On Tuesday (Sept. 13), a teenage human trafficking victim was sentenced to five years of supervised probation and ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution to the family of her alleged rapist.
Pieper Lewis was 15 years old when she stabbed Zachary Brooks to death in June 2020 in Des Moines, Iowa. Last year, the teen pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and willful injury. Each charges carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
As part of her probation, Polk County District Judge David M. Porter ordered Lewis to be placed in a residential facility, where she must wear a tracking device. “The next five years of your life will be full of rules you disagree with, I’m sure of it,” Judge Porter started. “This is the second chance that you’ve asked for. You [do not] get a third.”
Judge Porter reminded Lewis that if she was to violate any portion of her probation, she could be sent to prison to serve up to 20 years. He also stated she is required to pay Brooks’ family, noting that the restitution is mandatory under Iowa law.
In 2020, Lewis ran away from home, escaping the abuse she reportedly suffered at the hands of her adopted mother. Soon after, she was forced into trafficking by an unnamed 28-year-old man. The teen revealed that one of the men she was sold to was Brooks, who allegedly raped her several times in the weeks before his death. She said that on the day Brooks died, she was held at knifepoint by the 28-year-old man and forced to sleep with Brooks. According to her, after Brooks raped her again, she stabbed him more than 30 times in a fit of rage.
Des Moines Police Department and Iowa prosecutors have not disputed Lewis’ sexual assault. However, prosecutors have argued that Brooks was asleep when stabbed and not an immediate danger to the teen.
According to The Associated Press, Lewis said in a statement in court that she is a survivor. “My spirit has been burned but still glows through the flames,” she said. “Hear me roar, see me glow, and watch me grow. I am a survivor.”