Hung jury in Wilson trial


A jury could not come to a verdict Monday in the case of a Columbus chess teacher accused of inappropriately touching two students in 2015.

The jury in the case of F. Leon Wilson, 62, of 2785 Castlewood Road, Columbus, resumed deliberations Monday morning at 8:30 a.m. after they failed to reach a verdict Friday afternoon and were sent home for the weekend by Delaware County Common Pleas Judge Everett Krueger.

Just after 2:30 p.m. Monday, the jury was brought into the courtroom and told Krueger it was not possible that they could reach a verdict.

Krueger then declared a mistrial and sent the jury home.

Prosecutors said Monday afternoon a decision has not yet been made on whether there will be a retrial and said a status conference would likely be scheduled to allow both sides — prosecutors and defense attorneys — to discuss how to move forward with the case.

Wilson is still charged with three counts of gross sexual imposition, which are third-degree felonies, for allegedly touching a 4-year-old and a 7-year-old during chess lessons at Prep Academy in Polaris and Maryland Elementary in the spring of 2015.

Wilson was out on bond Monday.

After hearing the mistrial ruling, Wilson said he was “disappointed” and said the case would continue another day.

He also said the alleged offenses “never happened” and maintained his innocence.

Members of the jury declined to comment Monday afternoon.

The trial began on Feb. 23. Throughout the 3½-day trial, parents of the alleged victims testified and said the investigation began after the 4-year-old made a comment about her teacher touching her lap during class. The parents of the 7-year-old testified that they saw a news report about Wilson and contacted police.

Forensic interviewers from the Child Advocacy Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital testified about interviewing the alleged victims when they first mentioned that Wilson touched them. The interviews were shown to the jury in their entirety. During the interviews, the two young girls said Wilson put his hand on and rubbed their vaginas. The 4-year-old testified that he also put his hand on her buttocks during a lesson.

Wilson’s attorney, Bradley Koffel, said these forensic interviews are unreliable and brought in a psychologist from California to testified on the reliability of interviewing children in cases like this.

Wilson was arrested on April 23, 2015, after he returned from a chess tournament in Greece. He was indicted on April 29, 2015, on two of the gross sexual imposition charges, and was re-indicted on July 17 after the second victim came forward.

The jury was comprised of six men and six women.


By Glenn Battishill

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

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