The Latest: Victim shocked by Utah judge remark in rape case

AP News
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Posted: Apr 14, 2017 11:32 PM

PROVO, Utah (AP) — The Latest on a Utah judge who called a convicted rapist an "extraordinary, good man" while sentencing him (all times local):

7:35 p.m.

A woman says she is shocked by a Utah judge's comments in which he called a man convicted of sexually assaulting her a "good man" during his sentencing hearing.

Julia Kirby said Friday that Judge Thomas Low appeared to care more about the person he was convicting than he did about the victims. She plans to file an official complaint against him in the hopes of getting him removed as a judge.

"The court has no doubt that Mr. Vallejo is an extraordinarily good man," Low said during the sentencing. "But great men sometimes do bad things."

A jury found Vallejo guilty of 10 counts of forcible sexual abuse and one count of object rape.

Kirby said she was 19 when Keith Vallejo groped her multiple times.

She has given The Associated Press permission to publish her name to show the judge that she will not let him get away with his comments.

The incidents happened in Provo, a heavily Mormon area of Utah that is home to Brigham Young University.

3:10 p.m.

A Utah judicial oversight commission representative says the organization has received dozens of complaints about a Utah judge after he called a convicted rapist a "good man" during his sentencing hearing.

Jennifer Yim said Friday that she has received about 40 emails, six voicemails and Facebook messages about Judge Thomas Low. They started coming in late March when Low came under scrutiny for letting Keith Robert Vallejo out of custody after a jury found him guilty of 10 counts of forcible sexual abuse and one count of object rape.

Yim says most of the complaints, though, have come since Low's comments at Vallejo's sentencing hearing Wednesday.

"The court has no doubt that Mr. Vallejo is an extraordinarily good man," Low said. "But great men sometimes do bad things."

One victim says she was shocked by the judge's sympathy, saying it felt like he cared more about Vallejo than the victims.

Ryan McBride, the prosecutor on the case, said Friday that Low's comment was inappropriate but that it may have come in response to more than 50 character letters sent in about Vallejo. Most of them detailed the good things he has done.

The incidents happened in Provo, a heavily Mormon area of Utah that is home to Brigham Young University.

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10:15 am

A Utah judge sentencing a former Mormon bishop said the convicted rapist was an "extraordinarily good man" who did something wrong.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/2peFjoA) that Judge Thomas Low appeared to become emotional on Wednesday when he sentenced Keith Robert Vallejo to up to life in prison for 10 counts of forcible sexual abuse and one count of object rape.

One victim says she was shocked by the judge's sympathy, saying it felt like he cared more about Vallejo than the victims.

The judge had previously allowed Vallejo to remain out of jail after a jury convicted him, but reversed his decision amid criticism.

The incidents happened in Provo, a heavily Mormon area of Utah that is home to Brigham Young University.