Gilberto Valle III
April 14, 1984
Queens, New York, U.S
|Occupation||Former NYPD officer, currently safety advisor for Fazio Construction|
|Known for||Conviction (later reversed) for conspiracy to kidnap based on online chat room activity|
(m. 2010; div. 2013)
Gilberto Valle III (born April 14, 1984) is a former officer with the New York City Police Department who was convicted of conspiracy to kidnap based on his communications in online fetish chat rooms. Valle was arrested after his wife discovered conversations with other users in which he made detailed plans to abduct, torture, rape, kill, and cannibalize real women in his life, including her. The case drew widespread attention for its unusual nature — Valle was dubbed the "Cannibal Cop" — and for adjudicating the legal issue of whether describing criminal activity constitutes criminal intent.
In March 2013, a jury convicted Valle of conspiracy to kidnap, as well as of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for exceeding his access to a police database. The kidnapping conviction was reversed 16 months later by Judge Paul Gardephe of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, who found that Valle's conduct constituted only "fantasy role-play." In December 2015, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the reversal of Valle's kidnapping conviction.
Valle joined the New York City Police Department in 2006, and was assigned to the 26th Precinct in Morningside Heights, Manhattan. He married Kathleen Cooke Mangan, whom he had met on the dating website OKCupid, in 2010 in Spokane, Washington. They had a daughter in early 2012.
He was fired from the NYPD following his arrest.
Chats and arrest
On October 25, 2012, Valle was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping. The arrest occurred after his wife reported to police that she had found in his Internet search engine history a series of chat room communications on Dark Fetish Net, a forum dedicated to sexual fetishes and fantasies involving torture, rape, murder and cannibalism. Valle had been chatting with another user about torturing and murdering his wife, as well as murdering and cannibalizing more than 100 other women.
Valle faced a maximum of life in prison for the conspiracy charge, and a maximum of five years for accessing the federal National Crime Information Center database without authorization. Valle's wife testified against him during the trial. Throughout the trial, Valle claimed that the chat room communications were mere fantasy, and that he had no intention of acting on them. He was found guilty of all charges in March 2013.
Judge Paul G. Gardephe of Federal District Court overturned Valle's conviction on the conspiracy charge in June 2014, saying the evidence supported his contention that he was engaged in only "fantasy role-play." Valle had at this point served 21 months in prison. The lesser conviction regarding the database remained standing, but Valle was sentenced to time served and released. The government appealed the dismissal of the conspiracy charge to the Second Circuit.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled on December 3, 2015, regarding the two questions on appeal:
The Government appeals from the district court's judgment of acquittal on the conspiracy count, and Valle separately appeals from the judgment of conviction on the CFAA count. Because we agree that there was insufficient evidence as to the existence of a genuine agreement to kidnap and of Valle's specific intent to commit a kidnapping, we affirm the district court's judgment of acquittal on the conspiracy count. Because we find that the district court's construction of the CFAA violates the rule of lenity, we reverse the judgment of conviction on the CFAA count.
- A memoir, Raw Deal: The Untold Story of the NYPD's "Cannibal Cop", where the author raises the question of when a thought becomes a crime. Co-written with Brian Whitney and published by WildBlue Press.
- A documentary film, Thought Crimes: The Case of the Cannibal Cop, chronicled Valle's arrest, trial, imprisonment, and release. Directed by Erin Lee Carr, the film debuted on HBO on May 11, 2015.
- An episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit titled "Thought Criminal" was inspired by Valle's case.
- An episode in 2018 of the Adult Swim show Soft Focus with Jena Friedman featured an interview with Valle and his participation in a The Dating Game-style contest.
- Findlaw https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-2nd-circuit/1719750.html. Retrieved March 23, 2021. Missing or empty
- Weiser, Benjamin (July 1, 2014). "Officer's Conviction in Cannibalism Case Overturned". The New York Times. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
- Vaughn, Bernard (July 1, 2014). "Judge overturns conviction, frees New York's 'cannibal cop'". Reuters.<nowiki>
- Electronic Frontier Foundation https://www.eff.org/document/us-v-valle-2nd-circuit-opinion. Retrieved March 23, 2021. Cite has empty unknown parameter:
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- Weiser, Benjamin (February 26, 2013). "At Trial, Officer's Friend Recalls Abduction Threat". The New York Times. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
- Rosenwald, Michael S. (October 26, 2012). "Alleged cannibal cop is UMd grad". Washington Post. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
- Gearty, Robert; Gregorian, Dareh (February 25, 2013). "'Cannibal Cop's' wife takes the stand as horrific details of former NYPD officer's twisted bondage fetish emerge in first day of trial". New York Daily News. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
- "NY policeman Gilberto Valle acquitted in cannibal plot" bbc.com. 1 July 2014.
- Goldstein, Joseph (October 26, 2014). "Officer Plotted to Abduct, Cook and Eat Women, Authorities Say". The New York Times. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
- ""NYC 'cannibal cop' case man Gilberto Valle sentenced on lesser charge". bbc.com. 13 November 2014.
- Weiser, Benjamin (April 16, 2015). "Gilberto Valle, Ex-New York Police Officer Talks About His Cannibalism Fantasies in Film". The New York Times.
- "United States v. Gilberto Valle". Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
- "United States v. Gilberto Valle, No. 14‐2710‐cr and No. 14‐4396‐cr, (2015)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-05.
- Gilberto, Valle (2016). Raw Deal: The Untold Story Of NYPD's "Cannibal Cop". WildBlue Press.
- Newman, Jason (May 5, 2015). "'Cannibal Cop' Doc Questions Line Between Fantasy and Murder". Rolling Stone.
- Leotta, Allison (May 15, 2014). "SVU's 'Thought Criminal'". Huffington Post.
- Britton, David (February 18, 2018). "Jena Friedman pulls no punches on 'Soft Focus'". The Daily Dot. Retrieved February 28, 2018.