UPDATED: 11:00 a.m. ET, Nov. 9, 2022
An 18-year-old sex trafficking victim who pleaded guilty to killing the man she said raped her is back in custody after she escaped from a women’s center where she was serving her probation sentence.
According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Pieper Lewis is now being held at the Polk County Jail until her upcoming court date for violating her probation.
According to AP, Pieper Lewis escaped the Fresh Start Women’s Center in Des Moines shortly after 6:15 a.m. Friday. the probation violation report said Lewis cut her GPS monitor off at some point after she was seen walking out of the facility.
A warrant was issued for her arrest. The report has also asked that her deferred judgment be revoked and her original sentence imposed, which means Lewis could face up to 20 years in prison.
Pieper Lewis was initially charged with first-degree murder after she stabbed and killed her 37-year-old accused rapist, Zachary Brooks. Lewis was 15 years old at the time of the June 2020 killing.
After she was arrested, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda — a group that champions reproductive rights for Black women — demanded that Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds pardon Pieper.
“The conviction and sentencing of Pieper Lewis are beyond unjust; they are criminal. A Black teenager was trafficked and raped — those facts are not disputed — yet the American criminal legal system chose to prosecute, convict and persecute her for escaping her captor,” In Our Own Voice’s President and CEO Marcela Howell said in a statement emailed to NewsOne. “The decision to prosecute Lewis and the subsequent sentence sends a clear message to Black women, girls, and gender expansive individuals — the law will not protect you — and if you defend yourself, you will pay a high price.”
She would later be charged with involuntary manslaughter and willful injury and faced 10 years in prison for each charge. Lewis pleaded guilty after entering into a plea agreement and was sentenced to five years of closely supervised probation and ordered to pay $150,000 restitution to Brooks’ family.
A GoFundMe account was set up for Pieper which raised over $560,000 to cover her legal fees.
If Lewis would have completed her five years of closely supervised probation, her entire prison sentence would have been expunged. Now Lewis must start from the beginning and is likely to see the jail time she was originally sentenced to before her escape.