A former Columbus teacher accused of touching two of his students inappropriately has a new attorney.
Freddy Leon Wilson, 62, of 2785 Castlewood Road, Columbus, fired his previous attorney the day his trial was set to begin in Delaware County Common Pleas Court earlier this month.
Prosecutors say Wilson, a former chess instructor at the Prep Academy School’s Polaris campus, touched two students inappropriately during lessons.
Wilson was in court Monday for a status conference to ensure that he had retained a new attorney. Court documents indicate that Wilson has retained Bradley Koffel, a criminal defense attorney from The Koffel Law Firm in Columbus.
Koffel joined the case on Oct. 23 and has filed motions to obtain discovery in the case, as well as a bill of particulars from prosecutors, detailing exactly the crimes Wilson is accused of.
Koffel is scheduled to defend Wilson at a trial on Jan. 5.
Wilson has pleaded not guilty to the three counts of gross sexual imposition, which are third-degree felonies. The charges carry a school-zone specification that would add two years of prison on each charge to a prison sentence, if Wilson is convicted.
Prosecutors allege Wilson touched two students under the age of 10 during chess lessons. The offenses are alleged to have occurred in both Delaware and Franklin counties.
Wilson was set to stand trial on Oct. 6 but agreed to change his plea the week before. However, at the change-of-plea hearing, Wilson told Judge Everett Krueger that he never wanted to take the deal and had “lost total confidence” in his then-attorney, Diane Menashe.
Menashe told Krueger the details of the rejected plea deal, which involved Wilson pleading guilty to three counts of attempted gross sexual imposition. Assistant prosecuting attorney Douglas Dumolt said the deal would remove the legal requirement of prison time but said the prosecutor’s office would still recommend prison.
Menashe said Wilson had asked her to work out a deal in which both the defense and the prosecution would jointly recommend probation instead of prison time. Menashe said Wilson’s request was unrealistic and the deal she worked out with Dumolt was the best arrangement possible.
Krueger said it was clear that scheduling a change of plea and then firing Menashe on the day his trial was set to begin was a deliberate move to allow Wilson to postpone the trial after Krueger denied a motion to continue it in September.
Krueger said Wilson had left the court no choice but to continue the trial.
Dumolt said prosecutors may be taking Wilson’s case to a Delaware County grand jury again to pursue a rape charge. One of the victims later said she was penetrated by Wilson, Dumolt said.