Five years ago, NYPD Gilberto Valle went from upstanding police officer to suspect. Soon to be known as the ‘Cannibal Cop’, Valle’s wife had discovered horrific details on a home computer outlining a complete plot on how she would be killed and cannibalized.
Her testimony in court outlined the online content written by her then husband. “I was going to be tied up by my feet and my throat slit, and they would have fun watching the blood gush out of me,” she had said.
In other online activities, the FBI discovered that Valle had discussed his plans with multiple co-conspirators to “kidnap, rape, torture, kill, cook and cannibalize” a number of women from his lists that were compiled from a Federal database during his time as a cop. The databases he had accessed gave him lists of addresses, physical descriptions and images of his potential victims, cataloguing over 100 women.
In 2014, however, Valle was acquitted of all charges. US District Judge, Paul Gardephe cited that the evidence was “more likely than not the case that all of Valle’s Internet communications about kidnapping are fantasy role-play…” although albeit “highly disturbing.”
Since the report, the film “Thought Crimes” was inspired and Velle found himself center of attention. It’s 2015 premiere examined online privacy and what a Google search can amount to; questioning where the line should be drawn between criminal liability and online speech, no matter the disturbing content.
“When you’re behind a computer screen late at night, no one knows who you are, where you are,” Valle says in the documentary. “I became part of this cyber-community, where people are exploring deviant thoughts and exploring their fetishes.”
Shortly after the release of the documentary, the government appealed the overturned conviction, asking for it to be reinstated. It was quashed, nonetheless, paving the way to the pertinent question of how free are we really, on the internet?
Now-exonerated Valle recently authored ‘Raw Deal’, documenting his side of the story. Although it is difficult to ignore the abuse he put into play when scouring police databases, the book takes a look at the Orwellian nature of thoughtcrime and how his private life became public, nearly costing him his life behind bars.
“How many of us have ever thought about … an action that if made a reality would constitute a crime? … What about the person who belongs to online terrorist groups but never commits a violent act? … What about authors of thrillers and mysteries who Google criminal acts to add realism to their stories?” the text reads.
Valle maintained during court appearances through to his book that his online life as “Vore” was for his own sexual gratification with no intent to hurt anyone. He concedes that his porn habits led to his bad luck and being busted by his wife; to be then publicly vilified before the world.
Whether you believe Valle to be guilty or not, most sexual fantasies aren’t pretty. He admits he still indulges in cannibalism and bondage fantasies, despite his 21 months in jail and public outcry, and is currently suing for the jail time he served.
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