Ex-cop acquitted on cannibalism plot gets supervised release
(Reuters) - Four months after a judge overturned his conviction for plotting to kidnap and cannibalize women, a former New York City policeman walked out of a federal courthouse on Wednesday on one-year supervised release for a conviction on a lesser charge.
Judge Paul Gardephe overturned Gilberto Valle's conspiracy conviction in July, agreeing that Valle had only been fantasizing about kidnapping and cooking women to indulge a sexual fetish. He ruled the fantasy was protected by the U.S. Constitution.
But Gardephe let stand Valle's conviction for improperly accessing a police database, and for that sentenced him to 12 months in prison, which Gardephe said had already been served during the 20 months Valle spent in jail until July.
Prosecutors said Valle, 30, had used the database while he was still a police officer to look up the details of the women he fantasized about.
With his parents and a younger brother in the public gallery, Valle apologized in Manhattan's Federal District Court to the women who were the subjects of his violent fantasies, calling them "friends" and his actions "stupid."
"I just hope they know they were never endangered," he said, adding that he had been an "embarrassment" to his family, friends and the Police Department.
He told the court he now plans to go to law school and hopes to become a criminal defense attorney.
After the sentencing, Valle, dressed in a gray suit and checkered tie, talked about the infamy the case had earned him.
"My legacy is not going to be the guy who is the 'cannibal cop,'" he said, referring to the nickname he was given by the city's tabloids. "I have the women on my mind. I'm troubled by the attention they got because of my actions."
During the one-year supervised release, Valle is banned from visiting Dark Fetish Network and other fetish websites where he had discussed his fantasies, which included killing his wife, from whom he is now estranged.
The judge also banned Valle for a year from having contact with the women who were the subjects of his fantasies.
Prosecutors have said they would appeal Gardephe's ruling on the conspiracy charge but they have not yet done so.
"If they appeal, this is their fantasy because there was no crime," Valle's mother, Elizabeth Valle, said outside the courtroom.
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