The story of Gil Valle, also known as the “Cannibal Cop,” was one of the most entertaining news stories of the past decade, and perhaps of any decade really. Valle, a New York City Police officer, became known as the “Cannibal Cop” when he was arrested for planning to kidnap, cook, and eat a bunch of women, including his wife at the time.
So obviously, this is kind of messed up, right? Well yeah, it totally was, but the thing was, none of it was real. Valle made all of these so called plans on a fetish site, called the Dark Fetish Network. Sometimes he made these “plans” to kidnap three different women in three different continents. He said he was going to bring them to a mountain house that did not exist, while driving a white van, that he did not own. He ended up being convicted on conspiracy to kidnap, after one of the biggest media circuses at his trial that New York has ever seen. And of course, that would have been the end of it, if it was not for the fact that he didn’t do anything, and none of his plans were real. His defense team appealed and he was released while a judge went over the case. Eventually he was fully exonerated.
Now he has written a book called “Raw Deal: The Untold Story of NYPD’s Cannibal Cop” (with a Ghostwriter, of course- he was a cop, not a writer!). Looks like we are going to find out way more about this totally bizarre case. But until then here are 15 mouthwatering things you need to know about the Cannibal Cop.
15. He Has A Book Coming
Valle’s book, Raw Deal: The Untold Story of NYPD’s Cannibal Cop, is out next month. The New York Post recently posted some excerpts which read in part: “Try and imagine that your sex drive is focused on tying women up, seeing them helpless, having them naked on a platter before you. It would be the kind of thing you kept to yourself.” One can already see this book is going to be a wild ride, and one that is going to pull no punches. It also promises to pull no punches when it comes to the FBI’s botched investigation, and what Valle claims was misconduct by the prosecutors. Looks like a good read, if you have the stomach for that kind of thing. See what I did there? I said stomach and he is into cannibal stuff. Oh, forget it, you’re helpless.
14. He Was A Normal Kid
Most people think there has to be something really wrong with someone that has weird fantasies; that something bad must have happened to them as a kid to make them turn out that way. While sometimes things like that might be true, other times someone is just the way they are with no real explanation. Valle claims that there is no real reason he was the way that he was, that he was just always like that. Sometimes people are into things sexually that the rest of us find really nasty, but they seem totally normal in every other way. Valle was no exception to this. He grew up in Queens, played a lot of baseball, and by all accounts was a nice normal guy, albeit one that was into some really freaky stuff when he was fantasizing.
13. He Was An NYPD Cop
This basically was the entire reason that the case blew up the way it did. If he was a plumber it is really doubtful that the whole “Cannibal Plumber” thing would have taken off the way that Cannibal Cop did. The thought of a guy walking around New York City with a gun and handcuffs and access to the police database made the whole thing much more interesting to the press, and also way scarier to the public at large. No one would have cared if he was just some random dude messing around on fetish sites, but a cop who was not only messing around on fetish sites, but also was writing about how he wanted to kidnap and murder all sorts of random women? That tends to get the attention of the media rather quickly.
12. He Had Some Weird Fetishes
Now, there are all sorts of odd fetishes out there. Some of them are pretty well known, such as things that are related to bondage and so on, others are a little less well known, such as somnophilia, which is being attracted to sleeping women. This one is a little better known since Bill Cosby of course, and then there’s macrophilia, which is being attracted to women who are giants… While Valle’s fetishes were pretty rare, they are not unheard of. He has said in interviews that he was not actually into the whole “killing and eating” aspect of the whole thing, but more of the fact that the women were helpless and tied up. This is another offshoot of the whole bondage thing that many people are now comfortable with because of 50 Shades of Grey, just not something that is popular with the masses, to say the least.
11. He Used The Dark Fetish Network
Valle met the people he was messing around with on something called The Dark Fetish Network, where people would go to engage in their fantasies online with other users. He would do role plays with other people around the site about what they wanted to do to people. But the thing is, the website said that it was all fantasy numerous times, as did Valle in his chats. It was pretty odd that FBI agents would use chats from a site where people were talking about fantasies to try and prove that he meant to do something for real. There was nothing that Valle said in any way that ever used any real details about real people, but still law enforcement thought he was serious, and so did 12 jurors when it was brought to trial.
10. He Used Photos Of People He Knew
This was probably the biggest issue with the whole thing. Valle was posting Facebook photos of women that he knew in real life on The Dark Fetish Network. Even though he was not using their real names, the fact that he was using photos of people that he knew for real had the FBI thinking that he really meant to do the things that he talked about online. Valle even used photos of his wife. This is obviously not very good form. I mean, come on man! It is one thing that you are going on on fetish sites about how you want to kidnap women and cook them and eat them, but for the love of all that is holy, don’t use photos of your wife and other women that you know. That is never good form for a wife to see such things.
9. His Wife Thought He Was Going To Kill Her
Valle was married to Kathleen Mangan. I probably do not need to tell you that they are not married anymore. She initially found out about what Valle was up to when she installed spyware on his computer because she thought that he was having an affair. Boy was she in for a shock. Instead of seeing a bunch of flirty emails to some random chick, she came across photos of herself on the Dark Fetish Network as well as all sorts of comments from her husband and other people about how they wanted to kidnap her and cook her. As you might imagine this put a bit of a damper on their marriage. After confronting Valle about what she found, she took off and ended up going to the FBI, which is where things really get interesting.
8. He Was Arrested
One day, Valle was sitting at home on his couch when there was a knock on his door. When he went to answer the door there were six FBI agents with guns pointed at his chest. This seems a bit extreme, but hey, what do I know, I am not in the FBI- as far as you know anyway… He was brought in for questioning, and then was charged with conspiracy to kidnap. He was immediately brought to a bail hearing, and his bail was denied. This was the beginning of a long period of incarceration for Valle; he was in prison for 21 months before he would see the light of day again. The only thing that was beneficial to Valle about this whole situation was that, because he was in prison he didn’t have to see all the horrible press coverage that he received.
7. The Press Had A Field Day
The story blew up and was all over the press. Some of the headlines were things like “‘Cannibal Cop’ dishes on how his twisted ‘role plays’ came to a boil,” “Judges Let Ex-Cop With Cannibalism Fetish Stay Free Range” and “Cannibal Cop says he’s a hot dish on the dating scene.” The story played out in news media all over the world, not just in press, but on TV as well. Interestingly enough, because of his new book, this kind of thing may start happening all over again, as he is to be on Inside Edition over the next month, promoting his new book. This kind of thing tends to draw in the press, as it is just twisted enough to get your attention, but not so twisted that you can’t deal with it. You know, because he did not actually do anything.
6. He Was Convicted
Despite there not being much of any evidence, and by that I mean there was not any at all, he was convicted by a jury of conspiracy to kidnap. The trial was a total circus, with tons of media attending- his wife, and numerous other women testified. Valle’s legal team described all of it as being a bit like Dungeons and Dragons, in that it was all fantasy and role playing, but the jury did not buy it and Valle was sent off to prison. His legal team did not give up though, and appeals were filed. It would not be long before he would be back out on the street, but he certainly didn’t know that at the time. He had said in interviews at the time that he looked forward to the trial, because he was so sure that he would be let out.
5. He Was Let Out On appeal
Of course, it kind of had to happen. The judge ended up overturning his conviction on appeal. At one point during all of the so-called real fantasies, Valle had made plans to kidnap and cook three different women in three different time zones all on the same day! It almost boggles the mind that someone could have thought that he seriously meant to do any of the things that he talked about, and the judge came to the same conclusion. Just because someone talks about doing crazy things on the Internet does not mean they are actually serious. Lots of people say they are going to do crazy (and illegal) things all the time. But unless they actually make any real plans, then it is just talk. Valle never made real plans.
4. He Went On Match.com After His Release
You know you really cannot make some of this stuff up, you really just can’t. When Valle was out on appeal he put up a profile on Match.com on which he said: “he is seeking a “non-judgmental” woman who’s “a little kinky ;).” he’s a big foodie looking for a woman age 24 to 32 who likes cooking, dining out and wine tasting.”
Of his ideal date, he writes: “You appreciate the simple things and can make the best out of a situation that is less than ideal.” When the New York Post found out, they blew it up big time, and Match.com ended up taking down his profile. I mean, seriously? Of course, he has every right to do what he wants to do and go out with who he wants, but going on Match.com saying that he is a big “foodie?” Dude.
3. HBO Did A Documentary
While he was out on appeal he participated in a documentary that was broadcast on HBO called Thought Crimes directed by Erin Carr. The movie did not take a really strong position one way or the other, which did not make Valle very happy as he thought the movie was going to be made to prove his innocence. In fact on in its promo material, it says: “Carr was there for his release and subsequent house arrest to examine a life arrested. But the question remains: given the chance, would he, could he, have done it?” Well, gee I don’t know, I mean since he never actually did anything, I would probably say no, he would not have, but hey, that would not sell a lot of movies that way I imagine.
2. He Was Exonerated
Valle was eventually completely exonerated by a federal appeals court who said it would be wrong “to give the government the power to punish us for our thoughts and not our actions.” A majority of a divided three-judge panel wrote that “fantasizing about committing a crime, even a crime of violence against a real person whom you know, is not a crime.” So to boil it down, they basically said that if you think, or if you fantasize about committing a crime against someone that you know, it is not against the law unless you take some real-world steps. Valle never did and the judge saw that. What he did do, was talk a lot of smack on the Internet, and that is not now or ever will be illegal.
1. Thoughts, No Matter How Creepy, Are Not A Crime
Sometimes people think things that are ugly. Sometimes they are so ugly that we don’t even want to think about how ugly they are, and in fact sometimes the things that people think are so bad that we want to punish them for it. We can’t though, because if one person’s thoughts are not safe, then none of us are safe. The Cannibal Cop case became so well known not just because of the lurid nature of the whole thing, but it also was well known because it truly tested whether or not we live in a free country. So hey, if you are thinking about cooking and eating someone on your block, go ahead, knock yourself out, as long as you do not actually take any real steps to do it, then you should be more than fine. Just don’t go on Match.com and talk about it.