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Unclear on the Concept

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published Dec. 2, 2015

Unclear on the Concept

The Merit Systems Protection Board is (wrote The Washington Post) "a personnel court of last resort" for federal employees unfairly punished by demotion or firing -- which is just what employee Timothy Korb needed when his federal agency suspended him in 2013, allegedly for revealing at a staff meeting that the agency's actual case backlog was much worse than it was letting on. Korb's employer, ironically, is the Merit Systems Protection Board, and in September 2015, an administrative law judge upheld his claim of unfairness. [Washington Post, 10-2- 2015]

Philosophy professor Anna Stubblefield (Rutgers-Newark University) was convicted of aggravated sexual assault against a severely disabled man she was discovered having sex with on the floor in a locked office, but at trial in September, she testified that the man had "consent(ed)" and that the two were "in love." The victim, 34, has cerebral palsy and other ailments, wears diapers, requires assistance for nearly all activities, is intellectually disabled, and does not speak, "except for making noises," according to a brother. Stubblefield had been working with him on the controversial practice of "facilitated communication," in which a facilitator reads a patient's mind via subtleties such as eye movement and articulates the words for him. However, a jury failed to appreciate that facilitated "consent" and quickly convicted her. [NJ Advance Media via NJ.com, 9-25-2015; Inside Higher Ed, 10-5-2015]

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