Dana Stubblefield: Former San Francisco 49ers star convicted of raping woman with learning disability

James Crump
·2 min read
Dana Stubblefield in police custody: (Santa Clara District Attorney's Office)
Dana Stubblefield in police custody: (Santa Clara District Attorney's Office)

Former San Francisco 49ers star Dana Stubblefield was convicted of rape alongside other charges in a California courtroom on Monday.

During the nine-month trial, which was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, prosecutors said Stubblefield lured a developmentally disabled woman to his house with the promise of an interview for a babysitting job, before he then raped her.

The jury found that the former American football player used a gun during the assault that took place in April 2015, before he gave her $80 (£61) and let her leave his residence.

The 31-year-old woman reported the incident immediately after she left Stubblefield’s house, Santa Clara County deputy district attorney Tim McInerny wrote in a statement following the verdict.

On Monday, Stubblefield was convicted of rape by force, oral copulation by force and false imprisonment, but was acquitted of raping a person incapable of giving consent.

The 49-year-old, who was named NFL Defensive Player of the year in 1997, played as a defensive tackle for the San Francisco 49ers for seven years before he became a commentator following his retirement in 2004.

Santa Clara County district attorney Jeff Rosen released a statement about the verdict on Monday, where he called the ruling a “triumph of resilience”.

“The victim has struggled her whole life with learning disabilities and challenges to be self-sufficient,” Mr Rosen said. “If we are not fighting for her, then who are we fighting for?

“It has been a long road for this remarkable woman and we are thankful to the jury for providing her some closure and, for our community, justice after an unconscionable and violent crime,” he added.

Stubblefield’s lawyer Allen Sawyer said that he “firmly believes” that his client is innocent and revealed that they plan to appeal the verdict.

He also claimed that Covid-19 created “unprecedented jury trial circumstances” that affected the due process of the trial.

“It was very difficult for jurors to try to recall what evidence was presented months ago,” Mr Sawyer told CNN on Monday. “The jury was in panel in January and it stopped for two months because of Covid, then it stopped again for weeks on time.”

He added: “We will clear his name, and we look forward to fighting this out in the courts. This is just the first battle.”

Stubblefield faces 15 years to life in prison and is awaiting a date for sentencing.

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