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Iowa teen who killed her accused rapist ordered to pay his family $150,000

by Sep 14, 2022Local News

 A 17-year-old girl who admitted killing a man she said sexually abused her while she was trapped in a sex-trafficking ring avoided a prison sentence Tuesday, but she will have to pay the man’s family $150,000 in restitution.

Polk County District Judge David Porter did sentence Pieper Lewis to five years of probation and ordered her to serve 1,200 hours of community service, the Des Moines Register reports. She must live in the Fresh Start Women’s Center during her probation and also could be tracked through GPS monitoring, the Register reports.

As for being required to pay the estate of her rapist, “this court is presented with no other option,” Porter said, noting the restitution is mandatory under Iowa law that has been upheld by the Iowa Supreme Court.

There is a chance Lewis’ record could be expunged when she completes her sentence. Although Lewis is a juvenile, she agreed to have her name used in news stories about the case, reports say.

“I wish (the stabbing) never happened,” Lewis said during her hearing Tuesday, the Register reports. “But to say there’s only one victim in the story is absurd.”

Lewis pleaded guilty last year to involuntary manslaughter and willful injury in the June 2020 killing of 37-year-old Zachary Brooks of Des Moines. Both charges were punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

WeAreIowa.com reports Lewis admits she ran away from home three times between January and March 2020, when she was only 15 years old. She ended up living in an apartment with a 28-year-old man, who reportedly created an online dating profile for her and then forced her to have sex with men for money.

Lewis said one of those men was Brooks and that he had raped her multiple times in the weeks before his death. She said she was forced at knifepoint by the 28-year-old man to go with Brooks to his apartment for sex. She told officials that after Brooks had raped her yet again, she grabbed a knife from a bedside table and stabbed Brooks in a fit of rage.

Iowa does not have a “safe harbor law” that gives trafficking victims at least some level of criminal immunity.

Porter did warn Lewis that she could end up in prison if she doesn’t follow the rules set for her probation.

“The next five years of your life will be full of rules you disagree with, I’m sure of it,” Porter said. He later added, “This is the second chance that you’ve asked for. You don’t get a third.”

Pieper Lewis, Des Moines, Iowa, accused of killing rapist.

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