This disturbing story turns the term "maneater" on its head in a very literal way: A NYPD cop has been charged in a plot to kidnap, cook, and eat women, Tom Hays of the Associated Press reports. Here's what you need to know.
The accused: The cop in question is 28-year-old Gilberto Valle of the 26th Precinct in Harlem and Forest Hills, Queens.
The charges: According to a press release, Valle is charged with "one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping" and "one count of intentionally and knowingly accessing a computer without authorization and exceeding his authorized access and thereby obtaining information from a department and agency of the United States"
The criminal complaint: The criminal complaint is available on Scribd, and has some pretty gruesome details. In searching a home computer the FBI found that Valle had files on at least 100 other women with photos of each. The computer also revealed that Valle had stored personal information. Ten of the women were contacted by the FBI and said they knew Valle. In a particularly disturbing turn, though isn't it all, the complaint reveals that he had online conversations with a collaborator about his specific methods of cooking, writing about how his oven "is big enough to fit one of these girls if I folded their legs." And: "I was thinking of tying her body onto some kind of apparatus...cook her over a low heat, keep her alive as long as possible." And: "She does look tasty doesn't she?"
The official statement: In the release Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: "Gilberto Valle’s alleged plans to kidnap women so that they could be raped, tortured, killed, cooked, and cannibalized shock the conscience. This case is all the more disturbing when you consider Valle’s position as a New York City Police officer and his sworn duty to serve and protect. Our investigation is ongoing." FBI Acting Assistant Director in Charge Mary E. Galligan said that the is really nothing to say aside from what's in the complaint: "They speak for themselves. It would be an understatement merely to say Valle’s own words and actions were shocking."
The coverage: Obviously, this makes for fodder for the eager New York tabloids. At both the Post and the NYDN "cannibal cop" seems to be the choice descriptor. The NYDN has a photo of Valle smiling with a woman whose face is obscured. The New York Times has a detailed report. While many news sources note that Valle targeted a girlfriend, the Times reports that he is married.
The Twitter reaction: We've got a New York Post joke from Matt Dentler: "If the NY Post wants to win the Pulitzer in headline writing, they have no choice but to go with 'Cook 'Em Dano' for the cannibal cop story." A spooky take from Sam Sifton: "Full moon coming and it's getting strange in here." An NYPD jab from Dan Amira: "Stop and frisk and eat" And a plee for civility from Anna Holmes: "Disgusted by jokes in my feed about NYPD "cannibal cop". Don't find anything about misogynist psychopaths funny."