The second jury trial for a former Columbus chess teacher accused of inappropriately touching students will begin this morning in Delaware County Common Pleas Court.
The trial for F. Leon Wilson, 62, of 2785 Castlewood Road, Columbus, will begin with jury selection at 8:30 a.m. before Delaware County Common Pleas Judge Everett Krueger. Wilson 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.
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 to retry the case on March 9 after consulting with the families of the alleged victims, then 4-year-old and 7-year-old girls.
Wilson is represented by Columbus attorney Bradley Koffel.
Wilson 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.
Wilson has said the offenses “never happened” and said he was disappointed in the jury’s lack of a verdict.
Koffel said the evidence in the case is circumstantial and relies entirely on the testimony of the two children.
The case will be prosecuted by assistant prosecutors Douglas Dumolt and Mark Sleeper.
The two girls were interviewed by forensic specialists at the Child Advocacy Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital after they told their parents that Wilson touched their vaginas over their clothes during lessons. The 4-year-old also told the forensic interviewer at Nationwide that Wilson also touched her buttocks.
Videos of their interviews at Nationwide were shown during the trial. The parents of the two girls also testified for the prosecution at the trial, along with staff from Nationwide.
Wilson testified in his own defense. Also testifying as part of the defense was Dr. Laura Brodie, an expert in child psychology from California. Brodie discussed forensic interviews and their merits and problems after the reviewing the interview footage of the victims.
Wilson is out of jail on bond.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.