No decision about retrial made in Columbus chess teacher case


Delaware County prosecutors say they had not decided Monday whether to refile charges in the case of a former Columbus chess teacher that resulted in a mistrial last week.

After a 3½-day trial, the case of F. Leon Wilson, 62, of 2785 Castlewood Road, Columbus, went to a jury on Feb. 26 and, after the jury deliberated for two days, the jury told Delaware County Common Pleas Judge Everett Krueger that it could not reach verdict. Krueger declared a mistrial and dismissed the jury on Feb. 29.

Wilson has been accused of inappropriately touching two young female students in 2015.

Officials from the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office said Monday that a decision has not yet been made on whether there will be a retrial. Prosecutors 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. Krueger allowed Wilson to be released from his GPS monitor after a motion was filed by Wilson’s attorney, Bradley Koffel.

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 after they were dismissed.

The trial began on Feb. 23. The key pieces of evidence against Wilson were interviews done with the alleged victims at the Child Advocacy Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

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 told specialists at Nationwide that he also put his hand on her buttocks during a chess lesson.

Koffel said these interviews are unreliable and brought in a psychologist from California to testify on the reliability of interviewing children in cases like Wilson’s.

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 included six men and six women.

Ex-teacher could be tried again

By Glenn Battishill

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

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