A court on Tuesday September 13 asked a victim to pay her rapist $150,000
On Tuesday, September 14, a court sentenced a teenage sex trafficking victim from Iowa, US, who stabbed her rapist to death, to five years of closely monitored probation and ordered her to pay $150,000 in compensation to her abuser’s family.
In June 2020, Pieper Lewis, 17, stabbed her abuser, 37-year-old Zachary Brooks, more than 30 times.
Lewis was first charged with first-degree murder, but this year she pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter and malicious harm, each of which carry up to ten years in jail.
But, on Tuesday, September 13, Polk County District Judge David Porter deferred those prison sentences, which means Lewis could face up to 20 years in prison if she violates her probation.
Porter stated that the court was “presented with no other option” but to order Lewis to pay restitution to Brooks’ family.
He emphasized that restitution is required under Iowa law.
Lewis stabbed Brooks in a Des Moines apartment when she was 15 years old.
She fled her home to avoid her harsh adoptive mother.
According to prosecutors, she was sleeping in the corridors of an apartment complex when Christopher Brown, 28, took her in and began trafficking her to other men for sex.
Brooks, one of the men she was trafficked to, raped her numerous times before she murdered him, according to Lewis.
She reported being forced to go to his residence for sex at knifepoint.
After Brooks raped her for the final time, Lewis took a knife from a bedside table and stabbed him.
Neither police nor prosecutors dispute Lewis’ account of being trafficked and abused, but prosecutors claim Brooks was not an urgent threat since he was asleep when he was stabbed.
Iowa does not have a safe harbor provision, which provides victims of human trafficking in other states with some amount of criminal immunity.
Lewis will be taken to a halfway home in Des Moines and will wear a GPS tracking device to ensure she does not revert to “the lifestyle that you thus far left,” according to Judge Porter.
She will also be required to perform 200 hours of community service.
“My spirit has been scorched, yet it still lights through the flames,” she said before her sentence, reading from a prepared statement.
“Hear me roar, see me sparkle, and keep an eye on me as I develop.”
“I am a survivor,” she added.
Prosecutors claim Lewis should not have labeled herself a survivor because she failed to accept responsibility for Brooks’ death and left his children fatherless.
The court asked Lewis to explain the poor decisions she made that led to the stabbing, noting that she did not always want to obey the regulations in juvenile custody.
“”I’m sure the next five years of your life will be filled with regulations you disagree with,” Porter stated, later adding, “This is the second opportunity you’ve requested.”
You are not entitled to a third.”
Lewis stated, “I murdered someone.
My goals that day were not to go out and kill someone.
In my mind, I was concerned that I wasn’t safe and that I was in danger, which led to the activities.
However, this does not negate the fact that a crime was committed.”
“But to imply there is only one victim is ludicrous,” she added of the stabbing.