A Columbus man pleaded guilty Wednesday to having sex with several employees while they were intoxicated at a business he used to own.
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 Wednesday, Kitsos pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and two counts of sexual battery, third-degree felonies.
As part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, one count of rape, a first-degree felony; one count of sexual battery, a third-degree felony; two counts of compelling prostitution, third-degree felonies; and five charges of selling, purchasing, distributing or delivering dangerous drugs, fourth-degree felonies, were all dismissed.
He was 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. These charges were also dismissed.
At the hearing, Kitsos confessed that between September 2015 and October 2015 he touched a girl older than 13 but younger than 16 at his business. The girl reportedly worked at the business.
Kitsos also confessed to having oral sex with two female employees while they were intoxicated on alcohol at the business. These victims were reportedly 16 or 17.
As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors and Kitsos’ attorney, Brian Jones, will jointly recommend that Kitsos be sentenced to 54 months in prison.
Delaware County Common Pleas Court Judge Everett Krueger accepted Kitsos’ plea and scheduled him for a sentencing hearing on Sept. 28 at Noon.
After a request from Jones, Krueger also reduced Kitsos’ bail from $120,000 to $60,000. Jones asked for the decrease so Kitsos could get his affairs in order before his sentencing.
Kitsos was still in the Delaware County Jail Wednesday awaiting his sentencing.
Prosecutors said at Kitsos’ arraignment that the investigation began when one victim told her parents about the abuse and her parents contacted Powell police.
A warrant was issued for his arrest after he was indicted March 24. Prosecutors said that Kitsos turned himself in that afternoon.
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.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.