Teen Rape Victim Ordered To Pay Restitution to Her Rapist for Stabbing Him to Death

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    Of all the things that are not making sense in 2022, the idea of making a rape and human trafficking victim pay for murdering her rapist is at the top of the list. Then again with this new leftist-originated ticket and release systems for even violent and serious crimes, it doesn’t come as much of a shocker that the victim is being forced to pay.

    Back in June 2020, Pieper Lewis now 17, stabbed 37-year-old Zachary Brooks more than 30 times in a Des Moines, IA apartment. Running away from an abusive adoptive mother, Lewis was sleeping in various apartment complex hallways, and a man living there offered to take her in. Instead of keeping her safe, he instead raped her and trafficked her for other men to rape her as well.

    One of those men was Brooks. According to Lewis, Brooks had raped her multiple times over the weeks preceding his death. She recounted to the jury her story of being taken at knifepoint by the man who trafficked her to be raped by Brooks. She claimed that after the last attack she took a knife from his bedside table and in a fit of rage stabbed him to death.

    From the start of the case, both prosecutors and the police have openly acknowledged that she was a human trafficking victim and had been sexually assaulted. The prosecution however has argued that Brooks was asleep when he was stabbed and ultimately posed no threat to Lewis when she stabbed him. During the trial they did everything they could to ensure she was not seen as a victim, even going so far as to say she failed to take responsibility for stabbing Brooks and that she was “leaving his kids without a father.”

    Lewis didn’t get any preferential treatment from the judge either. He instead hammered her with requests that she explain her poor decision-making that culminated with Brooks being stabbed, as well as her problems while in juvenile lockup. No sympathy or understanding of how this situation could make someone lash out when being put into another kind of prison was likely the last thing this teenager needed.

    Polk County District Judge David M. Porter heard and accepted Lewis’ plea to involuntary manslaughter and willful injury, with each charge being eligible for up to 10 years in prison. Porter deferred those sentences, and instead received five years of closely supervised probation and was ordered to pay $150,000 restitution to the man’s family. Should she violate the terms of the probation she would be sent to jail for that 20-year term.

    Porter also explained that “this court is presented with no other option” for her sentence. In Iowa, the state has a law that makes restitution mandatory, and it is a law that has been upheld by the Iowa Supreme Court. He surmised his decision-making to her as well. “The next five years of your life will be full of rules you disagree with, I’m sure of it. This is the second chance that you’ve asked for. You don’t get a third.”

    In extenuating circumstances, Iowa has an affirmative defense law, that gives the victims a bit of wiggle room if their law-breaking was in response to a reasonable belief that serious injury was imminent. In the eyes of the prosecution, Lewis gave up the right to claim that when she was willing to please guilty to manslaughter and willful injury.

    Cases like this don’t send the right message to our children. It instead sends the message that there is little to nothing anyone can or will do to help ensure you are safe. It tells them that someone else will take another pound of flesh for their misdeeds, even when done in self-defense. This is setting a dangerous precedent and one that Iowa should look at closely.

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