February 10, 2016

"From the start, Anna claimed that the 'rape' was nothing of the kind, but rather a long-simmering and unlikely romance that..."

"... after much sensitive discussion, had at last been consummated. D.J. can neither talk nor dress himself, but Anna argued that he was able to communicate using a keyboard, as long as she was there to hold his hand and give support. 'I’ve dreamed about this,' she said he typed the first time they tried to have sex."

From "What Anna Stubblefield Believed She Was Doing." Stubblefield had been the chair of the philosophy department at Rutgers University in Newark and she wrote: "I believed that he and I were intellectual equals, and that our romantic relationship was consensual and mutually loving. I intended no harm, and I had nothing to gain."

From the comments:
I sat as a juror on this trial. This woman is no she-ro and deserves no one's pity. I wish the NYT and the writer would stop trying to persuade the public that she is some tragic hero that is being persecuted for falling in love with a disabled man. She is a predator, and as her husband stated "a pathological liar and narcissistic." She deserves no pity....

67 comments:

Saint Croix said...

What does he say?

Sal said...

In the first sentence: "...and fervent activist for social justice" We know which way the wind is going to blow in this article.

mccullough said...

Highly intelligent people can be as delusional as anyone, maybe even more so.

Sal said...

"I wish the NYT and the writer would stop trying to persuade the public that she is some tragic hero"

C'mon, imagine the TV series you could create from this. That's probably what the NYT writer is thinking about.

damikesc said...

A professor thought a profoundly mentally disabled was her intellectual equal?

Well, can't disagree there.

That isn't high praise for here, tho.

bbkingfish said...

If the NYT is "trying to persuade the public" that Anna is some sort of hero, then they have failed badly, at least in this story, which leaves the impression that Anna is some sort of unhinged wacko.

YoungHegelian said...

When the judge eyed her impassively, she [Zoe, the defendant's daughter] snapped, “Stop looking so bored,” and went back to her seat.

The daughter comes off as a piece of work, too.

Not to self & others: Never, ever insult a judge to his/her face in a courtroom. No medieval lord ever ran his fief with such an iron hand as your average judge runs his courtroom. It just never turns out well.

Saint Croix said...

“The only reason we’re here is that Ms. Stubblefield disclosed the relationship to the family."

She doesn't have the mens rea. I don't know anything about the rape laws of New York. Are they calling this statutory rape?

Not impressed with the judge reading the ex-husband's letter from the bench. Are we allowing character evidence in sentencing now? Can we put him under oath first, and cross-examine?

Our law is shoddy and getting shoddier. And this emotional mess of a story suggests, to me, that the judge wasn't as rational or as tough as she needs to be.

Fernandinande said...

he was able to communicate using a keyboard, as long as she was there to hold his hand and give support.

"Facilitated communication". IOW, she typed her ideas and imagined it was him. A modern Ouija board.

tim maguire said...

As Saint Croix asks, what does he say? Disabled people need love too. And if they want sex with someone who wants to have sex with them, they have a right to have it just like anybody else.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

What a weird story.

And what's with the letter from the ex-husband? Bitter ex-spouses are considered authorities, now?

Jeff Roth said...

Reverse the situation - male professor, profoundly disabled female.

I doubt very few people would take the professor's side then. Well, very few are now, so let's say almost none.

David Begley said...

More cultural rot. This never would have happened in 1965. Our society is sick and getting sicker. Thanks Libs!

fivewheels said...

Jeff Roth: Take a look at the comments at NYT. Plenty of people, seemingly a majority, are on her side. Because women shouldn't be held accountable for their actions, you know, and consent is something only men have to get (written, in triplicate, notarized on video, but also retroactively revocable). Women just need to have a vague belief inside, then everything's OK.

coupe said...
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The Drill SGT said...

perhaps the ex-husband's letter falls under the category of victim's statement.

as for the sentence, would it be different if the victim were a mentally challenged white girl and the accused, a black male professor? I think not. rape is rape

cubanbob said...

Character references from an ex-spouse are out of order. The courts ought to rehear the sentencing in a new court with a more competent judge.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

he was able to communicate using a keyboard, as long as she was there to hold his hand and give support.

Facilitated Communication has about as much validity as the supposed 'Spirit Writing' practiced by Victorian Era spiritualists.

Saint Croix said...

You'd have to make a legal and factual finding that the man was completely incapacitated and unable to consent. Did the judge do this?

It's not clear to me how she had access to the man, after the family objected. Is he in a facility? Are they taking care of him at home?

Did she have sex with him after the family objected? Then you could argue she had the requisite mens rea.

This journalism is shoddy, by the way. Short on facts. I think he majored in sensitivity in college.

“She tried to lay claim to him and rename him,” he said of Anna, breaking into sobs. Early in Anna’s relationship with D.J., she started calling him by a nickname — one she said he asked for in his typed-out messages. In her view, this was an act of self-determination. But to Wesley, it was a way of taking ownership, with all the echoes of slavery the word implies.

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Goldenpause said...

I wonder if she would have done better with an insanity defense.

sydney said...

She was his brother's professor. The brother probably feels some guilt for bringing his disabled brother into this situation, thus his emotional testimony. I was going to condemn those who support this sort of behavior in the comments, but then I realized they are probably assuming the "facilitated communication" is legitimate and accurate. If he can only communicate with her "assistance", it is not.

Saint Croix said...

If the family had a different reaction, if they are happy, then there is no crime. It's Guess Who's Coming To Dinner with a 10-year-prison sentence for family disrespect.

If the man can't communicate, how does his brother know what his feelings are? Why is his brother assuming, "he feels like a rape victim" instead of, I don't know, happy at his new discovery of sex?

I know next-to-nothing about cerebral palsy. But if he's smiling and happy when she shows up, isn't that evidence?

John Lynch said...

She's using the same justification that pedophiles use, and the answer to that justification is the same: some people cannot give legal consent because of age or disability. Some people are uniquely vulnerable to being victimized by people with more power and status, and the laws holding those people responsible need to be enforced with vigilance.

If she was a Catholic priest we wouldn't be listening to her excuses.

I think we need to confront the fact that people with power and status get an extra layer of protection from their position in society. The offender being an upper-middle class educated woman made this case national news and blinds a lot of people from seeing that a crime has occurred. The victim was disabled and black, and I think that matters, too. If the offender had been black and the victim white, there would be less debate about culpability. Obviously, the genders also matter.

Therapists are ethically and legally barred from having sex with clients. This applies to adults who are fully able to give consent. I fail to see how Stubblefield's relationship wasn't a therapeutic one, and the same standard should apply even if DJ could give consent. She still acted unethically and illegally.

Lastly, if Anna Stubblefield hadn't told anyone what she did... we'd never have known. She clearly didn't think there was anything wrong with what she was doing. That doesn't mean that it wasn't wrong, just that she did not have the ethical conscience to understand why. The judge understood that, and he did the right thing. Disabled people need to be protected from abuse from the people who are supposed to be helping them.

Meade said...

I'm reminded of the claim that Hillary Clinton held imaginary conversations with Eleanor Roosevelt and Mahatma Gandhi as a therapeutic release.

Saint Croix said...

Here's a person with cerebral palsy, writing about sex.

Jeff Gee said...

Two hours and no Lazlo on the thread yet? WTF??

Levi Starks said...

I promise I'm not going to take sides here, but it seems to bring up some questions.
Aren't we led to believe that sex, or should I say orgasms are the most intensely pleasurable activities a human can experience?
And don't we want the differently abled to enjoy as much of life as a fully abled person? "Not able to consent" does not automatically default to "would not consent" if given the opportunity. The mans nutritional needs are met on a daily basis, does he consent?
To compare this man's situation to that of a child is a false dichotomy, the child is by virtue of age not yet able to consent, yet at some future age (based on regional laws) will be able to consent.
This victim has been forever excluded from the possibility.
The true tragedy in this situation may not be that it happened to him, rather that he will be so protected that it can never happen again.

traditionalguy said...

Practice Tip: The professional who interacts with a profoundly powerless person had better have a witness in the room. Better yet a video tape.

The powerless person uses the disability to get sympathy from the professional and later the next person they need sympathy from; and is going to be believed as if they are innocent and taken advantage of. Watch yourself, because this is an area where a good deed is punished per se.

damikesc said...

as for the sentence, would it be different if the victim were a mentally challenged white girl and the accused, a black male professor? I think not. rape is rape

It'd be markedly harsher, going with the track record.

iowan2 said...

Blogger David Begley said...
More cultural rot. This never would have happened in 1965. Our society is sick and getting sicker. Thanks Libs!

We now have a protected class of people who's only distinction from everyone else, is how they sate their sexual desires. Other than what they tell us, they are absolutely indistinguishable from the rest of the population

tim maguire said...

Well said, Levi. You're right that we shouldn't take sides since the article doesn't give us enough to go on. But I find appalling the determination of so many here to deny the handicapped a basic joy of life.

Saint Croix said...

Here's the original article, with quite a bit of discussion of facilitated communication.

It seems to me that the court could have found somebody who is experienced with facilitated communication, have them swear under oath that they have no idea of the factual history, and then attempted to have a conversation with this man, guiding his hands to speak.

Why would the state object to this? If you could communicate with him, don't you want to know what he thinks? I don't understand this assumption that no communication is possible, and the willingness to sentence this woman to 10 years in prison, based on a scientific belief that (apparently) cannot be tested in a courtroom.

damikesc said...

Well said, Levi. You're right that we shouldn't take sides since the article doesn't give us enough to go on. But I find appalling the determination of so many here to deny the handicapped a basic joy of life.

If we're going to take rape seriously, then there are rules that must be abided by. Just because most people love sex doesn't mean that this profoundly disabled man does.

Rick said...

"Not able to consent" does not automatically default to "would not consent" if given the opportunity. The mans nutritional needs are met on a daily basis, does he consent?

Take the next step down the decision tree. Whatever rule we set applies to everyone, are we going to allow someone to decide women "should" experience sex before they die and arrange it without consent? When you balance the risked harms each way the test is rape vs involuntary celibacy. One seems clearly worse to me.

buster said...

@ SaintCroix at 10:39"

She had mens rea. In the context of this case,"mens rea" refers to an intention to perform the forbidden act. She intentionally had sex with him. She had mens rea even if she didn't know the act was unlawful.

Re: character evidence. The rules of evidence do not apply to sentencing hearings. Most of what the sentencing judge hears is character evidence.

Quaestor said...

I believed that he and I were intellectual equals

This may be true -- not the belief, but the fact.

Ferandinande (I have trouble spelling his handle; it like be unable to stop selling banana) is entirely correct in equating so-called facilitated communication with ouija boards and other forms of divination -- the ideomotor effect, pure and simple. Either Dr. Stubblefield is dangerous sociopath trying to sway the unwary and uneducated (an ever-growing demographic unfortunately for our republic) or she is unequipped intellectually to hold an academic chair at such a prestigious, or should I say formerly prestigious, institution as Rutgers University.

David said...

"She deserves no pity...."

But she will get some, being a liberal educated female academic who knows how to spin such a yarn and can count on the solidarity of a cadre of idiots who would be recommending harsh punishment if the "professor" were a man and the disabled person a woman. Add "conservative man" and castration might be on the table.


Ron Winkleheimer said...

Ferandinande (I have trouble spelling his handle; it like be unable to stop selling banana) is entirely correct in equating so-called facilitated communication with ouija boards and other forms of divination -- the ideomotor effect, pure and simple. Either Dr. Stubblefield is dangerous sociopath trying to sway the unwary and uneducated (an ever-growing demographic unfortunately for our republic) or she is unequipped intellectually to hold an academic chair at such a prestigious, or should I say formerly prestigious, institution as Rutgers University.

Facilitated communication was quite the fad in therapeutic circles a few years ago and is making a come back, despite being thoroughly debunked. There is quite a market for it because there are is no shortage of quacks willing to take advantage of desperate parents.

Rae said...

“The only reason we’re here is that Ms. Stubblefield disclosed the relationship to the family."

How did that go?

"Oh, by the way, I've started fucking your disabled son. It's like were family now!"

Ron Winkleheimer said...

James Randi a magician familiar with the ideomotor effect commonly attributed to dowsing and later linked to FC,[35][110] put it more succinctly when he called facilitated communication "a crock that does more harm than good by raising false hopes among families of autistic children" after he was called in to investigate the technique at the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1992.[22][49] The James Randi Educational Foundation has offered a million-dollar prize "to a valid demonstration of facilitated communication." In 2009, Randi responded in an interview for the Rom Houben case, where it was shown that messages from a Belgian man who was believed to be in a coma for 23-years were generated by the facilitator. "Our prize is still there."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facilitated_communication#Facilitated_Communication_and_the_media

Ron Winkleheimer said...

This issue of testing the messages obtained through Facilitated Communication has, historically, been problematic for those in the FC community who support its use. Proponents claim that testing is demeaning to the disabled person,[11] that the testing environment creates performance anxiety,[103][112] or that those being facilitated may purposely produce nonsense, refuse to respond or give wrong answers to counteract the negative attitudes of those who are skeptical of the technique

In other words, its pseudoscience.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

"Oh, by the way, I've started fucking your disabled son. It's like were family now!"

If I recall the original article I read a few months ago, you are not far off.

Saint Croix said...

In the context of this case,"mens rea" refers to an intention to perform the forbidden act. She intentionally had sex with him.

Was she convicted for statutory rape?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@Saint Croix

Yeah, she was.

D.J. has been declared by the state to have the mental capacity of a toddler.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/25/magazine/the-strange-case-of-anna-stubblefield.html

She claims the state is wrong and that FC reveals that the victim is an intelligent, romantic, sensitive man who likes everything that she likes and dislikes everything she dislikes. A man that wants to be with her and only her. A man that is totally dependent on and devoted to - her.

In other words, he was being used to fulfill her needs. I think she actually believes the stuff she is peddling.

Doesn't make what she did right.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Proponents claim that testing is demeaning to the disabled person,[11] that the testing environment creates performance anxiety,[103][112] or that those being facilitated may purposely produce nonsense, refuse to respond or give wrong answers to counteract the negative attitudes of those who are skeptical of the technique.

Are you sure that didn't come from the teacher's union regarding standardized testing of their results?

MaxedOutMama said...

I'll take "Die".

buster said...

@ Saint Croix:

She was convicted of violating a statute that makes it a crime to have sex with a disabled person without the person's consent. As Ron Winkleheimer says, the man was unable to give consent as a matter of law. She knew he was disabled and unable to give consent as a matter of law. Why shouldn't she be convicted?

The statute has the effect of making it impossible for some disabled persons (those who can't give consent) ever to have sex legally. That's a consequence of having laws, i.e., rules of general application. So what?

Quaestor said...

Ferandinande (I have trouble spelling his handle; it like be unable to stop selling banana)

Unable to stop spelling banana, dammit! I was trying to make a rather lame joke, but either Safari's auto-correct (more like auto-fuckupper) or my increasing flaky bluetooth keyboard betrayed me.

Otto said...

Don't know and don't care about the case , but are you surprised that the NYT is siding with a tikkunista.
Again a Princess ,even from MI, exhibiting that 'nostalgie de la boue" . Must be those playboy magazines on the coffee table. Sorry Ann - easy pickings.

maskirovka77 said...

I wonder if anyone who thinks what the professor did to her student was "okay" would have the same reaction if it was a male professor "having a relationship" with a severely handicapped female student.

Either way doing something like what she did is sick and abnormal.

Quaestor said...

Facilitated communication was quite the fad in therapeutic circles a few years ago and is making a come back...

More evidence that "therapy" is just a form of snake oil. A century ago the greedy and unscrupulous mixed grain alcohol and shoe polish and called it medicine. Today the same kind of social parasite hangs out a shingle with the word therapist on it. Aroma therapists, acupuncturists, holistic healers, regression therapists... the list only grows as the capacity for reason declines. I'm thinking specifically of a particularly egregious monster called Barbara Lamb who preys on sad, lonely people by charging them thousands of dollars to reinforce their delusions of alien abduction -- a self-regenerating gravy train of lies.

Facilitators are hardly any better. Many are deceiving themselves, but all are deceiving the desperate and frustrated relations of those unfortunates, and bilking the taxpayer if they receive so much as coffee and a doughnut for their worthless efforts.

Bay Area Guy said...

A few words come to mind:

Crazy, psycho, female Professor:

Ahh, that captures it nicely.

Saint Croix said...

Harvard has published an article supporting the validity of facilitating communication. I haven't read it, and don't have a strong opinion either way. Although I do think Harvard has a bit more credibility than the magician James Randi.

Anyway, if it is bad science, then the prosecutors, or the judge, should have no problem with bringing in Professor Biklen and trying to communicate with this man. I don't understand this certainty that communication with him is impossible. Even if other cases are failures, that just translates into a statistical probability. Which is hardly a basis for sentencing a woman to 10 years in prison.

JSD said...

Sean Connery: It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.
Alex Trebek: That's "therapists", not "the rapists".

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Although I do think Harvard has a bit more credibility than the magician James Randi.

Actually, in this situation I'll take a professional magician over a Dean of Education at Syracuse University whose Ph.d is in Sociology.

Every. Time.

http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Douglas-Biklen/2575873

Anyway, Biklen is one of the main promoters of this crap, of course he is going to state that the victim is an unsung genius who might just be the next Einstein or Lord Byron who wooed his lady love via his astounding charm and sophistication, learned while attending adult day care all his life where the attendants, somehow sensing his innate ability, spent their time reading classic novels to him and exposing him to films and art.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

While looking around the web I keep seeing that FC is "controversial." FC is controversial in the same way that homeopathy is controversial.

Its controversial because despite the fact that it is utter nonsense, idiots and charlatans keep pedaling it.

Jonathan Graehl said...

Randi has more credibility with me in his area of expertise than "Harvard".

n.n said...

Saint Croix:

I imagine that facilitating communication would exploit the associative properties of the neural network. The potential fallacy is that facilitating may become leading, but that is always a possibility with any external interaction.

walter said...

Blogger YoungHegelian said...
No medieval lord ever ran his fief with such an iron hand as your average judge runs his courtroom. It just never turns out well.
---
They do have ways of sending other signals. Like when I contested a traffic violation which the judge threw out except for court costs. The court costs happened to be the exact same amount to the penny if the ticket.


Blogger tim maguire said...
As Saint Croix asks, what does he say? Disabled people need love too. And if they want sex with someone who wants to have sex with them, they have a right to have it just like anybody else.
--
This is certainly true in some cases. The trouble is this long discredited practice of FC continues decades after it was debunked.
I first encountered this working on a multiple biography based profile of workers with developmental disabilities finding roles in the workplace. 4 of the proposed bios were legit and inspiring..the 5th was based around a young woman who was suffering from a disease that took her from normal cognition and speech to blabbering and making minimal eye contact. There was a "job coach" that claimed to be able to "facilitate" this person's communication. This consisted of her hand "helping" the woman with the supposedly lacking fine motor skills necessary to spell on a communications board. Painful to watch..since the hand was being "helped"" around the board while the woman looked here and there..mostly anywhere but the comm board...to write poems..and to compliment folks like myself in the room. Clearly the mom was hanging on to the scenario as way to remain connected to her daughter. I was in this meeting with family and staff and it was like some sort of test to see if I would get with the program. It was just like being asked to believe black is white. Well..worse.. Since it far more malevolent..essentially putting words in someone's mouth while pretending to open doors for that person. I excluded that bio from the project only to find that after the other bios were completed, one of the "clients" was being introduced to FC. I spent a lot of time thinking about all that..never occurred to me it might be used like in this article.

Jupiter said...

What bullshit. This is, in fact, feminism run amuck. Like when they throw the book at some semi-hot math teacher for "raping" a 16-year-old boy.

To be clear; for no very clear reason, feminist theorists have decided that feminism requires the complete biological equality of male and female. Biology must be denied. To that end, they are willing to throw any number of innocent women under the bus. The idea that women need to be legally protected against being raped by men, but men do not need to be legally protected against being raped by women, is intolerable to them, for reasons that are purely ideological. And the people who write the laws have decided to play along, for reasons that are either incomprehensible or flatly contemptible.

It would be interesting to find out just exactly what this woman is accused of doing. I can see how a woman could "rape" a man who did not have a hard-on. Say, with a broomstick. But it does not sound like that is what happened here. All these busy-bodies should butt out.

Helenhightops said...

I think this is like a Ouija board. And if I were writing horror fiction, she would not have been communicating with the young man she assaulted. It would have been more along the lines of The Rocking Horse Winner. She would have roped in by a malevolent presence. I just wonder.

Gahrie said...

I'm just glad she didn't get pregnant and force him to pay child support.

Saint Croix said...

Reverse the situation - male professor, profoundly disabled female.

I can't actually imagine myself falling in love with a woman with cerebral palsy. It's far easier to imagine myself with cerebral palsy, wanting to get laid.

If we're reversing the situation, let's put it in a context that many of us might understand.

Anna and D.J. get really drunk and have sex. The next day they wake up, and Anna freaks out.

"What happened? What did we do?"

"I think we had sex. I'm pretty sure."

Anna is highly upset. She goes home crying to her parents, and drops out of school. Her family decides to prosecute D.J. for rape. They are very vocal, especially Anna's sister.

At the trial, Anna will not (or cannot) testify. She can't remember anything and refuses to take the stand. D.J., who is quite honest, goes on the stand and admits that he and Anna had sex, they were very drunk, and he loves her.

Now, you're on the jury. Are you going to convict D.J. of rape?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@Saint Croix

Your hypothetical doesn't work because the woman had the choice to get drunk or not. She is an adult with the ability to form judgments and give consent.

Also, there are people who would convict him. In fact, the situation you describe is why, in the olden times, decent men didn't have sex with a drunk woman because it was presumed that she couldn't give meaningful consent and if you did "take advantage of her" you were a cad.

And yes, I know, this is now the standard on college campuses. Forty-six or so years of 2nd wave feminism blending into 3rd wave feminism and we are back to a behavioral standard propagated by the "patriarchy" for centuries.

I see a lot of stuff lately about virginity being a "social construct." Therefore, I expect to see chasteness making a comeback in the next few years.

In any case, the victim in this case has been judged to have the mental capacity of a toddler.

Toddlers are unable to consent to anything.

PatHMV said...

Saint Croix, your analogy isn't entirely accurate. In your hypothetical, both parties were drunk, and there was at least some kind of prior relationship between the two of them.

Here, the rapist was not drunk or incapacitated in any way. And the only person who claims that the victim was capable of providing any kind of consent was the rapist. According to all the other testimony, DJ had no ability to communicate with the outside world.

A more accurate analogy would be that a man walked up on a passed-out drunk woman, asked her if she wanted to have sex, and then decided that her drunken, unintelligible mumblings were best translated as "yes, I want to have sex with you and turn my back on every member of my family."

If this "facilitated communication" was real, then it would be repeatable, and another communications facilitator could have assisted DJ in reporting to the court that the sex was consensual. But it's not real, and so nobody but the guilty party could "communicate" with the victim.

walter said...

"If this "facilitated communication" was real, then it would be repeatable, and another communications facilitator could have assisted "

Yep. In my wxample, only one person claimed to have the skills to work the magic.
You would think the mother would have been ready and willing to undergo the necessary training to allow communication when the designated one was away..
But my sense was that she preferred the arrangement as it was.
All of this was examined in a pretty high profile 60 minutes expose years before..but in some situations, the desire/need for it allows it to continue.