Mr. Valle, a baby-faced tabloid sensation known as the “Cannibal Cop,” is expected to take the stand to make the case that it was all role-playing fantasy played out on Internet sites such as darkfetishnet.com.
The defense also is planning to show jurors the videotaped testimony of darkfetishnet.com co-founder Sergey Merenkov in which he describes the site as a “social media network.”
Merenkov called the site “a clone of Facebook, but it is oriented to people with fetishes that are not considered standard.”
Asked the most popular fetishes, Mr. Merenkov responds, “All sorts of asphxiation” and “peril cannibalism.”
Tiger Howard Devore, a psychologist and certified sex therapist who specializes in dealing with sexual dysfunction and fetishes, said the cannibalism fetish known as voreaphilia isn’t common.
“For most laymen, they’re going to think about it as cannibalism,” Mr. Devore told The Associated Press on Monday. “But what it really is, is an obsession about consuming the flesh of the other, and this can have a whole range of expressions. … It is mostly played out in fantasy, mostly played out in role-playing.”
There are well-known criminal extremes such as Jeffrey Dahmer, who saved pieces of his victims’ body parts and ate the flesh, Mr. Devore said, though “the instances of this kind of violence are extremely rare.”
• Associated Press writer Eileen AJ Connelly contributed to this article.
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