NORTHRIDGE, CA — A Utah Judge called a former Mormon Bishop an “extraordinarily good man” in court Wednesday, in front of his victims, after convicting him of sexual assault.
Julia Kirby, one of the victims, listened as Judge Low reportedly held back tears while praising the man being convicted of raping her and at least one other woman.
“That judge shouldn’t have done that,” Kirby told a KUTV reporter. “For him to say that in a court room in front the victim who was abused and raped by this man, that he is a great person, to me was unacceptable and unprofessional.”
Kristen Houser, chief public affairs officer for the National Sexual Violence Research Center, said that Judge Low’s words were, “not appropriate for somebody who’s being sentenced for sexually assaulting two girls.”
Houser also said that Judge Low’s actions could definitely “leave the wrong impact” on any rape victim.
“These are things that people consider when they’re wondering whether or not it’s worth it to report [their assault] to the police,” said Houser.
Judge Low was at the center of another controversy after the conviction in February for allowing Vallejo, 43, to return home until his sentencing.
However, Low reversed that decision on March 30th and Vallejo has been in custody ever since.
Vallejo maintained his innocence throughout the trial.
“The justice system is funny,” Vallejo said in court, according to The Salt Lake Tribune, “The whole thing is geared to bullying you into confessing. The whole thing is geared to push you into pleading.”
Vallejo was sentenced to five years to life for the rape conviction and concurrent terms of one to 15 years in prison for the second-degree felonies.
By Shelby Charlene
Photos, Chris Detrick / The Salt Lake Tribune, AP & Dominic Valente / POOL The Daily Herald