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Female classmates say they felt safe with accused 'Cannibal Cop'

February 26, 2013|By Michael Muskal

Former female classmates of the man accused of wanting to kidnap and then eat women testified on Tuesday that they never felt threatened by the one-time New York City police officer.

The trial of Gilberto Valle, 28, dubbed by the New York media as the "Cannibal Cop," moved into its second day, with prosecutors seeking to put human faces on potential victims. But some of the women who took the stand minimized the threat.

Valle is accused of conspiring to kidnap women and of using information from a law enforcement database to build a list of 100 women who the prosecution says were potential targets. He faces life in prison if convicted on the top charge.

Elizabeth Sauer, 29, of Germantown, Md., was called as a government witness Tuesday. Sauer, a former college classmate of Valle, described how she had received a warning from Valle’s estranged wife about his plan to kidnap and eat women. Sauer said she thought the message was “crazy,” according to the Associated Press.

During cross-examination by defense attorney Julia Gatto, Sauer said she never felt threatened by Valle. Sauer reinforced testimony by another former classmate, Andria Noble, a 27-year-old state prosecutor in Columbus, Ohio, who testified late Monday that she never saw Valle get violent when she knew him at the University of Maryland.

Maureen Hartingan, who went to high school with Valle, also testified Tuesday.

The prosecution maintains that Valle represented a real danger to the women while the defense insists that Valle was just engaging in an online fetish and that he had no intention of converting from the virtual to the physical realm.

Testimony from fellow fetishists -- known as vores, short for carnivore -- is expected during the trial, which could last two weeks.

Valle's wife, Kathleen Mangan-Valle, 27, testified on Monday how she fled their Queens home with their baby daughter after learning about her husband's role-playing on the Internet. She testified that she used a program to trace Valle's keystrokes.

That was how she said she learned that Valle had left an electronic trail -- including hundreds of emails -- that showed how Valle and his fellow fetishists would discuss plans to kidnap, kill, cook and eat women.

In tearful testimony, Mangan-Valle said she was on the target list as were some of her friends.

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