Protesters gather, hundreds file complaints after Provo judge praises convicted rapist
On Monday, people gathered with signs to protest Fourth District Court Judge Thomas Low outside the courthouse in Provo.
“It's never OK to call a pedophile a great man, especially in front of their victims,” said Madison Lundwall, a protester outside the courthouse.
Watch the video below to find out how the victim in the case responded to the judge's comments.
“Not only does it minimize what they've been through ... but anyone that takes advantage of someone sexually is not a great person. That's never OK,” Lundwall said on Monday.
A representative for the Utah Judicial Oversight Commission says the number of complaints about Judge Low's sentencing has nearly tripled since Friday. So far the commission has received 120 emails, phone calls and Facebook messages condemning what Judge Low said.
Fourth District Court Judge Thomas Low praised a man who was convicted of molesting two female relatives who they stayed at his house three years ago.
"The court had no doubt that Mr. Vallejo is an extraordinarily good man," Low said just moments before sentencing Keith Vallejo to prison for sexually abusing the two females. "But great men, sometimes do bad things," Low continued.
During the sentencing, Low appeared to be emotional as he read the sentence while at least one of the victims, Julia Kirby, sat in the court room.
"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," she told 2News by phone on Friday.
Turner Bitton, with The Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said when a person in a position like Low's praises the predator, he essentially blames the victim.
"At the end of the day, we're still going to tell you that your perpetrator was a good person, they made mistake and somehow it was still your responsibility," Bitton said in an earlier interview.
Vallejo, who maintained his innocence throughout the trial, was convicted in February of one first-degree felony of object rape and 10 second-degree felonies of forcible sexual abuse.
For the object rape conviction, Vallejo was given a sentence of five-years-to-life. He was also given concurrent one-to-15 year sentences for all 10 forcible sexual abuse convictions.