A Columbus man accused of sexually assaulting employees of a Powell business he used to own will change his plea at a hearing in Delaware County Common Pleas Court this week.

Danny Kitsos, 53, of 1941 Rockdale Drive, Columbus, the previous owner and operator of Rita’s Ice, an establishment in Powell, was scheduled to stand trial on Aug. 30 on a number of felony charges. But on Aug. 18, Delaware County Common Pleas Court Judge Everett Krueger filed a judgment entry scheduling a change of plea hearing for Aug. 24 at 1:30 p.m.

Kitsos is charged with rape, a first-degree felony; unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a third-degree felony; three counts of sexual battery, third-degree felonies; two counts of compelling prostitution, third-degree felonies; and five charges of selling, purchasing, distributing or delivering dangerous drugs, fourth-degree felonies.

He is also charged with five counts of underage-persons offenses, which are first-degree misdemeanors. The indictment states that these charges are for providing alcohol to underage persons.

Kitsos was in the Delaware County Jail Sunday after he was unable to post his $120,000 bail.

At Kitsos’ arraignment, prosecutors said the trial would have likely lasted three days.

County prosecutors allege that between Sept. 1, 2012, and Oct. 31, 2015, Kitsos sexually abused five female employees.

Prosecutors said the investigation began when one victim told her parents about the abuse and her parents contacted Powell police.

Matt Simon, the current owner of Rita’s Ice, said in March that Kitsos had signed over the business earlier that month and has nothing to do with it now. Simon said Rita’s Ice is still open and under his ownership now. Rita’s Ice, which sells frozen custard and Italian ice, has four franchises in central Ohio.

The first victim, listed as Jane Doe 1 in the indictment, was reportedly older than 13 but younger than 16 at the time the alleged rape and unlawful sexual conduct occurred. Prosecutors said the other victims in the case were 16 or 17 years old when the crimes occurred.

Prosecutors said Kitsos would provide the employees with drugs or alcohol and have sex with them. The indictment states Kitsos paid two of his employees to have sex with him.

A warrant was issued for Kitsos’ arrest after he was indicted March 24. Prosecutors said that Kitsos turned himself in that afternoon.


By Glenn Battishill

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Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.