At her sentencing hearing on September 13, Pieper Lewis (left) chats with Polk County District Judge David M. Porter. The court ordered Lewis, a 17-year-old sex trafficking victim, to pay $150,000 to the family of a man she stabbed to death after he raped her. Donations are flooding in to help Lewis. By Zach Boyden-Holmes for AP remove caption
switch to caption By Zach Boyden-Holmes for AP
At her sentencing hearing on September 13, Pieper Lewis (left) chats with Polk County District Judge David M. Porter. The court ordered Lewis, a 17-year-old sex trafficking victim, to pay $150,000 to the family of a man she stabbed to death after he raped her. Donations are flooding in to help Lewis.
By Zach Boyden-Holmes for AP A fundraiser for an Iowa teen who was raped and later found guilty of killing her rapist has easily surpassed the $150,000 in compensation she was required to give his family. The teen was a victim of human trafficking.
People who claim to be appalled by the court-enforced repayment order have contributed roughly $450,000 to a GoFundMe campaign created on behalf of Pieper Lewis as of Friday morning.
Judge claims that he was left with “no choice” but to issue a restitution order. In 2020, the 17-year-old killed Zachary Brooks and admitted to both voluntary manslaughter and deliberate injury. Lewis claims that Brooks, who was 37 at the time, sexually assaulted the boy several times in the weeks before to his passing. She testified before the court that at some point, she experienced a breakdown and stabbed Brooks at least 30 times in a fit of wrath.
During a sentencing hearing Tuesday , Polk County District Judge David M. Porter postponed two 10-year prison terms because Lewis had already served enough time in juvenile incarceration, and instead gave her a five-year probationary sentence.
Porter commented on how unjust it was to make Lewis pay money to the family of her own abuser, claiming he had “no other option.” According to Iowa law, restitution is required, and the state has not passed any so-called safe harbor statutes, which grant trafficking victims varied degrees of criminal immunity.
LEWIS’ GOFUNDME GETS OUTRAGE, SUPPORT, AND A FLOOD OF MONEY Lewis’ former math instructor Leland Schipper started the GoFundMe campaign and said he was “very pleased of her.”
“The judge acknowledged Pieper’s status as a child victim. He, like the majority of people who are familiar with the specifics of Pieper’s case, sympathized with a young woman who had never been violent before or since this occurrence and who regarded killing a man as the only way out of a horrifying circumstance “Schipper sent out a letter to potential donors.
Tens of thousands of people are donating money to the account after being moved by his and Lewis’ statements.
Michelle Randall, who contributed $5, wrote: “My donation isn’t much, but it’s sent with LOVE.”
John Dore contributed $20 and commented, “Some laws are poor laws and cause extra harm to people who shouldn’t be hurt. It is our responsibility to amend the laws that we created. I think you’ve shown a lot of bravery. I hope that justice, love, and peace will all be present in your life.”
Since Lewis’ sentence hearing, more than 26 people have given anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000.
THE FUNDRAISING GOAL HAS BEEN RAISED DUE TO OVERWHELMING AND QUICK SUPPORT. Schipper first set the fundraising target at $150,000, but when it became apparent that they would surpass it within the first 24 hours, he increased it and announced that he would keep accepting donations over $200,000.
Schipper updated in a post:
“The following ways will be used with the money: 1) Pay Piepers’ reparation of 150k. 2) Repay the state’s further reparation of $4,000. 3) Remove financial obstacles from Pieper’s path to higher education or her desire to launch her own company. 4) Provide Pieper with the resources to investigate how to assist other young victims of sex offenses!”
On Tuesday, Lewis spoke to the court while reading a prepared letter.
She remarked, “My spirit has been scorched, but it still shines through the flames.” Watch me grow, hear me roar, and see me sparkle.