabled 34-year old in her New Jersey office in 2011. She was found guilty of two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault.

Her lawyer told the court that "all evidence shows a mutually loving relationship and they made conscious decisions before going ahead", but prosecutor Eric Plant claimed the defendant had "preyed" on the man for her own "sexual gratification".

"The way a person feels about someone they abuse or rape, has nothing to do with it".

Speaking to  NJ Advance Media, one of the jurors explained that the jury "didn't believe" that Stubblefield was able to communicate with DJ.

"You don't want to see someone go to jail... but once we started talking about it, everybody kind of agreed that it was wrong".

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