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Judge sentencing convicted rapist calls him 'extraordinarily good man'

Judge Thomas Low praised Keith Vallejo before sentencing, prompting complaints. (Source: KUTV) Judge Thomas Low praised Keith Vallejo before sentencing, prompting complaints. (Source: KUTV)
Keith Vallejo is a former Mormon priest who was convicted of sex crimes against two relatives. (Source: Utah County Jail/KUTV/CNN) Keith Vallejo is a former Mormon priest who was convicted of sex crimes against two relatives. (Source: Utah County Jail/KUTV/CNN)

PROVO, UT (KUTV/CNN) - A judge is under fire for praising a convicted rapist during sentencing as the victim sits in the courtroom.

"The court has no doubt that Mr. Vallejo is an extraordinarily good man," Judge Thomas Low said about the former Mormon bishop. "But great men sometimes do bad things."

His words for a convicted rapist has sparked outrage across the state.

"As I listened to Judge Low, it was offensive to the victim what he said," Prosecutor Ryan McBride said. 

McBride prosecuted Keith Vallejo for sex crimes against two relatives. He says the judge's praise for Vallejo as one of his victims sat in the courtroom is concerning.

"The victims certainly did not feel like he was being accountable when Judge Low complimented him," McBride said.

In addition to the praise, Low appears to be almost sad, pausing for nearly 30 seconds to gain his composure before finally and emotionally handing down the sentence.

"It was appalling," said Mark Lawrence of the civil rights group Restore Our Humanity.

He says his group will file a judicial complaint against Low with the state calling Low's remarks a "blatant disregard for the victim who was sitting right there in the courtroom."

McBride and Lawrence is that the judge's comments may have scared other victims of sex crimes from speaking out.

"Someone else sitting in the room who may have been sexually abused could feel like, 'Boy, if this is what it's going to be like for me, I'm not going to come forward.'"

Low has not commented publicly on his sentencing remarks.

Copyright 2017 KUTV via CNN. All rights reserved.

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