The second trial for a former Columbus chess teacher accused of inappropriately touching students during lessons is underway in Delaware County Common Pleas Court after a jury was selected Monday afternoon.
Jury selection in the second trial for F. Leon Wilson, of 2785 Castlewood Road, Columbus, began at 8:30 a.m. Monday and lasted most of Monday after visiting Judge Roger B. Wilson allowed both prosecutors and defense attorneys to brief the jury pool about the case. Jury selection took all of Monday and Judge Wilson said witness testimony would begin Tuesday morning.
Judge Wilson is a retired judge from Champaign County and is filling in for Judge Everett Krueger this week.
F. Leon Wilson is is a former chess teacher accused of gross sexual imposition during chess lessons in 2015. He faces three counts of gross sexual imposition, which are fourth-degree felonies.
F. Leon Wilson stood trial in February and, after 3½ days of testimony and two days of deliberating, the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict. Krueger declared a mistrial and dismissed the jury.
Prosecutors announced their intention on March 9 to retry the case after consulting with the families of the alleged victims, then 4-year-old and 7-year-old girls.
F. Leon Wilson is represented by Columbus attorneys Bradley Koffel and Eric Willison.
He is accused of touching a 4-year-old and a 7-year-old during chess lessons in 2015. He was indicted on two of the charges in April 2015 and was indicted again in July on the third charge after the 7-year-old and her family came forward to talk to authorities.
F. Leon Wilson has denied the allegations.
In the February trial, witnesses for the prosecution included the 7-year-old alleged victim, her parents, the parents of the 4-year-old alleged victim, the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office detective who handled the case, and forensic interviewers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital who interviewed the two alleged victims.
Koffel has said the evidence in the case is circumstantial and relies entirely on the testimony of the two children. The defense’s witnesses at the original trial included a psychologist from California who specializes in child psychology and testified about the reliability of child testimony. Wilson also testified in his defense.
The case is being prosecuted by assistant prosecutors Douglas Dumolt and Mark Sleeper.
F. Leon Wilson is out of jail on bond.