An elderly man in Iowa may be facing a mild sentence for molesting his granddaughter, thanks to a plea deal he agreed to. Dean Hilpipre of Alden admitted to abusing the girl when she was as young as 6 years old, but could walk away with probation and zero time in prison.

Des Moines Register reported that in 2016, the girl told her elder sister about Hilpipre's actions. In a supervised interview with the police she recalled her paternal grandfather making her engage in oral sex and forced touching. These incidents would take place "over and over", in a bedroom or bathroom and sometimes in the woods near her home.

The 61-year-old was originally charged with two counts of Class B second-degree sexual abuse, a felony that carried a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.

However, in December 2017, Hilpipre agreed to plead guilty in court if the charges were reduced to one count of Class C felony of lascivious acts with a child, which carries a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment. Additionally, prosecutors will also recommend a suspended sentence with just five years of probation.

The victim's mother, Kasey Hilpipre expressed concern that the man may be set free to continue abusing. "What's five years probation? After five years the no contact order's done, then what's he going to do again?" Kasey said, according to Who TV.

"Is he gonna pick her up again and take her into the woods again and she may not come out? What justice is that? What safety is that for the remainder of her life?"

Kasey's mother added that the idea of releasing such a man was ridiculous. "Why don't you just throw in a spa day?" Deborah Yanna said. "I was just stunned.

"This little girl has a heart and she has a soul and she has a little mind, and this disgusting human hubris has broken her."

Referring to Hilpipre's recent lottery win of $100,000 (£72,045), Yanna claimed the man was still in a celebratory mood. "He won the Iowa Lottery. He's celebrating. He thinks he's terrific. ... Where's her justice? Where's her celebration. The rest of her life she will always remember."

The two women have been speaking to the press ahead of the 23 February sentencing in the hopes of swaying the judge to reject the plea deal and dispense a harsher sentence.