May 22, 2024
Donors have raised more than $400,000 through an online fundraiser for a teenage human trafficking victim who was charged in the fatal stabbing of her accused rapist more than two years ago.

Donors have raised more than $400,000 through an online fundraiser for a teenage human trafficking victim who was charged in the fatal stabbing of her accused rapist more than two years ago.

Pieper Lewis, 17, was sentenced on Tuesday, one year after she pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and willful injury in the death of Zachary Brooks more than two years ago in Iowa. As part of her sentence, Lewis was also ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution to Brooks’s family after prosecutors argued she left his children fatherless.

IOWA HUMAN TRAFFICKING VICTIM ORDERED TO PAY $150,000 AFTER KILLING ACCUSED RAPIST

Shortly after her sentence was announced, a former teacher of Lewis created an online fundraiser to cover her restitution costs, raising more than $475,000 as of Friday morning.

“My former student, Pieper Lewis bravely took the microphone during her sentencing hearing and told the courtroom that her voice mattered. I was incredibly proud of her. She was powerful, and she brought me to tears,” Leland Schipper wrote on her GoFundMe page. “Pieper does not deserve to be finically burdened for the rest of her life because the state of Iowa wrote a law that fails to give judges any discretion as to how it is applied. This law doesn’t make sense in many cases, but in this case, it’s morally unjustifiable.”

Lewis was just 15 years old when she stabbed Brooks to death in a Des Moines apartment in June 2020, according to officials. At the time, the teenager had run away from home to escape her abusive adopted mother and was sleeping in the hallways of an apartment building when a 28-year-old man took her in, according to officials. She was then forced into human trafficking and sold to other men for sex, they said.

Brooks, one of the men she was sold to, raped her several times before his death, Lewis testified in court. At one point, Lewis was forced at knifepoint to go with Brooks to his apartment, she recalled.

After one incident in which she was raped, Lewis said she stabbed Brooks in a fit of rage while he was asleep, killing him. However, prosecutors argued that because Brooks was not awake at the time of the stabbing, he was not an immediate danger to Lewis.

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As a result, the judge ruled Lewis must pay fines under a state law that mandates that a person convicted of a felony that ends in the death of another person must pay at least $150,000 toward the deceased person’s estate.

“This law doesn’t make sense in many cases, but in this case, it’s morally unjustifiable,” Schipper said. “A child who was raped, under no circumstances, should owe the rapist’s family money.”

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