- Associated Press - Friday, October 2, 2015

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - A Rutgers University professor accused of sexually assaulting a disabled man she said had consented to the relationship by communicating on a keyboard was convicted on Friday.

A jury returned the guilty verdict on two counts of aggravated sexual assault against Anna Stubblefield.

Stubblefield testified during the trial that she and the man, who has cerebral palsy and is unable to speak, were in love and that he consented to the sexual activity in her office by communicating through assisted typing on a keyboard.

But prosecutors challenged the keyboard method, known as facilitated communication, and presented experts who testified the 34-year-old man was incapable of consenting.

Stubblefield used her position as chair of the university’s philosophy department to “take advantage of a severely disabled person to advance her own career and to satisfy her own sexual desires,” Essex County assistant prosecutor Eric Plant said. “She raped a defenseless man.”

The state said the sexual assaults occurred in 2011 at Stubblefield’s campus office, where she took the man claiming to help him with his communication.

Stubblefield’s attorney said he will appeal the verdict.

After the verdict was read the judge revoked Stubblefield’s bail. The 45-year-old Stubblefield faces up to 40 years in prison when she’s sentenced on Nov. 9.

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This story has been corrected to show the verdict was returned Friday, not Thursday.

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