Just this week, the infamous “Cannibal Cop”, Gilberto Valle, was cleared of all charges against him. You might recall Valle’s case (there was an H.B.O. documentary, Thought Crimes: The Case Of The Cannibal Cop, done about him) where one of NYC’s finest was found to be conspiring to kidnap women with the intent to kill and eat them. Using a police data base to vet his potential victims, Valle was found guilty two years ago on a conspiracy charge. But a trial judge threw out this conviction in a final determination just this past week, ending Valle’s legal troubles.
As Circuit Judge Barrington Parker wrote about overturning the conviction: “This is a case about the line between fantasy and criminal intent. Fantasizing about committing a crime, even a crime of violence against a real person who you know, is not a crime.” Furthermore, it was found that federal law does not prohibit a person accessing a computer they normally are authorized to use, even for a nefarious purpose.
The Valle case opened up the public’s eyes even further to dark fetishes and where to find them on the net. And surely Vorarephilia isn’t the easiest fetish to facilitate, but thinking, talking and posting recipes of how to best cook human flesh is not a crime…yet. To be clear, Valle wasn’t convicted for his thoughts, or even discussing his desires with other individuals with like-minded culinary needs, nor was he convicted for harming women…which he had not. But surely his seemingly “unusual” desires amped-up public derision, earned him instant infamy and gave those who normally attack kink and fetish play a whole bunch of new ammunition
But as we see with some of the displays we show in the museum, or during any normal day where we might come across speech, action or thought, lots might repels us, shake the tree of our sensibility, but living in a free society we have to take the good with the bad (however you define those terms). And in the end you’re still allowed your fantasies and fetishes, whether you merely think them or act on them, if those you act with them with/on are consenting adults.