A Judge Compels an Iowa Teen to Pay $150,000 to Her Alleged Rapist’s Family

A judge in Iowa ruled on Tuesday that a girl who was 15 at the time she killed a man she claimed had raped her many times must pay his family $150,000 in reparations.

Polk County District Judge David Porter granted Pieper Lewis a deferred judgment after she pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and willful injury for the 2020 murder of her claimed rapist.

Porter ordered that Lewis would be placed on five years of probation, have to perform 200 hours of community service, and need to pay $150,000 in restitution. Because of the delayed judgment, Lewis may be able to get this off his record.

A Judge Compels an Iowa Teen to Pay $150,000 to Her Alleged Rapist's Family
A Judge Compels an Iowa Teen to Pay $150,000 to Her Alleged Rapist’s Family

If convicted of murder in Iowa, the criminal will be ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution.

During a hearing in June 2021, Lewis admitted to killing Zachary Brooks. As stated in the plea deal, Lewis claims that Brooks, then aged 37, sexually assaulted her on many occasions in 2020. She was originally charged with first-degree murder.

According to her plea deal, Lewis stated that she had repeatedly run away from home and spent the night in the corridor of an apartment building.

She admitted in her plea deal that she was taken in by a man but that she eventually left him because of his aggressive behavior. She claimed she then moved in with a man who had a fake dating profile set up for her and arranged for men to have sexual encounters with her in exchange for payment. She stayed with that man, who told her she was his girlfriend, from April 2020 until she was arrested for killing Brooks, Lewis said.

She claims that she met Brooks in May of 2020, and that over the course of three days, he drugged and intoxicated her, and then had intercourse with her five times while she was asleep.

On May 31, the man with whom Lewis lived with confronted her with a knife after she ignored his request to go to Brooks’ apartment to have sex with Brooks in exchange for marijuana, she wrote. Eventually she consented to go after he sliced her neck, she alleged in the plea.

Brooks picked her up and took her back to his apartment, where he urged her to go to the bedroom.

She said in her plea deal that she was made to drink vodka shots and eventually passed out as a result. She claimed that at some point throughout the night she woke up to see Brooks raping her. Brooks fell asleep and Lewis went to find her clothes. She returned to the bedroom and found him naked and passed out.

The realization that Mr. Brooks had raped me again brought on a wave of wrath within me. I reached over and grabbed the knife from his nightstand and started stabbing him without even thinking about it,” Lewis said in his plea bargain. I also admit that Mr. Brooks’ death was caused by the several stab wounds I gave him later.

Lewis, in court on Tuesday, read a prepared statement.

The events of my life have the potential to alter the course of history. “My experience has altered me,” she admitted. As much as I would like to, I am powerless to alter what happened on that terrible day. On that fateful day, a series of events led to the loss of life and the loss of a child’s innocence.

As a young woman, I have developed compassion for the victim’s loved ones. I really hope this never happens again. In fact, I feel that way deeply. The healing process is inevitable. I repeat, I wish the events that transpired on June 1, 2020 never occurred. But to argue there is only one victim of this tragedy is ludicrous.”

Lewis’ counsel indicated that he was delighted with the court delaying her punishment.

We are overjoyed with Judge Porter’s ruling in this matter. “Pieper deserves a deferred judgment so that he can have a normal life,” Matt Sheeley said on CNN.

“Pieper is indebted to everyone who has shown kindness, concern, and support. The moment you meet her, you fall in love with her,” Sheeley added. “She’s an extraordinary young lady with extraordinary bravery. Even more so, she is awed by the outpouring of affection she has gotten. Sincerely, we are all astounded.

Judge Porter observed to Ms. Lewis, “The objective of that is that you have a tale to tell… you should be willing and able to communicate that experience to other young and vulnerable women in our community,” when explaining his decision to order community service. Because of this, you’ve decided to contribute something back to the community by way of volunteer work.

Whether or whether they intend to appeal the restitution verdict in the case is unknown, as Sheeley made no mention of it.

One of Lewis’ former educators is holding a fundraiser to help cover the costs of the fine and Lewis’ future schooling.

Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault member KellyMarie Meek expressed alarm over the ruling on Tuesday.

I don’t think justice was done. According to Meek’s comments to CNN, “justice would not have seen Pieper Lewis spend any time behind bars.” Not the worst possible outcome, but also not the finest, and certainly not justice.

Due to the intensity of Lewis’ trauma, Meek is concerned that she will not be able to comply with the terms of her probation.

For her, the prospect of five years of probation with stringent monitoring was worrisome because “many of the ways that trauma survivors deal with their trauma is not understood very well by persons that haven’t experienced trauma,” she explained.

Meek stated that she was aware of the restitution order and that the court lacked discretion in the matter.

“I don’t want to swing the pendulum and say, we’re just going to get rid of it,” she added, acknowledging that the situation had turned out badly but noting that the opposite was not the case.

She said, “many victims’ families pushed hard to get the restitution statute approved, and now what we need is dialogue with a lot of voices at the table to figure out how we offer victims of crime the support that they need and not unfairly punish them.”

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