By Joe Johnson
An Athens bar owner on Monday pleaded not guilty to charges he raped a customer late last year in one of two downtown establishments he owned.
David Ellis Ippisch, 38, was charged by a Clarke County grand jury with rape and kidnapping for the alleged assault the 21-year-old victim claimed occurred Nov. 25 at The Hedges on Broad, one of two bars Ippisch owns near the University of Georgia that are popular student hangouts. He also owns the 100 Proof bar.
Athens-Clarke County police alleged that Ippisch pulled the victim against her will into a bar storage room where he raped her. A detective suggested that the victim might have been drugged prior to the assault.
One of Ippisch’s defense attorneys claimed that the sex was consensual.
Western Judicial Circuit Judge Eric Norris previously denied a request by Ippisch to be release on bail on the grounds it would be “likely” that if released from custody, Ippisch would commit another felony and posed a risk of influencing witnesses prior to trial.
The judge also heard testimony that Ippisch might be a flight risk if released from custody – when police searched his home at 909 Broad Street apartments, investigators reportedly found a computer that had a list of 94 women with whom Ippisch supposedly had sex, a large safe, and a “go-bag” that contained cash IDs, drugs and a credit card that would not be able to be traced back to Ippisch.
Ippisch, who was allowed by the judge to wear civilian clothing for Monday morning’s proceeding, waived the reading of the charges against him in open court. Instead, he signed the indictment form on which he indicated that he was entering not guilty pleas to all charges.
Norris scheduled a pre-trial hearing for May 2.