Provo, Utah - Fourth District Court Judge Thomas Low shocked everybody when he praised Keith Vallejo, who was convicted of raping a 17-year-old girl and repeatedly sexually assaulting a 19-year-old relative.
One victim was sexually assaulted by Vallejo while attending Brigham Young University in 2013. Julia Kirby, who was 19 at the time, stayed at Keith Vallejo's house. Vallejo is Kirby's brother in law. While Kirby was staying there, Vallejo sexually assaulted her multiple times.
Another unidentified female also testified that Vallejo sexually assaulted her while she stayed with him while she was 17-years-old.
Keith Vallejo was a bishop with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the time. When the church found out about the allegations, he was relieved of his bishop duties and an attorney for the LDS church reported the incidents to police.
A jury convicted Keith Vallejo of 10 counts of second-degree felony forcible sexual abuse and one count of object rape. After he was convicted, Judge Low allowed him to go free while awaiting his sentencing, rather than wait in jail.
After allowing Vallejo his freedom, Judge Low later decided that maybe he shouldn't let a child rapist run free, and Vallejo was taken into custody March 30th.
Over 50 letters of support for Vallejo were sent in, talking about what a good man Vallejo was and all of the good things that he has done. Vallejo's brother spoke, comparing him to Jesus Christ. All of the support for the child rapist appeared to move Judge Low.
During the sentencing Judge Thomas Low appeared to become emotional and had to take pauses to compose himself, apparently upset at having to sentence Vallejo. "The court had no doubt that Mr. Vallejo is an extraordinarily good man," Judge Low said. "But great men, sometimes do bad things."
Judge Low sentenced Vallejo to 1-to-15 years in prison for the forcible sexual abuse and 5 years to life term for the object rape. The judge ordered that his sentences would be carried out concurrently.
Concurrent sentences mean that convicts can carry out their sentences at the same time, rather than back to back. It's a way for judges to give freebies to criminals for committing multiple crimes or committing them repeatedly. Vallejo will only have to serve whatever sentence is longest, effectively giving him a free pass on the other sexual assaults.
Julia Kirby, who was present at the sentencing, was understandably upset. She told KUTV, "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."
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