If you’ve been following the “Cannibal Cop” trial, chances are you’ve been suffering from a massive case of psychological indigestion. When I first heard about one of the NYPD’s finest being arrested last fall for plotting to kidnap, torture, rape, cook and eat women—including his own wife—I was stunned speechless. I had never heard details more horrifying in my life, and it only got worse once the case went to trial.
Tuesday, a jury found 28-year-old Gilberto Valle guilty on all counts. He was charged with conspiracy to kidnap multiple women, as well as accessing a national crime database, which prosecutors said he was using to compile personal information about potential victims. Valle, who pleaded not guilty when the trial began back in November, is facing life in prison when he is sentenced June 19th, but his attorneys are certain to appeal his conviction, which they say was based on thoughts and not on actions he may have committed.
According to criminal defense attorney Rikki Klieman—who’s been closely following the case-- “The verdict must be a relief to many women and should be a relief to society in general. This may be one of the most disturbing fact patterns in any case that I have ever seen. However, the defense has a powerful appeal that all of his writings were merely fantasy and amounted to no real act of wrongdoing. The legal issue of ‘speech’ verses ‘action’ or ‘fantasy’ verses ‘reality’ must be addressed by a higher court.”
Whether or not you believe that Valle’s sick and sordid chat room banter was a crime, every woman should be alarmed by the dark underworld of misogyny uncovered by this case. One of the web sites Valle frequently visited is an extreme sexual fetish site that features chat room conversations about asphyxiating women, roasting them on a spit and eating them. What should scare you even more is that the site has more than 38,000 members globally.
Last week the world celebrated International Women’s Day, but it doesn’t feel like there’s much of a party going on. Did you know that one in four women report experiencing domestic violence in their lifetime. According to the National Violence Against Women Survey about 1.5 million woman are raped and or physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the U.S. The World Health Organization points out how 20% of women globally report being victims of sexual violence as children.
What’s particularly disturbing about Valle’s case is that it exposes a subculture where people derive sexual gratification through imagining unspeakable acts of violence and horror against women. I shudder to think how many undiscovered Valle’s are roaming the streets.