Anna Stubblefield: Where is the Former Rutgers Professor Now?

Image Credit: Sky UK

Netflix’s ‘Tell Them You Love Me’ is a true crime documentary film that delves deep into the controversial case of Anna Stubblefield and her relationship with Derrick Johnson, a non-verbal man with disabilities. With commentary from two different perspectives, viewers find it difficult to pick a side. While Derrick’s family talks about their emotional side of the story, Anna puts her heart on her sleeve while recounting her relationship with him. Although Anna faced the consequences of her proven crime, she maintained her innocence, giving viewers reasons to investigate her current whereabouts.

Anna Stubblefield Showed an Interest in Helping Persons With Disabilities Since Childhood

Born to Sandra McClennen, Anna Stubblefield, who went by the name of Margie McClennen in her earlier days, was born and raised as a Jewish in the town of Plymouth, Michigan. Apart from local politics, women’s empowerment, and environmentalism, Anna’s parents were also involved in helping people with disabilities. Due to this exposure early on in her life, Anna found an interest and passion in lending a helping hand herself. During her elementary years, her mother taught her how to write braille and even helped her make a blind pen pal upon her request. She also showed interest in sign language and learned the alphabet.

Made to believe that she was supposed to fix the world, the high school student, Anna, wasted no time in acting upon it by writing articles for the school newspaper — about a classmate who became pregnant and a press-freedom case involving students of the town. Both the articles went on to earn her a national award. During her sophomore year, she donned the garb of the titular role in a town production of ‘The Diary of Anne Frank.” Upon graduating from the University of Michigan, she moved to New Jersey and did her graduate work at Rutgers in Philosophy.

In 2000, she earned her Ph.D. and became a scholar in the field of Africana philosophy. Following that, she went on to become the chairwoman of the American Philosophical Association’s Committee on the Status of Black Philosophers, becoming the first and only white scholar to be in the position. She expressed her views about racial injustice in her 2005 book titled ‘Ethics Along the Color Line.’ Anna married Roger Stubblefield, a black tuba player and classical composer, with whom she had two children. In the 2000s, she also served as the director of the philosophy department at the Newark campus of Rutgers University. Apart from that, she had also been a professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Anna Stubblefield Grew to be Fond of Derrick Johnson

When John, one of her students, explained the disabilities of his brother, Derrick Johnson, and asked Anna for more information about facilitated communication, she volunteered to help Derrick through the initial steps herself. So, in March 2009, Anna met Derrick for the first time, not knowing that her life would change entirely after that. During their first meeting, the professor tried to establish his intelligence level by taking a simple visual test.

Image Credit: Sky UK

As Anna’s lessons with Derrick became regular, he made so much progress by the end of the year that he was able to form meaningful sentences to emote what he felt and had in his mind. By the fall of 2010, Derrick expressed his discontent with the fact that he had not received a formal education of any kind. To give him an experience of what it was like to attend classes, Anna made him join an African American literature course at Rutgers University on Saturday mornings. Impressed by his progress, Anna invited him to speak to an undergraduate class about disability issues.

During class, while students were interviewing Derrick, Anna realized that she had a soft spot for him and had started falling in love with him. About a week later, she could not help but confess her feelings to him and unsurprisingly, he shared the same feelings for her. In the coming meetings, they ended up consummating their romantic relationship. On Memorial Day 2011, the love birds decided to disclose their relationship to Derrick’s mother, Daisy P. Johnson, and brother, John Johnson, with Anna detailing even the intimate details to them. Behind her back, Derrick’s family went to the authorities and accused Anna of sexually abusing him.

Derrick’s Family Took Anna Stubblefield to Court

In September 2015, her trial began, and she and her defense were not allowed to use any testimony related to facilitated communication as the court did not deem it to meet the standards of admissible evidence. With nothing other than her words against the prosecution, she was found guilty of the charges against her. A few months later, on January 15, 2016, Anna received two concurrent 12-year imprisonment sentences for first-degree aggravated sexual assault where the victim was physically helpless or mentally incapacitated. Even after the release, she was ordered to be placed on parole supervision for the rest of her life.

After a couple of years, she appealed her conviction, which resulted in her favor. Thus, after serving two years of her sentence in March 2018, she pleaded guilty to a lesser charge than the original one and was released from prison. However, she was registered as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and ordered to spend her entire life under parole supervision and without getting in contact with Derrick or his family. Shortly after her release from prison, she reportedly worked as a server in a restaurant for a while before starting to work from home.

Anna Stubblefield Has Moved On With a New Partner

After leaving academics, Anna Stubblefield worked for streaming services, writing audio description tracks for viewers with visual impairments. Reports suggest that she has been putting her writing skills to good use by working on a screenplay with an Australian filmmaker friend. She also has an interest in interior design, and ever since helping several of her friends with their residences, she began contemplating pursuing this as an opportunity to open her own business. After crossing paths with Boris Melomedov in 2019 at a speed dating event, Anna got lucky in matters of the heart as well. Both of them had tried all that they could to find a perfect match through their respective friends and did not have any hopes of finding love at a dating event.

As sparks flew, the two spent a lot of quality time with each other and decided to move in together by the time COVID-19 arrived. Having spent a few years with each other, the couple moved to Bethlehem, New Hampshire, and in 2023, they settled into their new home, which was designed by Anna, the building as well as its interiors. In their new house, they are accompanied by two furry little animals — a dog and a cat. Anna also focuses on her physical health by doing yoga and Pilates regularly to stay in shape. In 2023, the former professor showcased her talent for singing and playing the guitar by putting one of her partner’s poems into music.

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