A Delaware County judge has blocked a move by a former chess instructor accused of inappropriately touching his students.
Freddy Leon Wilson, 62, of 2785 Castlewood Road, Columbus, had asked Delaware County Common Pleas Judge Everett Krueger to legally separate allegations from two girls — meaning that Wilson could have faced trial twice.
However, Krueger has denied the request.
Wilson was in court Monday afternoon for a hearing after his attorney, Diane M. Menashe, filed a motion asking Krueger to sever the first two counts of Wilson’s grand-jury indictment from the third charge.
In her court motion, Menashe argued that the two alleged victims should be heard in separate trials because Wilson would suffer “undue prejudice” if the cases remain merged.
In 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. 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.
Krueger said in his decision Thursday that the jury will not have difficulty distinguishing between the two incidents because they are similar in nature but different in circumstances.
Krueger elaborated that the original victim, identified as Jane Doe in the indictment, told prosecutors that during class, with other students around, her teacher put his hand in her lap and said he was touching her vaginal area inside her skirt but on top of her tights and underwear.
Krueger said that the second case, involving a victim listed as Mary Doe in the indictment, alleges that Wilson asked the girl if he could touch her vaginal area and she said yes. This reportedly took place in a darkened classroom with no other students around.
Krueger said the differences are distinct and won’t confuse a jury but said they have a similar pattern, which would establish a common plan, evidence of the intent, motive and opportunity to commit the offenses.
Wilson was originally indicted on just two counts of gross sexual imposition on April 29 for the charges relating to Jane Doe but was re-indicted on July 17 and the third gross sexual imposition charge was added after Mary Doe 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.
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.