September 21, 2022

Victim Forced to Pay Restitution to Rapist's Family

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By Ophelia Garrett

In Brief: 

Back in 2020, 15 year old Pieper Lewis was a runaway when she stabbed her 37-year-old abuser, Zachary Brooks, more than 30 times in a Des Moines apartment.

Now, an Iowa judge has ordered Lewis, a victim of trafficking and rape, to pay restitution to the family of her rapist. As well as a strict 5 year probation, with 20 years served should she break probation. 

The Background: 

Back in 2020, fifteen year old Pieper Lewis fled an abusive home and ended up homeless. Sleeping in apartment hallways she was picked up by Christopher Brown, 28, who started pimping her out to his various clients. One of which was 37 year old Zachary Brooks. After multiple rapes and being forced at knifepoint to follow him into an apartment for yet another rape, Lewis grabbed the knife and fatally stabbed Brown. 

Neither police nor prosecutors have doubted that Lewis was sexually assaulted, but prosecutors claimed she stabbed Brooks after he had raped her was then asleep, thereby no longer a threat to Lewis.

Now seventeen, Lewis was originally charged with first-degree murder for the fatal stabbing. Last year, she pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and willful injury. Each charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, as well as paying Brown’s family $150,000 in restitution for leaving his children fatherless. 

Polk County District Judge David M. Porter said Lewis was ordered to pay the estate of her rapist because the court was “presented with no other option,” adding that the restitution is mandatory under Iowa state law. 

Iowa is unfortunately not included in one of the dozens of US states that have safe-harbor laws to give trafficking victims some degree of criminal immunity.

Notable Quotes: 

“My intentions that day were not to just go out and take somebody’s life. In my mind, I felt that I wasn’t safe and I felt that I was in danger, which resulted in the acts. But it doesn’t take away from the fact that a crime was committed.”-- Peiper Lewis

What do you think?