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Original: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/14/girl-who-killed-accused-rapist-must-pay-his-family-150000

FULL TEXT:

Girl who killed accused rapist must pay his family $150,000

Human trafficking victim gets probation with risk of 20 years’ prison for manslaughter, with judge saying ‘no other option’ than to impose restitution

Wed 14 Sep 2022

A teenage human trafficking victim who was initially charged with first-degree murder after she stabbed her accused rapist to death was sentenced on Tuesday in an Iowa court to five years of closely supervised probation and ordered to pay $150,000 restitution to the man’s family.

Pieper Lewis, 17, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and wilful injury in the June 2020 killing of 37-year-old Zachary Brooks of Des Moines. Both charges were punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Polk County District judge David M Porter on Tuesday deferred those prison sentences, meaning that if Lewis violates any portion of her probation, she could be sent to prison to serve that 20-year term.

As for being required to pay the estate of her rapist, “this court is presented with no other option”, Porter said, noting the restitution is mandatory under Iowa law that has been upheld by the Iowa supreme court.

Lewis was 15 when she stabbed Brooks more than 30 times in a Des Moines apartment. Officials have said Lewis was a runaway who was seeking to escape an abusive life with her adopted mother and was sleeping in the hallways of a Des Moines apartment building when a 28-year-old man took her in before forcibly trafficking her to other men for sex.

Lewis said one of those men was Brooks and that he had raped her multiple times in the weeks before his death. She recounted being forced at knifepoint by the 28-year-old man to go with Brooks to his apartment for sex. She told officials that after Brooks had raped her yet again, she grabbed a knife from a bedside table and stabbed Brooks in a fit of rage.

Police and prosecutors have not disputed that Lewis was sexually assaulted and trafficked. But prosecutors have argued that Brooks was asleep at the time he was stabbed and not an immediate danger to Lewis.

Iowa is not among the dozens of states that have a so-called safe harbor law that gives trafficking victims at least some level of criminal immunity.

Lewis, who earned her GED while being held in juvenile detention, acknowledged in a statement prior to her sentencing that she struggled with the structure of her detention, including “why I was treated like fragile glass” or wasn’t allowed to communicate with her friends or family.

“My spirit has been burned, but still glows through the flames,” she read from a statement she had prepared. “Hear me roar, see me glow, and watch me grow.”

“I am a survivor,“ she added.

Prosecutors took issue with Lewis calling herself a victim in the case and said she failed to take responsibility for stabbing Brooks and “leaving his kids without a father.”

The judge peppered Lewis with repeated requests to explain what poor choices she made that led up to Brooks’ stabbing and expressed concern that she sometimes did not want to follow rules set for her in juvenile lockup.

“The next five years of your life will be full of rules you disagree with, I’m sure of it,“ Porter said. He later added, “This is the second chance that you’ve asked for. You don’t get a third.“

Karl Schilling with the Iowa Organization for Victim Assistance said a bill to create a safe harbor law for trafficking victims passed the Iowa House earlier this year, but stalled in the Senate under concerns from law enforcement groups that it was too broad.

“There was a working group established to iron out the issues,” Shilling said. “Hopefully it will be taken up again next year.”

Iowa does have an affirmative defense law that gives some leeway to victims of crime if the victim committed the violation “under compulsion by another’s threat of serious injury, provided that the defendant reasonably believed that such injury was imminent.”

Prosecutors argued Tuesday that Lewis waived that affirmative defense when she pleaded guilty to manslaughter and willful injury.

Original: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/14/girl-who-killed-accused-rapist-must-pay-his-family-150000 FULL TEXT: # Girl who killed accused rapist must pay his family $150,000 *Human trafficking victim gets probation with risk of 20 years’ prison for manslaughter, with judge saying ‘no other option’ than to impose restitution* **Wed 14 Sep 2022** A teenage human trafficking victim who was initially charged with first-degree murder after she stabbed her accused rapist to death was sentenced on Tuesday in an Iowa court to five years of closely supervised probation and ordered to pay $150,000 restitution to the man’s family. Pieper Lewis, 17, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and wilful injury in the June 2020 killing of 37-year-old Zachary Brooks of Des Moines. Both charges were punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Polk County District judge David M Porter on Tuesday deferred those prison sentences, meaning that if Lewis violates any portion of her probation, she could be sent to prison to serve that 20-year term. As for being required to pay the estate of her rapist, “this court is presented with no other option”, Porter said, noting the restitution is mandatory under Iowa law that has been upheld by the Iowa supreme court. Lewis was 15 when she stabbed Brooks more than 30 times in a Des Moines apartment. Officials have said Lewis was a runaway who was seeking to escape an abusive life with her adopted mother and was sleeping in the hallways of a Des Moines apartment building when a 28-year-old man took her in before forcibly trafficking her to other men for sex. Lewis said one of those men was Brooks and that he had raped her multiple times in the weeks before his death. She recounted being forced at knifepoint by the 28-year-old man to go with Brooks to his apartment for sex. She told officials that after Brooks had raped her yet again, she grabbed a knife from a bedside table and stabbed Brooks in a fit of rage. Police and prosecutors have not disputed that Lewis was sexually assaulted and trafficked. But prosecutors have argued that Brooks was asleep at the time he was stabbed and not an immediate danger to Lewis. Iowa is not among the dozens of states that have a so-called safe harbor law that gives trafficking victims at least some level of criminal immunity. Lewis, who earned her GED while being held in juvenile detention, acknowledged in a statement prior to her sentencing that she struggled with the structure of her detention, including “why I was treated like fragile glass” or wasn’t allowed to communicate with her friends or family. “My spirit has been burned, but still glows through the flames,” she read from a statement she had prepared. “Hear me roar, see me glow, and watch me grow.” “I am a survivor,“ she added. Prosecutors took issue with Lewis calling herself a victim in the case and said she failed to take responsibility for stabbing Brooks and “leaving his kids without a father.” The judge peppered Lewis with repeated requests to explain what poor choices she made that led up to Brooks’ stabbing and expressed concern that she sometimes did not want to follow rules set for her in juvenile lockup. “The next five years of your life will be full of rules you disagree with, I’m sure of it,“ Porter said. He later added, “This is the second chance that you’ve asked for. You don’t get a third.“ Karl Schilling with the Iowa Organization for Victim Assistance said a bill to create a safe harbor law for trafficking victims passed the Iowa House earlier this year, but stalled in the Senate under concerns from law enforcement groups that it was too broad. “There was a working group established to iron out the issues,” Shilling said. “Hopefully it will be taken up again next year.” Iowa does have an affirmative defense law that gives some leeway to victims of crime if the victim committed the violation “under compulsion by another’s threat of serious injury, provided that the defendant reasonably believed that such injury was imminent.” Prosecutors argued Tuesday that Lewis waived that affirmative defense when she pleaded guilty to manslaughter and willful injury.

33 comments

[–] OwnLyingEyes 48 points Edited

I swear, when you put all of these cases together, it becomes pretty damn clear that to be considered a real rape victim, you need to be a corpse or next thing to it, ideally with signs that you fought back (ineffectually). Not badly injured? Must not have been a real rape, you must have gone along with it, what are you complaining about? Seriously injured or killed your rapist, enough to actually stop the rape or escape? Should have just gone along with it. It's so disgusting. Hollywood and TV depictions of this roll the credits when the woman finally manages to kill her attacker. They don't show this shit.

And how dare these shitbags come at this abused, kidnapped, and literally fucking enslaved child with the guilt trip about her rapist's kids. He's a repeated child rapist. At knifepoint. Raped her with a fucking knife on the bedside table. Killing him in his damn sleep was the only time she could actually protect herself, when he wouldn't have just taken the knife from her and done whatever he would have done to her from there. He was "an immediate danger to Lewis." He'd proven that over and over again, but she's being punished because she was smart about it and that's why she's alive instead of dead.

And where the hell is this child supposed to get that kind of money to pay the family of the man who had no qualms about paying money to rape a child? Especially with a criminal record now. Are they trying to force her back into prostitution?

Idk how prevalent it is in the US, but in the UK being a corpse means that no one’s around to argue when your rapist-murderer claims you liked rough sex so his little oopsie was all your fault.

Yeah, I've heard of that being a "defense," in Australia too (seemingly growing with the normalization of violent porn and acts depicted in it being used). I'm not sure how commonly or successfully it's been used here, although I seem to remember a case where the rapist claimed a 'rough sex' defense when the victim was literally wheeled in in a body cast from what he'd done to her.

He was "an immediate danger to Lewis."

Yeah, she was literally held captive in his apartment at knifepoint. He sold her to other men. And they think it was safe for her to just walk away?? Killing him was the only way to ensure he won’t be back to abduct her again.

And wtf was the prosecutors comment about his kids?? You’re upset that a child sex trafficker won’t be back to see his kids????????? WTF.

I would want my father dead if he were a rapist, let alone a child rapist. It's revolting he wants to subject children to a father like that. I despise how myopic the law is about "immediate danger". It does not consider how danger can be on-going like this woman and so many others face when they kill their abuser.

This is evil. I hate men. I just read the other post about a drug informant that the police sent into a house where she was raped, and then she was arrested on the drug charges that led to her becoming an informant. Men do not give a shit about men who rape, abuse and use women as objects for their sexual satisfaction. Men think that's what women are for.

[–] nopenottoday 27 points Edited

Yeah this really can't be described as anything less than pure evil. A man recently shot his daughter's stalker to death and he's being praised as a hero. And in that case no one was even in any immediate danger as there was a locked door between them and shooting was not a life-saving option. But this poor child gets raped by a grown man and she is being treated as a villain.

It's always okay when men kill people who are trying to harm them. It's like men expect us to let them rape and kill us because their lives are just that much more precious than ours. That's pretty much the message that these judges are sending.

Those kids are better off without that dude as a father but of course in this MRA culture every father shits gold bricks and pisses champagne and every man's life is precious and worth fighting for

Men hate women. Never ever ever forget that

That poor little girl. They are throwing the book at her for SELF DEFENSE. She was going to keep on being raped until she killed that man. I am sure she was not allowed to argue it. The law presupposes that two people locked in a physically violent altercation (of which rape is one kind) have equal ability to stop the cycle of violence. This girl had no options, she couldn't ask for help from the police because they would have returned her to an abusive home.

Ugh, I think I am done reading Ovarit for the day. My heart hurts.

[–] Lilith 15 points Edited

I don't buy that this was anything other than self-defense. The threat WAS imminent. She was under constant threat from that man. He could have woke up and killed her!

Can someone seriously answer this question, and not just give a broad or sarcastic answer: Why is women or girls killing their rapist/kidnapper/trafficker/etc NOT treated as self-defense in the law?

Because women and girls will usually kill when their abuser is sleeping or they'll poison them. In the eyes of the law, that's considered pre-meditated murder and deserves the highest punishment. Since most women can't face off with a fully grown man, the law only supports and exonerates dead abuse victims.

Conversely, since an abusive man is not afraid to attack his much smaller victim, he can usually claim manslaughter when he kills her.

The law benefits men who have murderous intent and penalizes women who want to protect themselves from relentless abusers.

I have been familiar with this argument for 20 years, and I believe it. What do we do to change it? And how?

I think one thing that really needs to change is focusing more on the coercive control aspect of abuse than the violent incidents. The violence is ultimately a rare occurrence -- sometimes even non-existent-- , the mental terrorism and the coercive control is relentless, in no small part because abusers know that most people don't know what it is and don't recognize the signs. It's the perfect silent crime. Most abusers are also very arrogant and don't believe that terrorizing their victims in this way might have negative consequences for them.

Ultimately victims who murder don't do it because they're fighting with the abuser and happen to land a fatal blow in the heat of the moment, they do it because they believe that the only way to escape is to murder the abuser. And the abuser is the one who is deliberately implanting that idea into their own victims. So, if anything, the are truly complacent in, and the catalysts of their own deaths, not the victims.

I think also, statistically speaking, most female murder victims have been killed by men close to them who have histories of abuse against them, these men often refuse to back off, so I think it is self-defense to kill a man like that by any means necessary. They are always a present threat to a woman's life even when not actively attacking said woman. Since the law mostly refuses to lock these men up before they kill, preventive, premeditated murder might truly be the only defense against loss of life. But then the law has to consider that the most consistent action against the victim are not the violence, but the coercive control, and the severity of those acts easily predict the threat that an abuser poses to his victim.

Adding on to what queen_beastmode said, self-defense laws typically require the threat of immediate danger, defined something like "the imminent [about to occur, threatening to occur immediately] danger of physical violence or aggression towards self or others, which is likely to cause serious physical harm." The law is written for those who would stand a fair chance against one another in a fight. Women generally can't risk waiting until the man is already trying to stab her or trying to shove him off when he's already in the middle of raping her. The law doesn't account for it.

Thank you both so much for your answers... Would changing or shifting these rules to better support women in these encounters be possible on a federal level, or would it have to be state by state? This is so terrible... I'm afraid I know so little about what feminist movement there might be on these issues, but I want to help, because these cases always shatter my heart and enrage me. Thank you again for your thorough and informing responses, I have to learn more about this aspect of our law

This is fucking disgusting. None of these men like this revolting excuse for a judge have any business in deciding so-called justice. Whatever kids that worthless monster she defended herself against had, they're better off without a violent rapist in their lives and I'm sure their mother is too.

The argument about her rapist's children is especially reprehensible, I agree.

It's a shitty argument.

She did those kids a favour by making sure they wouldn't grow up with a child rapist as father. I mean, she was 15 ... would he leave his own children alone? Perhaps, perhaps not.

No father is better than a rapist father.

Though of course, one could say "She killed him, so she has to replace him" ... why not give her his job, too? (Assuming he had a decent job)

Looks like the judge did the very best he could, given mandatory sentencing laws. Yeah, he asked her questions and warned her, but that IS his job. I’m not mad at the judge, I’m mad at the system.

Who upholds the system? He could at least have phrased it better if there was nothing else he could do, but I don’t think they are even following law correctly at this point as it is clearly self defence

[–] VestalVirgin 13 points Edited

Can't she sue and demand money for what was done to her?

I guess the rapist isn't around to pay it anymore, but well, his family still is. His family should be glad if THEY don't have to pay HER money for raising a rapist.

(Those shitty laws where they punish women for attacking a man at the only chance they get, ought to be abolished. They were made by men, for men. If men want to live by those rules, well, they can, but they have no right to impose them on women. Imho, any man who attacks a woman has forfeited his right to whatever passes for "fairness" in male on male aggression.)

Fuck this complicit judge. I hope he meets the same end as the trafficker.

All the money has been raised through a GoFundMe appeal, including money owed the state. There is money left over to help with her education. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/14/girl-who-killed-accused-rapist-must-pay-his-family-150000

Men are such disgusting vile creatures. They are less than trash and I hope every male involved suffers greatly for what they did to this CHILD.

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