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Victimized Twice – Pieper Lewis in Court November 18

Pieper Lewis reportedly escaped prison on November 4, 2022, and is now back in custody. She is scheduled to appear before the same judge who imposed her previous sentence on November 18, 2022. This is the same teenager who was victimized twice, first by her rapist and now by the laws of Iowa. 

Victimized Twice - Pieper Lewis to face Judge November 18
Courtesy of CNN

At 15 years old, she was allegedly raped repeatedly by 37-year-old Zachary Brooks in 2020. Now 17 years old, she entered a guilty plea to voluntary manslaughter and willful injury for killing her rapist. In court, she explained that she stabbed the man who brutalized her approximately 30 times in a rage. 

Judge David M. Porter stated that he had “no other option” but to order the mandatory restitution of $150,000  plus $4,000 to the state according to the Iowa law in place. Even though he expressed that ordering Pieper to compensate her abuser’s family was unfair, he sentenced her to a strict five years of probation with two suspended 10-year prison terms with time served in juvenile detention. One mistake by Pieper will land her in prison for 20 years. This alone is unfair as she has her whole life in front of her. 

I can not help but think that her race did not play a role in her sentencing alone. Most times, Black girls are not protected, sexualized, and not viewed as little girls. She is adding her name to the list of Black women and girls who are often convicted and severely penalized for killing or defending themselves from those who have assaulted or been victims of sex trafficking. 

Iowa is not a safe harbor law state. Iowa only provides only alternative responses through juvenile justice. The passing of  IA HF 2464  on March 9, 2022, added the expungement of certain criminal history records of victims.  Lewis will have to walk on eggshells for the rest of her life. 

Her former teacher launched a Go Fund Me account that raised more than $500k to help as she wrote, To remove the burden of paying the restitution to both the perpetrator and the state from Pieper, any financial burden she may face while pursuing college/university or starting her own business and to lastly give Pieper the financial capacity to explore ways to help other young victims of sex crimes.

Now with her subsequent escape by walking away after cutting off her tracking device in the early morning of November 4, 2022. Upon her recapture  Her future is uncertain as her sentence guidelines have made it clear there isn’t any room for leniency should she misstep. Due in court on November 18, 2022, Pieper’s legal team will present the judge with a plan, but Alfredo Parrish, Civil Rights attorney, states that Pieper could receive the following: a deferred judgment, a suspended sentence, or incarceration. 

A petition has been filed to urge Iowa’s governor Kim Reynolds to pardon Peiper.

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