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The justice system should punish child sex trafficking, not victimize Pieper Lewis again

The Des Moines Capitol building. The building has two turquoise domes on either side, and a golden dome in its center. Green grass and trees surround the Capitol building. The sky is blue, with light cloud cover.

Pieper Lewis was failed by many people, including police and prosecutors, who charged the 15-year-old with murder but have not made a sex trafficking arrest.

Leland Schipper was still having trouble on Wednesday processing the story published Sunday about his former student, Pieper Lewis. He's been struggling to square the light-hearted, well-liked "extremely kind, sweet and very funny" 15-year-old he taught freshman math to at Des Moines Lincoln High School with the young woman pictured on the Register's front page. The one who pleaded guilty to the June 1, 2020, killing of a man to whom she said she was being sexually trafficked.

A sleeping Zachary Brooks, age 37, was stabbed 30 times in the chest, arms and groin. Lewis pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and willful injury and faces 20 years in prison.

"This really shook me, reading that," said Schipper said in a phone interview. "It truly blew me away." Neither could a fellow math Lincoln teacher to whom Schipper broke the news. "She said Pieper was one of the sweetest, funniest girls I ever had," he said.


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