Thought Crimes: The Case of the Cannibal Cop is a 2015 HBO documentary by Erin Lee Carr.
0 out of 10 stars. HBO documentaries are hit or miss. This one’s definitely a miss. Erin Lee Carr made this into a slapstick, tabloid farce rather than an honest look at a criminal that should be behind bars.
In 2012, New York City cop Gilberto Valle was 28 years old and using his access to the police database to stalk potential victims of his dark fetishes which included kidnapping, torturing, dismembering, cooking, and eating a beautiful young woman. At the time, he’d been stalking four women: Kimberly Sauer, Andria Noble, Alisa Friscia, and Maureen Hartigan. He was also engaging with other men online about the possibility of torturing, dismembering, killing, and cooking his wife.
The filmmaker, Carr, assembled a modge-podge group of self-proclaimed experts on fetishes who either wrote a free self-published book or own a website but have no expert experience or degrees. She clearly wanted to skew this in Gilberto’s favor. Look at the title “Thought Crimes”. This is not actually about thought crimes at all. It’s about conspiracy to kidnap and illegal use of a police database. Thought crimes don’t involve real people, real places, real documents, real planning, etc. Once they involve real people and real crimes, they’re no longer thought.
So let’s start where the documentary starts, with Gilberto’s conviction. He was arrested and charged with two crimes: Conspiracy to kidnap and illegal use of a police database. He was found guilty of both and sentenced to life in prison. If you read his correspondence in this case, you’d agree. It’s pretty graphic, escalates to planning a kidnapping, and then he scopes out the woman’s workplace and immediately sends this information to his co-conspirator, a guy going by “Moody Blues” living in Britain (outside U.S. jurisdiction).
Valle was a married man with a wife and infant. He’d been married for three years to Kathleen Mangan-Valle. Their marriage had disintegrated to the point where Kathleen was afraid of Gilberto, so she installed spyware (keystroke logger for mac) on Gilberto’s computer. And suddenly she found these terrifying messages wherein he talked in graphic detail about gang raping, torturing, maiming, dismembering, killing, cooking, and eating not only her but several of her friends. He’d opened a private email account MHAL52@YAHOO.COM and was sending photographs of their female friends to his co-conspirators. And he’d looked up other personal information about these women on the police database. :0
Valle had gone online, learned how to make chloroform to disable his victim, and had gone to her workplace to look for entrances, exits, etc. in preparation for kidnapping her. The moment he got home, he went online and shared this information with his conspirators including MIchael Van Hise, Moodly Blues (the British guy), and Ali Khan in Pakistan. He talked in great detail about taking this woman to his family cabin, hanging her by her feet, torturing and raping her, followed by slow roasting her while she was still alive. He had plans on how to prepare the spit he was going to roast her on (like a pig roast), how to dismember her, carve her (including which pieces would make great bacon), etc.
After 21 months in jail, Valle’s attorney petitioned the judge for a Judgment of Acquittal which was granted. The judge claimed these were his thoughts, not actions, ignoring that he’d actually stalked four women, staked out their workplaces, and sent their personal photos and personal information to killers on DarkFetishNet and other dark web sites. New York City prosecutors appealed the judge’s acquittal and he will be retried. But the jurors already found him guilty. He should be in prison.
What I found particularly compelling were the statements from the jurors regarding Kimberly Sauer. It was clear to them that he was planning on kidnapping her, raping her, torturing her, maiming her, dismembering her, cooking her, and eating her. He’d talked about it for over a year with four possible victims (five including his wife) and had selected Kimberly, an old college friend. He’d made a list of things he needed and things he needed to do and he’d scoped out her schedule, her workplace, when and where would be the best way to kidnap her. This is what juries are for–peers judging you after looking at ALL the evidence. They found him guilty. Enough said.
As for the poor film making, why did Erin Carr never ask Gilberto Valle any questions like: Why did you look these women up in the police database? Why did you follow them? Why did you share their pictures with other dark net killers? Because you can’t claim their intentions.
Valle’s self-righteous indignation throughout the documentary is sickening and reminds me of Woody Allen’s outrage and numerous public press conferences after he was taken to court for raping his 7 year old daughter Dylan Farrow for more than a year. He called his daughter and ex-wife Mia Farrow disgusting names, accused them of terrible things, and never once said he was sorry for destroying Dylan’s childhood and life. In Farrow v Allen, there’s a podcast in which a famous duo of psychologists talk about how guilty pedophiles always have the self-righteous indignation when in reality innocent men always worry about the victims and feel sad. Not these two perverts.
0 out of 10 stars. This is NOT about thought crimes. These were actions by a New York City cop who used his access to a police database to plan the kidnapping, torture, rape, dismemberment, cooking, killing, and eating of four women (five if you include his wife). He conspired with three other men at the very least. And he was found guilty by a jury of his peers. He should be in prison.
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