January 29, 2018 / 7:45 PM / 19 days ago

Ex-NY high school librarian gets 15 years in kidnap-murder plot

(Story contains sexual subject matter in 7th paragraph)

By Brendan Pierson

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former New York City high school librarian was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Monday after he was found guilty of conspiring to kidnap, rape and murder women with people he met on internet message boards.

Christopher Asch, 65, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe in Manhattan, who said there was “overwhelming evidence that Mr. Asch constitutes a danger to the community.”

Asch’s lawyer was not immediately available for comment.

Asch, who worked at Manhattan’s elite Stuyvesant High School, was arrested in 2013 as a result of a federal investigation of former police officer Gilberto Valle, dubbed the “cannibal cop” by New York media.

Valle was convicted of conspiring to kidnap and torture women in 2013, but Gardephe subsequently overturned the conviction, finding that Valle did not intend to follow through with fantasies he described online.

Michael Van Hise, a mechanic from New Jersey, was convicted alongside Asch but has not been sentenced. Another man, Richard Meltz, pleaded guilty to related charges.

All four men were registered users of DarkFetishNet, an online forum where tens of thousands of individuals share their musings about bizarre sexual fantasies, including necrophilia, according to court filings.

Asch, who has been in custody since his arrest, purchased a collection of tools that he intended to use to kidnap and torture women, including a stun gun and leg spreaders, prosecutors said in court papers.

Asch was caught after plotting with an undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation agent to kidnap a woman, who was also an undercover FBI agent.

Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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