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‘Cannibal Cop’ Gets TV Time on HBO
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Gilberto Valle

Summary: A documentary on thought crimes will examine the former New York City cop, dubbed Cannibal Cop, and the personal use of online chats for twisted fantasy against intent.


Who remembers the case of former New York City police officer Gilberto Valle III? Valle was convicted nearly three years ago of conspiracy to kidnap after his wife discovered his chat room discussions and plans to abduct, torture, rape, and cannibalize women, including herself. While Valle never acted on what he calls just fantasies, the case opened up the legal issue of what determines criminal intent.

‘Cannibal Cop’ Wants to Attend Law School

Valle’s conspiracy conviction was overturned last June by Judge Paul G. Gardephe of the Federal District Court for the evidence not supporting intent. The lesser conviction of accessing the federal National Crime Information Center database without authorization with a maximum of five years in prison remained. Prosecutors have appealed.

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Now HBO is set to air a documentary about the ex-cop, “Thought Crimes: The Case of the Cannibal Cop.” The show will revisit the bizarre case and whether thinking vile thoughts is just fantasy or a sign of intent. The case has opened up discussions in a variety of places, including Fordham Law School with professor James A. Cohen. He points out that the separation between allowing freedom of thought and preventing crime is delicate, “How are you going to feel if you let him off and he goes out and eats somebody?”

Many have sought to relate this case of freedom of thought to other circumstances, such as terrorism or child pornography. Thought crimes will be something difficult for future generations to tackle as fantasy and virtual reality online continues to become more popular.




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