Donors Double Amount Iowa Teen Ordered to Pay Family of Her Accused Rapist

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Donations for an Iowa teenager ordered by a court to pay the family of her accused rapist, whom she killed after he sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions, NBC News reports.

The court ordered Pieper Lewis, 17, to pay $150,000 to the family of her accused assailant. 

The donations poured in, doubling the amount in less than 48 hours. 

The GoFundMe fundraiser for Lewis has raised more than $340,000, well past its $200,000 goal, less than two days after a judge sentenced the Des Moines teen in the 2020 killing of her accused rapist. 

“As the donations have increased, I am overjoyed with the prospect of removing this burden from Pieper,” said Leland Schipper, her former high school math teacher, who set up the page to help pay the restitution and for her education.

Lewis was initially charged with first-degree murder. Lewis pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and willful injury of Zachary Brooks, 37, in June 2021, a year after he was killed. 

On Tuesday she was sentenced in an Iowa court to five years of closely supervised probation and ordered to pay the $150,000 restitution. 

Lewis was 15 years old and homeless when she met Brooks in May 2020.

Lewis said she was a victim of sex trafficking. Officials previously said the teen had escaped an abusive life with her adopted mother and found herself sleeping in the hallways of a Des Moines apartment building when a 28-year-old man took her in. Still, they later forcibly trafficked her to other men for sex.

She said Brooks sexually assaulted her the night they met and then again the night she stabbed him to death. Reports say Lewis was repeatedly raped by Brooks in the weeks leading up to the incident. 

Police and prosecutors have not disputed that Lewis was sexually assaulted and trafficked. 

“My story can change things. My story has changed me,” Lewis said during her sentencing hearing on Tuesday. “The events that took place on that horrific day cannot be changed, as much as I wish I could.”

In his sentencing, Polk County District Judge David M. Porter said Lewis had been given the “second chance” she had asked for by avoiding prison time. But, he said she would still have to pay her accused rapist’s family, noting that the $150,000 restitution was mandatory under Iowa law that has been upheld by the Iowa Supreme Court.

In less than 48 hours, Iowa residents looking to support the teen managed to raise more than double what she owed to her accused rapist’s family.

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