A former Delaware County chess teacher accused of inappropriately touching students may take the stand in his own defense today, along with an expert witness in psychology from California.
The trial for Freddy Leon Wilson, 62, of 2785 Castlewood Road, Columbus, will continue in Delaware County Common Pleas Court today with testimony from Laura Brodie, a forensic psychologist from California, and potentially testimony from Wilson himself.
During his opening statements, Wilson’s attorney, Bradley Koffel, said an expert witness from Los Angeles would be coming to speak to the jury about interviewing children in abuse cases like this. It was said Tuesday that Wilson may also testify in his defense or he may exercise his Fifth Amendment right and not take the stand.
Wilson is facing three counts of gross sexual imposition, which are third-degree felonies. Prosecutors said that Wilson inappropriately touched two of his chess students in 2015. The crimes are alleged to have occurred at Prep Academy in Polaris and Maryland Elementary School in Bexley.
Detective Jason Campbell, an investigator at the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, said Wednesday that he arrested Wilson when Wilson returned from a chess tournament in Greece on April 23, 2015. Koffel asked Campbell if he interviewed Wilson first to determine if he was guilty and Campbell said he took him into custody as soon as possible to prevent Wilson from abusing any other kids or fleeing the country.
The father and mother of Wilson’s alleged second victim testified Wednesday that their 7-year-old daughter had been one of Wilson’s best students and was captain of the chess team. The parents said their daughter received chess lessons after school at Maryland Elementary School on Tuesdays.
The parents said they were preparing for bed one day in late April 2015 when they received a message from a relative informing them that Wilson had been arrested and charged for allegedly touching students.
The parents contacted police the next day and were instructed to take their daughter to be interviewed by a specialist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
The interview was played in its entirety for the jury Wednesday.
During the interview, the girl tells the specialist that, after one chess class, Wilson asked her if it would be OK if he “rubbed” her on her vagina and the girl said OK.
“It was comfortable so I let him keep doing it while we did [chess exercises],” the girl said on the recording.
During the interview, the girl also said that despite being told she did nothing wrong by her parents, she still feels responsible for Wilson’s arrest.
“I feel like it was my fault because I said it was OK,” she said.
After the father of the alleged second victim testified, an alternate juror passed a note to Common Pleas Judge Everett Krueger that said that she worked with the father.
She told the judge she didn’t recognize the man’s name when it was mentioned earlier in the trial but immediately recognized him as a coworker when he took the stand. The judge asked if she would be comfortable continuing to serve as a juror and she asked to be excused.
Krueger then excused her for the remainder of the trial. Krueger told the remaining jurors what had happened but said the trial would continue because they still have one alternate juror left.
The jury is comprised of six men and six women.
Wilson is represented in this case by Koffel and Eric Willison, criminal defense attorneys from Columbus.
The case is expected to go to the jury today.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.