Monday, December 5, 2022

Teenage girl convicted of killing her rapist escapes custody

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Nov 6 (News) — Pieper Lewis, the teenage girl who killed her rapist when she was sex trafficked, has escaped detention at an Iowa women’s center.

Lewis, now 18, left the Fresh Start Women’s Center in Des Moines around 6:19 a.m. Friday after someone opened a door at the facility, which set off an alarm, according to a probation violation report obtained by the registry received from Des Moines. Her escape was confirmed to KCCI by correctional officers.

Officials said in the parole violation report that Lewis had also cut off her GPS tracker and “escaped” from the facility, and requested that a warrant be issued for her.

Lewis, then 15, was living with a 28-year-old man who allegedly listed her on dating websites to make men pay to have sex with her. She claimed the man threatened her with a knife and forced her to have sex with 37-year-old Zachary Brooks in May 2020.

She pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in September for killing Brooks by fatally stabbing him, saying in court documents that she “didn’t want to have sex with him” and that she fell asleep in his apartment and woke up when he saw her raped.

“I suddenly realized that Mr. Brooks had raped me again and (I) was overcome with anger,” Lewis wrote in her pleading.

She fled the scene but was arrested the next day and later sentenced to five years probation at the Fresh Start Women’s Center.

She was also ordered to do 1,200 hours of community service, which would cover more than $4,000 in fines, and to pay $150,000 in compensation for her victim’s death.

A fundraiser on GoFundMe set up to help Lewis after her arrest raised more than $562,000 to help her pay for the refund.

“Today the judge recognized that Pieper was a victim and a child. He, like almost everyone who knows the details of Pieper’s case, before or after the incident, sympathized with a girl with no violent history who saw killing a man as the only way out of a truly horrific situation,” the fundraiser reads.

“Pieper only found herself in this situation because she was originally charged with first-degree murder as an adult. DMPD and the Polk County Attorney’s Office immediately viewed Pieper as an adult, violent, adult murderer, and she was charged as such.”

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