Iowa sex trafficking victim who killed alleged abuser sought by authorities

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa teenage sex-trafficking victim convicted of fatally stabbing a man whom she accused of abusing her has absconded from her probation, authorities said in court records.

The Iowa Department of Corrections issued a nationwide warrant for the arrest of Pieper Lewis this month after learning she had been removed from a treatment center in Atlanta and then failed to show up to probation meetings.

Lewis, 19, had faced a 20-year prison sentence for the June 2020 fatal stabbing of Zachary Brooks. Lewis had said she was trafficked to Brooks, 37, against her will and forced to have sex with him multiple times at age 15.

Lewis pleaded guilty in September 2022 to involuntary manslaughter and willful injury and was sentenced to probation. After later admitting to violating the terms of her probation, a judge sentenced her again to probation but noted, “You’ve asked for a second chance. You don’t get a third.”

Lewis was taken in November 2023 to a residential program in Atlanta that helps victims of sexual exploitation. She was accused of repeatedly violating the center's rules and asked to leave in March, the requested arrest warrant states. After that, she met with probation officials and was fitted with a GPS monitor but failed to attend meetings and allowed the monitor battery to go dead, according to the requested warrant.

Iowa Corrections officials wrote in court documents that Lewis' whereabouts haven't been known since April 6. In March, a judge allowed Lewis' Iowa attorneys to withdraw from her case.

The Associated Press does not typically name victims of sexual assault, but Lewis agreed to have her name used previously in stories about her case.