Judge bars testimony of previous alleged victims of former Athens bar owner accused of rape

David Ellis Ippisch

By Joe Johnson

A judge has ruled that previous alleged victims cannot testify in the case of a former bar owner accused of raping a woman in one of his two downtown Athens establishments over two years ago.

In an order filed Monday in Athens-Clarke County Superior Court, Western Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Eric Norris said testimony from two previous alleged victims of David Ellis Ippisch “is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues or misleading the jury or by considerations of undue delay, waste of time, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence.”

In the “Order on Admissibility of Extrinsic Acts Evidence at Trial, ”The judge also precluded testimony of a third woman, a former employee of Ippisch , “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.”

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 Classic City News is not naming.

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, (the woman) would testify that on several occasions the defendant raped her while she was semi-conscious or unconscious.”

Powers, who is now in private practice, further stated in the motion that “the State expects to present (the second woman’s) case for indictment to the grand jury for the charge of rape as well as potential additional charges...”

The case never went to the grand jury.

Powers concluded in the motion by stating that the DA’s office” expects to file additional notices of other acts evidence involving different alleged victims.”

When police searched the bar owner’s 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, a credit card that would not be able to be traced back to Ippisch, several sex toys and "lots of bondage equipment, including restraints on the bed,” along with several boxes of Plan B, an after-morning birth control pill, a box of letters from girls, several pill bottles, “lots of U.S. currency,” and a portable refractometer, which is an instrument used for measuring concentrations of aqueous solutions.

In February 2021, Powers' successor, ADA Robert Schollmeyer. filed a supplemental notice of the prosecution's intent to have a second woman testify that Ippisch sexually assaulted her.

The woman, identified as H.B. would testify the 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., but this case also was never presented to the grand jury.

Then last July, Schollmeyer filed notice of intent to present a third 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.”

This incident was documented in an interview with a detective, the motion states.

While awaiting trial, Ippisch is free on a $50,000 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 needed to meet with his attorneys.

A trial date has yet to be scheduled, and no further pretrial proceedings are currently docketed at the courthouse.

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