NEW YORK (AP) - It's a ghoulish tale to rival Hannibal Lecter: A police officer using a law enforcement database creates a list of scores of women he plots to abduct, kill and in ways he describes in sickening detail eat.
The federal charges against Gilberto Valle are real. But was his alleged appetite for cannibalism more than fantasy?
Federal prosecutors told a judge on Thursday that even though no one was harmed, the answer is definitely yes.
With one potential victim, Valle "took active and affirmative steps" that brought him to the brink of "kidnapping a woman, cooking her and actually eating her," Assistant U.S. Attorney Hadassa Waxman said in arguing successfully to deny the officer bail.
Valle's attorney countered that her client only indulged in deviant fantasies played out in fetish chat rooms and elsewhere on the Internet.
"Nothing has happened," said the lawyer, Julia Gatto. "We may be offended. We may be alarmed. But it's just talk, your honor."
The shocking allegations against Valle a six-year New York Police Department veteran, college graduate and father of an infant child were revealed Thursday in a criminal complaint charging him with kidnapping conspiracy and unauthorized use of the database.
Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman agreed on Thursday that Gilberto Valle should be jailed without bail on charges he called "unspeakable" and "profoundly disturbing."
Authorities say the investigation began when Valle's estranged wife tipped authorities off to his chilling online activity.
A search of Valle's computer found he had created records of at least 100 women with their names, addresses and photos, the complaint says, including two identified as Victim 1 and Victim 2.