Judge bars testimony of alleged previous victims of former downtown Athens bar owner accused of rape
By Joe Johnson
A judge recently ruled that three women cannot testify in the case of David Ellis Ippisch, a 40-year-old former bar owner who is accused of raping a woman in one of two bars he formerly ow; Two women, including an employee of a former bar owner accused of raping a woman in his downtown Athens establishment will testify at trial that that they also were sexually assaulted by the same man, according to a recently-filed court document.
David Ellis Ippisch, 40, was charged in February 2020 by a Clarke County grand jury with rape and kidnapping for the alleged assault three months earlier of a 21-year-old victim, who is identified in court records as K.P.
According to Athens-Clarke County police, K.P. claimed she was raped on Nov. 25 2019 at The Hedges on Broad, one of two bars Ippisch owned on East Broad Street, near the University of Georgia campus that were popular student hangouts. He also owned the 100 Proof bar.
Both bars went out of business after Ippisch was arrested and subsequently evicted from those properties, according to court records.
Police alleged that Ippisch pulled K.P. against her will into a storage room at The Hedges and raped her. A detective suggested that the victim might have been drugged prior to the assault.
Ippisch’s defense attorneys have claimed that the sex was consensual.
In a motion filed in May 2020, former Assistant District Attorney Jim Powers notified the court that “the State intends to present evidence of other acts of sexual and physical assault perpetrated against” another woman, who is named in the motion, but Classic City News is identifying as R.D.
The woman “would testify...that David Ippisch physically and sexually assaulted her on several, if not regular, occasions during the course of their roughly one to two-year relationship,” Powers stated in the motion. “Specifically, (R.D.) would testify that on several occasions the defendant raped her while she was semi-conscious or unconscious.”
Ippisch was not arrested or indicted for assaulting R.D. or
On Feb. 12 of this year, ADA Robert Schollmeyer filed a supplemental notice of the prosecution's intent to have a woman identified in court documents testify that she frequently socialized and drank alcohol at The Hedges, and on occasion would go to Ippisch’s apartment, along with some of his bartenders.
“H.B. recalls consuming alcoholic drinks prepared by the bartenders and/or the Defendant, yet her next memory is awakening at the Defendant’s residence, in bed, without clothing with the realization that the Defendant had sex with her while she was semi-conscious or unconscious,” the prosecutor's motion states.
The incident was said to be documented in an ACCPD report.
Then just last July, Schollmeyer filed notice of intent to present a second witness, a former employee at The Hedges who claims to have been assaulted by Ippisch.
The former employee, identified in the motion as C.Z., returned to Athens in August 2019 to attend a wedding, and afterwards went with a friend to The Hedges, where she met Ippisch, who gave her mixed drinks in an area behind the bar “much like the Defendant did to the alleged victim in the charged incident,” the motion states.
“C.Z.’s memory of the events thereafter are limited,” according to the motion. She does not remember leaving the bar, and “her next memory is waking up in the Defendant’s bed with only a T-shirt on and that she believed she had sex with the Defendant while unconscious.”
Last month, on June 6, Western Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Eric Norris issued a ruling that forbids R.D. and H.B. from testifying because any evidence they offered “is substantially outweighed by the danger (of) unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, misleading the jury, or by considerations of undue delay, waste of time, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence.
The judge ruled that any evidence from Ippisch’s former employee, C.Z., “Shall be excluded because it is not enough for a jury to determine by a preponderance of the evidence that Defendant committed an offense of sexual assault against her.
The DA’s office immediately electronically filed a Notice of Direct Appeal with the Georgia Court of Appeals on the grounds that “the evidence at issue is a substantial proof of material fact in Ippisch’s case.”
While awaiting trial, Ippisch is free on a $50,000 cash bond with the conditions he cannot have contact with the alleged victim, must wear an ankle monitor while residing with his parents in Cumming, cannot not leave Forsyth County except for medical appointments, and is barred from Athens-Clarke County unless he needs to meet with his attorneys.
The Court of Appealks case hasyet to be