Utah Judge Faces Complaints; Called Rapist a ‘Good Man’

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Complaints are mounting against Utah County Judge Thomas Low, who praised a former Mormon bishop  as “extraordinary” before sending him to prison for sexually abusing two women, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. Low got emotional last week as he sentenced Keith Robert Vallejo, whom a jury convicted of 11 counts of sexual assault charges. “The court has no doubt that Mr. Vallejo is an extraordinary, good man,” Low said. “But great men sometimes do bad things.” Two women testified that Vallejo had inappropriately touched them during separate stays at his Provo home in 2013 and 2014.

Julia Kirby, who was 19 when Vallejo, her brother-in-law, abused her, said she was shocked by Low’s words to her abuser and plans to file a judicial complaint against him. Restore Our Humanity, an advocacy group for sexual assault victims, said it too will file a complaint. Director Mark Lawrence said Low’s comments showed “absolute disregard” for Kirby, who was sitting in the courtroom. Criticism of Low began in March, when he allowed Vallejo to remain free on bail pending sentencing–and return home to his wife and eight children–even after a jury convicted him. Kirby said she felt the decision indicated that Low did not believe that she and the other woman had been abused.

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