Iowa: Sex Trafficking Victim Runs Away After Arrest

An 18-year-old sex trafficking victim who pleaded guilty to killing the man she said raped her ran away from the women’s center in Iowa where she was serving her probation, authorities said.

Pieper Lewis was seen leaving the Fresh Start Women’s Center in Des Moines shortly after 6:15 a.m. Friday and later that day lost her GPS monitor, according to the police report.

Police issued an arrest warrant for Lewis and the report calls for his probation to be revoked and his original sentence to be imposed, KCCI reported. The woman could be sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors said the probation sentence, handed down in September, was merciful because the woman suffered horrific abuse, though some questioned the fact that the woman was forced to pay $150,000 in restitution. A GoFundMe page raised more than $560,000 to help him with restitution and other expenses.

Judge David Porter told Lewis that probation “is the second chance you asked for. There won’t be a third one,” the Des Moines Register reported.

If Lewis had successfully served his five years of probation, the sentence would have been expunged.

Lewis pleaded guilty to the June 2020 killing of Zachary Brooks, a 37-year-old father of two. Lewis was 15 years old when he stabbed Brooks more than 30 times in his Des Moines apartment.

Lewis said several trafficked her to Brooks for sex, and that she stabbed him in a fit of rage. Neither the police nor the prosecution disputed that Lewis was sexually assaulted and trafficked.

The Associated Press does not typically identify victims of sex crimes, but Lewis has agreed to be identified in previous articles about her case.

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