Flesh or Fantasy: Did Creepy "Cannibal Cop" Actually Intend to Eat Anybody?

What's the line between a plan and role-playing?


"Stop resisting! It makes you taste gamey!"

For those who can look past the creepy and salacious details of the case of New York Officer Gilberto Valle, on trial right now for allegedly plotting to kidnap and eat women, there's a question that may prove to be fundamentally unanswerable: Did he really mean it?

The Associated Press reports from the trial today:

Cheerful written exchanges between a police officer and women from his past appeared in a sinister new light when an FBI agent described at the officer's criminal trial how he talked on the Internet about killing and eating the women.

"I'm dying to taste some girl meat," Agent Corey Walsh testified Tuesday that New York Police Officer Gilberto Valle told one of the online friends he met who shared an appetite for human flesh.

The testimony came on the second day of testimony in federal court in Manhattan for the 28-year-old Queens resident charged with conspiring to kidnap women and illegally accessing a government database to research potential victims. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

Valle's defense was that he had absolutely no intent to actually kidnap or eat any women. This was all online fetish role-playing. Very, very thorough role-playing that involved offering to kidnap and deliver a particular woman to an alleged co-conspirator so that he could rape and kill her.

Is it possible to even answer the question of whether Valle intending to follow through with any of his crazy plans? My own prediction is that the allegations of illegally accessing the database to research victims, if it's true, will be what puts it over the edge for Valle.

Over at The Daily Beast, reporter Michael Daly practically hyperventilates at the thought of creepsters with crazy sexual fetishes on the Internet:

Mere cyber porn is only in the depersonalizing shallows of this repository of hate that is at once heated with twisted desires and chilled by icy indifference. Valle plunged to depths most of us cannot even imagine, via an Internet portal called Dark Fetish Network.

Even as Valle sat in court this week, the 364 various groups on DFN included one called Cannibalism, Snuff with 835 members. Those Valle met with during his many hours on DFN included men who were even sicker than himself, among them an individual from England with the screen names Moody Blues and Meatmarketman.

I already used a Chicago reference recently, but I can't read those paragraphs without hearing Christine Baranski's voice narrating in my head.

I think Daly underestimates our imaginations. Or perhaps I'm just jaded by being an early adopter of the Internet. I went ahead and visited Dark Fetish Network (which I won't link to, and it should go without saying is not safe for work unless part of your job allows you to research porn for journalistic purposes). After a few minutes of looking at the page, full of references to sex, death, and sadomasochism, I simply shrugged. This stuff is all over the Internet. If Valle is particularly unique, it's in the possibility that he may have been working to make his fantasy a reality. The fantasy itself is not a new thing. It even has an entry in the Urban Dictionary under "vore." And like every other off-kilter sexual fetish, you can find representations of it in Japanese manga should you care to look.

Not unlike the hand-wringing over video game violence, there's not a lot of evidence that the online expression of dangerous or predatory sexual fantasies is an indication of real world intent. We should certainly be concerned that Valle may have been abusing his position to track women in real life as an expression of his fetish, but we should also be concerned that somebody could be convicted for the contents of his fantasies, as wretched as they may be.

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  1. He should have just printed her out.

    1. +1 Delicious

  2. For those who can look past the creepy and salacious details of the case of New York Officer Gilberto Valle-

    I CANNOT. The precogs got him off the streets just in time. Probably was about to buy some bath salts, too.

    1. The thing is, if he was actually the type to actually do anything he talked about, he would have done it by now. Since he (presumably) hasn’t, he was probably never going to. Fantasies are fantasies for a reason. But accessing that database combined with the ick factor is going to do him in.

      1. Eh, I’m not so sure. I vaguely recall a number of equivalent instances where the perp’s friends or relatives said things along the lines of “We never thought he would actually do anything like what he talked about.”

  3. He should be on trial for abuse of authority, but firing him–really firing him, not police union vacation–would have been sufficient.

    1. No it wouldn’t. If he started the stalking, that’s the concrete step. Hello conspiracy to commit murder, rape, desecration of a body,…….

      1. It depends on if accessing the database is the same a physical stalking. The type of “looking a pretty girl up in the DMV database” infraction isn’t stalking, or if it is thousands of police need to be on trial. (A fantasy for another day.)

        There’s no real evidence he stalked her other than his chatting with the other cannibal.

        1. That is not to say I won’t be fine with him going to jail… I extend the same consideration to falsely convicted cops as they do to to falsely convicted “civilians”: Even if he didn’t do this, I’m sure he did something else and got away with it.

        2. If he accessed the database, that’s the overt act needed for a conspiracy charge, IIRC. IANAL, so get one of the resident shysters to give an opinion.

          1. You’re probably right, Lonely Consonant. I just wonder if the threshold for that won’t be dropped in the future. What if he just googled her? Or read her publically accessible Facebook page? Icky, but I’m not sure it should be an overt act for the purposes of a conspiracy charge.

            1. Well, overt act can be incredibly loosely defined in some instances. It has to be in furtherance of the alleged conspiracy, but that’s not a high bar to clear for zealous prosecutor.

              Say you discuss bomb building and then go to the hardware store and buy some electrical wire. Bingo! Bomb making materials! You’re taking the fall!

              The conpiracy statutes, to me anyway, seemed like a way to nail people who hadn’t actually committed any crimes but were complicit. I understand the motivation for trying to bust the godfather, but you’ve opened yourself up to some potentially egregious abuses here. I’d be far less concerned if we didn’t live in the age of the over-reaching prosecution.

  4. Kudos on the alt-text Scott.

  5. These are the only people who should be able to carry patrol Assault rifles!

  6. “Flesh for Fantasy” would have rounded out the 80s theme for today.

    1. Except that Billy Idol sucks. Like you.

      1. All this intra-philosophical bickering is TEARING LIBERTARIANISM APART! Why can’t we all get along!?

        1. Personally, I blame you.



          1. Crosswise cuts on the wrist, Epi.

            Since you’re too much of a pussy to suck-start a Mossberg like your idol, Kurt Cobain.


              1. Uh-huh. That’s what you tell yourself to numb the pain, isn’t it? Use heroin, it’s more effective than pernicious lies.

              2. El Duce killed Kurt.

  7. Remember the cop who was caught on film decking some woman in the aftermath of a parade?
    NOT GUILTY! Like that was a surprise.

    Lt Josey told the court that she had refused to drop a bottle she was holding when asked and that he had tried to knock it out of her hand.

    He said he was ‘shocked’ when she went down when his hand struck her face.

    Me bullshit detector go DING DING DING.

    Then again, he got a trial by judge. No jury. So of course the judge believed his bullshit. They are on the same team, after all.

    Next he’ll sue to get his job back with full back pay. And win.…..sault.html

    1. It’s very disappointing when you follow up with horrible cases of cop abuse, and you’ll read (in the original case) that officer so-and-so was dismissed or fired. But then you follow up a couple of years later and find that officer so-and-so was quietly reinstated after some arbitration board got involved.

      If I’m correct, the infamous case of that cop threatening the guy that he’d put his .40 in his mouth and pull the trigger after the victim had been repeatedly trying to inform him that he had a conceal carry permit? Cop got fired, but then was reinstated a year or so later.

      I fear we’re not winning this battle, we’re losing it.

    2. You mean the judge pretended to believe his bullshit. Gee, the judge ruled in bad faith to protect one of the king’s men, what a surprise!

  8. Not really sure how DFN is any creepier than Anne Rice vampires who basically have orgasms when they drain people’s blood, apart from vampires being a more popular dark fetish. But that this particular guy went so far as to research potential victims does seem to cross a line into something much more problematic.

  9. I can personally vouch for the fact that the fantasy does not just go in one direction either. My first wife once wrote a detailed description of one of her BDSM fantasies which involved her preparing herself to be ready for consumption and then impailing herself on a spit so the Dom can roast her alive, not only did she really get off on that fantasy it was quite well recieved in the BDSM community she posted it in.

    1. Oh, she sounds fun. I command you to tell us some stories.

      1. lol I can’t remember any specific really interesting ones although I am sure that there were some, but I will say that she got really pissed at me when I didn’t have sex with her for 2 whole weeks because I had Double Pneumonia and couldn’t breathe

        Really however she was too wrapped up addicted to a Dragonriders of Pern Mud and pretending to be a professional musician (the talent was there but nobody makes money playing Celtic Harp) for most of our marriage to get interesting

    2. Let me guess. She left because you didn’t beat her?

      1. “You don’t wanna beat me or screw me?!? What kind of marriage is this? Bring a book.”

        1. If you can’t make a pretend cannibalism fantasy work with a woman from the internet who doesn’t love you and who you hardly know, how can you expect to make a real one work?

        2. Lol no,by the end of the marriage I really didn’t want to screw her anymore either, both because of her apperance (never all that great to begin with) and personality (utterly self absorbed narcissist), and yes I faked orgasm on several occasions just so she’d shut up.

          That said it was an open marriage and she was free to go get her BDSM jollies off from others, the only rule I had was no open bruises becasue I didn’t want strangers assuming I was the one beating her.

      2. My (very progressive) friend and I were several drinks in at a bar one night when she says “my boyfriend doesn’t hit me enough.” I responded “All right Ayn Rand.” She has surprisingly fast reflexes and I ended up with a visible palm print on my face.

        1. That means she wanted you to bang her, you idiot. God, you fucking gay dudes suck at women.

          1. Bullet dodged Opportunity wasted!

      3. Lana: Cyril! Cyril, you get your ass out here right now!

        Cheryl: Is she freaking ’cause Cyril said he wanted to bang Danny, the intern?

        Pam: No, I think it’s ’cause he said he wanted to marry her.

        Cheryl: She’s so weird… Hey, will you choke me a little bit?

      4. It was actually one of the reasons yes. On the BDSM front I am pretty vanilla with no interest in inflicting pain or restraining anyone.

  10. I don’t give a shit what the contents of his fantasies were/are. People can be as sick as they want, but if you start taking steps to act on that shit…I have no trouble with the idea of prosecuting inchoate crimes, so long as you can prove there actually were steps taken in contemplation of completing the crime and mens rea.

    How do you prove mens rea? Who knows, I guess.

    1. I’m pretty sure that mens rea doesn’t matter anymore.

      1. Warty stopped getting his period years ago.

        1. Then why does he always act like he’s on the rag?

          1. Because its building up in him.

  11. This thread is why HyR rules.

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