DES MOINES, Iowa -- A small group of friends and family gathered at Gray’s Lake on Saturday in support of Kasey Hilpipre and her daughter. It looked like a regular cookout--hotdogs on the grill, cookies, and chips--but for those who attended, it was much more.
Kasey Hilpipre's former father-in-law, Dean Hilpipre, admitted in court to molesting his granddaughter for years. Hilpipre served no prison time after making a plea deal earlier in the year.
Kasey Hilpipre hopes their rally becomes the start of something much larger: a statewide push for stricter punishments for child molesters.
“We would love for it to be bigger, we would love for it to be an annual thing for everybody, not just in support of my child, but in support of everyone's child, and not just children in general, just everyone who's ever been abused,” said Hilpipre.
The family says the plea deal is unacceptable. Hilpipre’s mother, Deborah Yanna, says it's now her life's mission to make change.
“My granddaughter, I look at that little girl every day, I see the pain and the hurt in her. I've made her a promise that I will not stop fighting for her, for justice for her and so many others like her. Harsher punishment, no plea deals,” said Yanna.
Yanna says she wants to send a message to lawmakers, prosecutors, and judges that victims deserve more than a plea deal.
“These molesters are let loose with a plea deal and they're walking around in their communities, and yet the victim is continuing to suffer. Where's their justice?” she said.
Hilpipre has filed a lawsuit against her former father-in-law to compensate for her daughter's suffering.