Iowa Teen Trafficking Victim Ordered To Pay $150K To Family Of Rapist Raises The Money On GoFundMe
Pieper Lewis is a 17-year-old sex-trafficking victim from Iowa who was ordered by the court to pay the family of the rapist she killed. As of Thursday morning, she has raised more than $380,000 in donations via a GoFundMe page.
According to the Des Moines Register, in 2020, when Lewis was 15, she fatally stabbed 37-year-old Zachary Brooks. Officials said Lewis was reportedly a runaway who was being abused by her adopted mother. She was sleeping in the hallways of an apartment building when a 28-year-old man took her in and violently trafficked her to other men for sex. Lewis said Brooks raped the child multiple times over several weeks, and she stabbed him. Prosecutors didn’t dispute the sexual assault claims nor that the man was selling the young girl for money, but maintained the teen killed the adult while he was sleeping.
The teenager pleaded guilty for Brooks’ death, received five years probation, and was ordered by Judge David M. Porter to pay Brooks’ family $150,000 in restitution due to an Iowa law from 1997 that requires people convicted of homicides to pay $150,000 in compensation.
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Judge Porter said at the sentencing on Sept. 13, "The court is cognizant that you and … your supporters will be frustrated with the imposition of the $150,000 in restitution to Mr. Brooks' estate. This court is presented with no other option, other than which is dictated by the law of this state."
The GoFundMe page was started by Leland Schipper, a former math teacher for Lewis. Sadly, Lewis' attorneys said Iowa law might not allow the donated money to be used to pay the $150,000. If not, she could use the funds for college or other expenses.
Lewis said in a statement, according to NBC News, “My spirit has been burned, but still glows through the flames. Hear me roar, see me glow, and watch me grow. I am a survivor."