A former New York City police officer whose bizarre online exchanges about kidnapping and eating women landed him behind bars and earned him tabloid infamy as the “cannibal cop” was sentenced to time served on Wednesday after telling a judge that the women were “never in danger.”

Gilberto Valle had faced a possible life term after his 2013 conviction for kidnapping conspiracy. But U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe threw out the jury’s guilty verdict earlier this year, clearing the way for Valle to be sentenced on a misdemeanor charge of using a restricted law enforcement database to secretly look up personal information about women he knew.

At sentencing in federal court in Manhattan, Valle apologized to the women for putting them through the ordeal of testifying at his trial. He insisted his conversations about them in fetish chat rooms never went beyond role-play fantasies.

“I just hope they know they were never in danger,” Valle said. “I would never do the things I talked about on the Internet — never.”

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