Judge sparks outcry after calling rapist who preyed on girl an 'extraordinarily good man'

Francesca Gillett
Rapist Keith Robert Vallejo was called a 'good man' by the judge: AP

A judge in the US has sparked outrage after calling a convicted rapist an “extraordinarily good man” who did something wrong.

The judge made the remarks while sentencing former Mormon bishop Keith Robert Vallejo, who had been found guilty of 10 counts of forcible sexual abuse and one count of rape.

Judge Thomas Low said: “The court has no doubt that Mr Vallejo is an extraordinarily good man but great men sometimes do bad things”.

Vallejo was ordered to serve life in prison by the Utah-based Judge Low, who appeared to get emotional as he delivered the sentence.

The former church bishop preyed on a teenage girls and another woman who was 19, the court heard.

Keith Vallejo leaves the courtroom, in Provo, Utah. (AP)

One of the sexual predator’s victims said on Friday she was shocked by the judge’s comments and said he appeared to care more for her attacker than for her.

"He only cared about the person he was convicting, and I think that is really kind of despicable," said the 23-year-old.

The victim plans to file a complaint against the judge in a bid to get him sacked.

Criticism began to mount against Judge Low when he decided to let Vallejo out of custody following the guilty verdict from the jury.

Ryan McBride, the prosecutor on the case, said Low's comments were inappropriate and said it may have come in response to more than 50 character references about Vallejo, who denied the charges.

"I don't think it's wrong to acknowledge the good things that someone has done in their lives," the prosecutor said. "But I think whenever you do that in a case like this, you've also got to say, `But it doesn't excuse what you've done.'”

Low declined comment through a court spokesman.

Additional reporting by Associated Press.