After Public Raises $600K for Restitution Fees for Alleged Teen Sex Trafficking Victim, She Violates Probation and May Lose Judgment Set by Judge

A teenage girl a man she says raped her is now missing. The 18-year-old is said to have cut off her court-ordered ankle monitor before she ran away from the facility Iowa authorities mandated she serve out her sentencing for her conviction in his death. Now her probation stands to be revoked and she may have to serve decades in prison for the crime.

On the morning of Friday, Nov. 4, Iowa’s Fifth Judicial District Department of Corrections said Pieper Lewis escaped from a residential corrections facility called Fresh Start Women’s Center, where she was serving her probation sentence for the 2020 killing of Zachary Brooks, 37, the man she has accused of raping her when she was 15,  according to CNN.

Jerry Evans, the district’s executive director, said Lewis “walked away from the Fresh Start Women’s Center on Friday at 6:19 a.m. after cutting off her electronic monitoring tracking device.”

As a result of her actions, authorities filed a probation violation report and are recommending her probation be revoked. His office has also issued a warrant for her arrest. He said, “A warrant for her arrest was subsequently issued that remains outstanding.”

Two months prior to the escape, Polk County District Judge David Porter ordered Lewis to serve five years probation and pay $150,000 in restitution to Brooks’ family, after she pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and willful injury. Restitution is required by Iowa law in the case of a felony homicide.

The judge also ruled Lewis must serve 200 hours of community service and pay an additional $4,000 in civil penalties. A benefit of having the deferred judgment for the teen is that it may be expunged from her record.

Lewis told authorities Brooks raped her multiple times after a man she was living with gave her over to him for money. The girl says Brooks, more than twice her age, gave her alcohol to drink and had sex with her while she was unconscious. She said when she realized what had happened before she was so “overcome with rage” that she grabbed a knife and stabbed him to death during the early hours of June 1, 2021.

Lewis was arrested the following day and subsequently charged with first-degree murder more than a year before her plea agreement.

In the agreement, the teen explained how she was a runaway, who left her family’s home multiple times, before finding herself asleep in an apartment complex’s hallway. According to court documents, the man took her into his home and allowed her to live with him but he was allegedly physically abusive to her. Then she met another man, and in exchange for him taking her in, she was made a child prostitute for him.

Lewis said she moved in with the second man and he created an online dating profile for her, where he would arrange for men to have sex with her for money. The teen believed she was the man’s girlfriend and that he was in a relationship with her from April 2020 until Brooks’ death.

On May 31, Lewis’ “boyfriend” made her go to Brooks’ apartment to have sex with him in exchange for marijuana, the young woman wrote. When she refused, he pulled a knife out on her, cutting her on her neck. In her plea agreement, she said after that she complied with his order.

“I suddenly realized that Mr. Brooks had raped me yet again and was overcome with rage. Without thinking, I immediately grabbed the knife from his nightstand and began stabbing him,” Lewis stated in the plea agreement. “I further acknowledge that the multiple stab wounds that I inflicted upon Mr. Brooks thereafter ultimately resulted in his death.”

To pay her restitution, friends, family, and supporters have started GoFundMe to help her come up with $150,000. Her teacher, Leland Schipper, set up the profile after she was sentenced.

To date, the campaign raised $562,633. Schipper said the money was to be used in four ways: Pay off Pieper’s restitution; Pay off the additional $4,000 in restitution to the state; Remove financial barriers for Pieper in pursuing college/university or starting her own business, and give Pieper the financial capacity to explore ways to help other young victims of sex crimes.

Lewis’ recent escape from the facility may have an impact on the judgment she received. In addition to issuing a warrant for her arrest, Evans has also recommended a “revocation of her probation,” “her deferred judgments revoked and original sentence imposed.”

Now, when and if she is caught, Lewis faces up to two decades in prison. Had she successfully completed the five years of supervised probation the prison sentence given to her by Judge Porter would have been expunged.

Especially since at the probation sentence Polk County Judge David Porter told Lewis, this “was the second chance you asked for. You don’t get a third.” 

As of Sunday afternoon, the young woman has not been apprehended and is not in Polk County Jail custody.

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