Former Rutgers University Professor Anna Stubblefield’s Parents Were Highly Spirited Humanitarian For Disabled People

Anna's mother, Sandra McClennen, has worked with blind, cognitively impaired children since 1963.

The 54-year-old Anna Stubblefield’s parents were Ph.D. holders in special education who had worked rigorously with people with disabilities for decades.

Author Anna Stubblefield, a former ethics professor at Rutgers University and Syracuse University-trained facilitator, was based in West Orange, New Jersey, USA.

Anna’s mother, Sandra McClennen, has worked with blind, cognitively impaired children since 1963.

Sandra was one of the earliest practitioners and a first-generation facilitator of Facilitated Communication (F.C.),” a controversial typing method specifically designed for disabled people.

Anna used to assist as a videographer for McClennen’s early FC sessions.

For decades, Sandra taught disabled people social skills with the hope of helping them move out from state-run hospitals to community housing.

Anna Stubblefield Is Now Leading Her Life Under The Radar Of Public Eye

In 2015, 45-year-old philosophy professor Anna pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact with a 34-year-old non-verbal disabled man, Derrick Johnson.

Derrick had cerebral palsy, which made him mentally incompetent, and he was unable to speak beyond making noises.

Anna met Derrick in 2009 when Derrick’s family hired her to help him learn to communicate.

He progressed in his communication skills using a “Facilitated Communication” keyboard under Anna’s guidance and supervision.

Anna Stubblefield, A former ethics professor at Rutgers University, Was convicted in 2015 of sexually abusing Derrick Johnson, Who Was A Patient Of Cerebral Palsy (Source: The New York Times)

Stubblefield claimed that she and Derrick fell in love. She further clarified that Derrick was not intellectually impaired.

After Anna’s conviction, she was sentenced to 12-year terms in prison and lifetime parole supervision.

During her daughter’s trial, Anna’s mother, Sandra, served as a client facilitator on the court in 2015.

However, after Stubblefield served two years behind bars, the Appellate Court determined she did not receive a fair trial.

The Appellate Court further disclosed that crucial evidence in Anna’s defense was not fully presented to the jury during the trial.

Consequently, in 2017, the Appellate Court ordered a new trial, during which Anna’s conviction was overturned.

Since then, Anna has been living an everyday life but has not exposed herself to the public eye and is leading a low-key life.

In Case You Didn’t Know

  • Anna Stubblefield was married to Roger Stubblefield. However, they have divorced each other. With her ex-­husband, she had two kids; one of them is a black tuba player, and the other is a classical composer.
  • Ethics Along the Color Line‘ was authored by Anna Stubblefield and published by Cornell University Press in 2018.
  • The ‘Tell Them You Love Me‘ (2023) documentary explored Anna’s real case and trial and was released on February 3, 2024 (United States).
  • Facilitated communication (F.C.) is an assisted-typing technique that gives people with disabilities the power to communicate.
  • Anna’s mother, Sandra, was a disciple of Douglas Biklen, who brought F.C. from Australia to the USA.


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