Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Highland teacher sentenced to prison for sexual exploitation
WASHINGTON — A former Highland High School language arts teacher is going to prison after being convicted on sex charges.
Justin Rapier, 41, of Marion was sentenced to prison for up to two years on Sept. 30, after he was convicted of Sexual Exploitation by a School Employee, an aggravated misdemeanor.
Rapier was originally charged with engaging in a Pattern of Sexual Exploitation by a School Employee, a Class D felony, which carried a maximum possible punishment of up to five years in prison with no minimum.
After reports were made of possible sexual encounters between Rapier and a student, the Highland School District placed Rapier on leave and reported the allegations to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
An investigation led to charges against Rapier in January after finding that he engaged in sex acts with one of his high school students.
At sentencing, the survivor and former student read a powerful victim impact statement, stating at one point, “School is supposed to be a safe place to learn, not the playground of a pedophile.”
Rapier was emotionless and declined to give a statement or apology during the sentencing hearing.
“The law provides a light prison sentence for someone that caused a lifetime of hurt,” Washington County Attorney John Gish stated afterwards. “But at the end of the day, Rapier will be on the Sex Offender Registry and will never teach again.”