A former chess instructor accused of inappropriately touching his students is asking a Delaware County judge to take action that could result in two trials for the accused.
Freddy Leon Wilson, 62, of 2785 Castlewood Road, Columbus, was in Delaware County Common Pleas Court Monday afternoon for a hearing after his attorney, Diane M. Menashe, filed a motion asking Judge Everett Krueger to sever the first two counts of Wilson’s grand-jury indictment from the third charge — meaning that Wilson could have two trials.
Krueger had not made a decision on the matter Wednesday afternoon.
Wilson, who taught at Prep Academy Schools’ Polaris Campus, currently faces three counts of gross sexual imposition, which are third-degree felonies, and is scheduled for a jury trial on Oct. 6. Prosecutors say Wilson touched two students inappropriately during lessons.
Wilson was originally indicted on just two counts of gross sexual imposition on April 29. At that time, the indictment listed a single accuser, identified in the indictment as Jane Doe. Wilson was re-indicted on July 17 and the third gross sexual imposition charge was added after prosecutors said another student — listed as Mary Doe in the indictment — came forward.
The charges related to Jane Doe are alleged to have occurred in Delaware County. The charge involving Mary Doe is alleged to have occurred in Franklin County.
In her court motion, Menashe argued that the two alleged victims should get separate trials because Wilson would suffer “undue prejudice” if the cases remain merged.
Menashe said Wilson would not be treated fairly if he wants to testify in his own defense. “In a joint trial, defendant’s right to a fair trial and right to remain silent as to each set of counts would be jeopardized and unconstitutionally burdened if defendant elects to testify in defense of one discrete offense but exercise the right to remain silent with respect to [the other offenses],” the court document states.
If Wilson has a consolidated trial, the prosecution would be able to use evidence that would not be permitted in separate trials, Menashe said. The cases have different sets of evidence and witnesses, and it would be confusing for a jury, which could lead them to a conviction based on “weak evidence,” she said.
Assistant prosecuting attorney Douglas Dumolt argued that it makes sense to try both cases at the same time because it establishes a common scheme and plan.
Kyle Rohrer, a first county assistant prosecuting attorney, told Krueger in August that the original charges were based on statements taken from a 4-year-old student. Rohrer said the girl told investigators that Wilson touched her clothed private areas on two occasions. The second accuser made similar statements.
Wilson is still scheduled for trial on Oct. 6.
Court documents say Wilson is currently out of jail on bond while he awaits his trial.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.