A philosophy professor who wishes to remain anonymous wrote to the editor of Disability Studies Quarterly in the wake Anna Stubblefield’s conviction for aggravated sexual assault of a severely disabled man requesting that the journal issue a retraction of an article purportedly co-authored by Stubblefield and her victim. From that letter:
Earlier this month, philosophy professor Anna Stubblefield was convicted in the United States of two counts of felony first-degree aggravated sexual assault of [“D.J.”]. In common parlance, Prof. Stubblefield was found guilty of raping D.J., whose mental capacity has been variously described by his legal guardians and court experts as nonverbal, unable to give consent, and possessing the mental capacity of “an 18-month-old infant.”
Even if one assumes the merits of facilitated communication, it is no longer credible to hold that that D.J. is the author of the abovementioned article, as no other facilitator, court expert, legal guardian, or family member vouches for any ability of D.J. to express himself propositionally, let alone to write articles for academic journals. To continue to maintain the presumption of D.J.’s authorship of the article requires that one uphold as trustworthy the unique word of his convicted rapist.
The continued availability of the abovementioned article would imply that the Editors of Disability Studies Quarterly and the Directors of the Society for Disability Studies find the unique word of D.J.’s rapist to be sufficiently trustworthy for maintaining the article as part of the repository of peer-reviewed published research. Such trust in D.J.’s rapist would not appear to satisfy the minimum conditions of scientific integrity of an article for a peer-reviewed academic journal. The article in question continues to be indexed in a variety of academic databases for various disciplines, including those in philosophy.
Additionally, the ongoing unqualified availability of the article by Disability Studies Quarterly is arguably a further injustice to the rape victim in this case, who is a member of the disability community.
For these reasons, I respectfully request that you correct the scholarly record without delay by issuing a clear statement of retraction for this article on the website of the Disability Studies Quarterly.
The journal responded to the author of the above letter saying that it would review the request, and now, Retraction Watch reports that the journal “is ‘paying significant attention’ to papers authored by Anna Stubblefield.” Though the official note from the journal did not specifically mention Stubblefield, “Brenda Brueggemann, the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Society for Disability Studies (SDS), which publishes DSQ, confirmed that the note refers to Stubblefield’s articles.”
(Thanks to Felipe de Brigard for the link to Retraction Watch.)