NYC cannibal case tests lines of fantasy, threat

Oct 28, 2012 by Tom Hays
In this courtroom drawing Federal Defender Julie Gatto requests bail for her client, New York City Police Officer Gilberto Valle, right, at Manhattan Federal Court, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 in New York. Valle was charged with leading a ghoulish double life by using a law enforcement database and fetish chat rooms to dream up a plot to torture women and then cook and eat their body parts. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)

(AP)—In Internet chats as breezy as they were bizarre, a New York City police officer accused of plotting to kidnap and eat as many as 100 women was once cautioned not to be wasteful when cooking a victim because "there is nearly 75 pounds of food there."

But no one was ever actually harmed in Gilberto Valle's alleged plot, let alone eaten. And a defense attorney says the officer was merely engaging in harmless Internet fantasy.

Where exactly the line is drawn between bizarre talk and a true plot has emerged as the key question in a case that has shocked even the most jaded New Yorkers.

Indeed, experts say many people have a compulsion to create horrific scenarios about , and that the Internet allows them to indulge in their dark side anonymously and—usually—safely.

"There is a big difference between discussing, and even fantasizing about this type of activity and actually carrying it out," said Jeffrey Parsons, a psychologist at Hunter College. "Not all the people who fantasize about it will go on to carry it out."

One website called "Devoured"—devoted to a fetish called "vore"— is almost comical in its approach, saying it's "where everyone's on the menu."

The site defines "vore" as a that "occurs from the idea of being eaten whole and alive, eating another alive, or watching this process."

A chat room named "Yum Chat" spells out strict rules for participation: "In-character taunting between predator and prey that's all in good fun as part a role play is just fine, but player to player attacks" aren't allowed.

The online banter attributed to Valle is not characteristic of a sexual disorder, but more indicative of some type of or a personality disorder, Parsons said.

"Certainly, there are people who are going to sort of address a disorder or problem by letting it out, by venting," he said. "They think, 'If I can express, let it out in an email, or a chat, that's satisfying enough, I don't have to go out and engage in that behavior.'"

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly declined to comment Friday on a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan that read like "Silence Of The Lambs" and earned Valle instant tabloid infamy.

The Daily News dubbed him "Finest Young Cannibal." The New York Post blared "Cook 'em Danno."

There also were reports of an odd disconnect between the horrendous allegations and Valle's softer side on social media.

In his profile on a dating site, he wrote that he considers himself "a true gentleman, and chivalry is huge with me. ... I'm on here simply because I haven't been able to find a girl who I want to spend some of my free time with."

Valle is a six-year NYPD veteran, a college grad and father of an infant child.

At a bail hearing on Thursday, defense attorney Julia Gatto argued that he never posed a threat. Charges of kidnapping with the intent to murder are overblown, she said.

Her client "at worst is someone who has sexual fantasies about people he knows and he talks about it on the Internet, but not act on it," she said. "Nothing has happened. We may be offended. ... But it's just talk, your honor."

But prosecutors won the argument to jail Valle by claiming his fantasies had morphed into a very real threat.

At the time of his arrest, Valle was on the verge of "kidnapping a woman, cooking her and actually eating her," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Hadassa Waxman.

The government cited evidence that Valle compiled a dossier on women he knew—and hoped to turn into meals.

"How big is your oven?" an unidentified co-conspirator asked in a July chat about one alleged target.

"Big enough to fit one these girls if I folded their legs," Valle responded, according to the complaint.

Prosecutors accused Valle of running names of women on a police computers without permission to get more information on them, and of following two of them, once while on-duty. He also made a cellphone call from near the home of one woman, authorities said.

Some of Valle's alleged conduct raises red flags, Parsons said.

"This is somebody using a database to target potential victims," he said. "That means it's more serious."

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User comments : 12

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alfie_null
4.7 / 5 (3) Oct 28, 2012
harmless Internet fantasy

Are most people's fantasies this extreme? I suppose it's not a good idea to legislate thoughtcrimes, but I'm not at all comfortable with such people serving in public safety positions.
FrankHerbert
3.4 / 5 (5) Oct 28, 2012
People in positions of power or special authority (police, judges, government officials, prison employees, etc) should be subject to 3x the normal penalty if they use their priviledges to commit a crime. Once for committing the crime, once for abusing his special priviledges, and another time just to know we are serious.

Minor crimes would become much more serious and less likely to be committed. More serious crimes that fall short of murder would take on much lengthier prison terms, something I imagine would be a deterrant for the persons in question.

Abuse of power should never be tolerated. That being said, it doesn't seem like the guy in this article actually committed a crime. However, I have no problem with the NYPD firing his ass. No fly list? How about a never-allowed-to-be-a-cop-list? If we really cared about people being terrorized, the latter would exist.
Lantern5
1 / 5 (2) Oct 28, 2012
The police, various government agencies and even bureaucrats simple data records systems on cars and housing have on hand a huge amount of personal data of all of us. What happened in this case, is an example of the need for internal affairs department to monitor the police. That's not a luxury. For members of organized crime is very easy to infiltrate and bribe policemen. We can see how in Mexico, are often fired every cop in various cities. This is because of that trap them in business with drug criminals and all sorts of crimes.
Continue:
Lantern5
1 / 5 (2) Oct 28, 2012
In my opinion, it is necessary that an internal affairs department use espionage at least in police agencies. It is necessary to use spy devices integrated into buildings and police department vehicles. You also need the use of undercover agents in the places where they meet police. Find out corruption trends or psychopathic tendencies of the police is vital to keep our families safe.
Even legislation can do to make this work easier to perform for the department of internal affairs. Clearly, the government must ensure that the internal affairs department receives the budget, training and technology required.
Lantern5
1 / 5 (2) Oct 28, 2012
Even the CIA can engage in espionage to police if the internal affairs department is not able to monitor all police suspects.
The CIA must also monitor the mayors who run the police. If the mayor and the police chief received money from drug traffickers, it is clear that it is useless to fire corrupt cops, because new police will be forced to become corrupted and engage in organized crime operations. This in Mexico is something that happens often.
kochevnik
1 / 5 (1) Oct 28, 2012
Obviously a failed sting operation. Real investigators would catch the cop stalking a victim or collect physical evidence. This precrime innuendo reeks of entrapment. How are these fantasies different from what is played on screens everywhere? Movies like Human Centipede or Saw and games like Deadspace also take taboo liberties with their characters. The case is that cops are very lazy and don't want to do real work catching real criminals when they can witchhunt on the net and eat donuts.
The CIA must also monitor the mayors who run the police, because if the police chiefs and mayors receive money from the drug cartels
Your are a fool. The CIA RUNS DRUGS. Those checkpoints you see inside the US are to block the competition. When the boss phones the checkpoint the CIA vehicles pass right through. Stupid border guards think they're helping the cause when in reality they're taking out the CIA's competition. The pretext of drugs then allows them to track your money.
Lantern5
1 / 5 (2) Oct 28, 2012
Clearly, many movies and video games permeate the soul of many young people with obsessive desire to murder and torture.
I understand the American ideal of freedom, but it is clear that a person's freedom ends where another person's rights are murdered.
I think movies and video games that people obsessed with the murder and torture should be banned for the film industry and videogames maintain certain limits of violence and sadism. Of course, we must consider that it is more important to us. Is it more important to the safety of our families or the unlimited freedom to create art sadistic and perverse?. Of course, films that show teens what can happen if they get into certain risk situations are useful films if not exceed sadism.
Lantern5
1 / 5 (2) Oct 28, 2012
Woou! It seems that the government of Mexico have caught me speaking ill of Mexico. Well, I have not expected to live hundreds of years, twenty plus twenty less, whatever. I choose to die as a man and not kneeling.
freethinking
2 / 5 (4) Oct 28, 2012
FH, I feel strange today that I have to 100% agree with you.
hagger
1 / 5 (2) Oct 30, 2012
maybe all fiction and horror writers should be on trial as they obviously intend to carry out their plots...thin end of the thought crime policies now being used to jail folks..i think obama is a wanker and should be jailed and impeached for his treason against the USA and it's people..maybe that will be a good book..after all it's all fact and not fiction..cant jail some one for facts..or maybe i am wrong...did i dream this..i refute this dream..
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Oct 30, 2012
Are most people's fantasies this extreme?

That realy depends. Most people do have some non-politically correct fantasy or other.

Whether it's a sexual fetish, people talking about nuking country X or Y (and even playing at such things in ever more realistic game scenarios), shooting their boss or eating another human.
It's really an issue of: why is talking about nuking another country OK and eating another human being not so much? If at all the first one would cause way more suffering, so it's very difficult to make a case for punishing the latter while letting the former off as case of "just kidding".

Even though I'm pretty horrified at this guy's 'hobby' - but as long as no one is actually hurt: No harm, no foul.
rubberman
not rated yet Oct 30, 2012
I wouldn't call this a failed sting if the guy was caught actually stalking 2 of the people he had professed a desire to eat. They are likely happy to hear of his arrest. Also, If I start searching out brinks truck routes and money P/U times online, and profess in internet chatrooms that my financial troubles will soon be over, then I am seen at a bank during a pick up taking notes. I will have, at minimum garnered a surveillance detail. In this case they can wait until I act before they do, but if peoples lives are on the line, waiting isn't an option.