A former Columbus chess teacher was sentenced to more than eight years in prison Friday afternoon in Delaware County Common Pleas Court after being found guilty in June of two counts of gross sexual imposition.
F. Leon Wilson, 62, of 2785 Castlewood Road, Columbus, appeared Friday for a sentencing hearing before visiting Judge Roger B. Wilson, a retired judge from Champaign County who is no relation to the defendant, to be sentenced for two counts of gross sexual imposition, which are fourth-degree felonies. The charges also carry school-zone specifications.
Prosecutors said Leon Wilson touched two students, a 4-year-old and a 7-year-old, during chess lessons in 2015 at The Prep Academy campus in Polaris and Maryland Elementary School in Bexley. He was indicted on two of the charges in April 2015 and was indicted again in July 2015 on the third charge after the 7-year-old and her family came forward to talk to authorities.
He stood trial in February and, after the jury could not reach a verdict, a mistrial was declared. A second trial was held in June and that jury found Leon Wilson guilty of the two gross sexual imposition charges.The jury also found him not guilty of the third charge of gross sexual imposition.
Family members of the two victims told the court Friday about the effect Leon Wilson’s actions has had on their family.
The father of the 4-year-old victim told Judge Wilson that Leon Wilson was “cold and calculating” and had made him feel like a failure for not protecting his daughter.
“I hope your time in jail is difficult for you,” the man told Leon Wilson.
The girl’s mother also told the court that her daughter’s innocence had been taken away by Leon Wilson and said the family does not trust anyone around their daughter.
Leon Wilson’s attorney, Bradley Koffel, maintained his client’s innocence and said “there is a serious question mark as to if he is guilty.”
Koffel also asked Judge Wilson to sentence his client to probation. This elicited a scoff from one of the family members in attendance.
After hearing both sides of the discussion, Judge Wilson sentenced Leon Wilson to serve 54 months in prison for each of the two charges. However, he said the sentences will be served concurrently. Judge Wilson also sentenced Leon Wilson to two additional years in prison for each of the school-zone specifications. These penalties were ordered to be served consecutively.
Leon Wilson said he had retained one of his attorneys from the trial, Eric Willison, to handle his appeal.
The judge ordered that Wilson be taken into custody to immediately begin serving his sentence. He was credited nine days he spent in the Delaware County Jail at the start of the investigation.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.