Chess teacher accused of fondling two young students begins retrial

DELAWARE OH (WCMH)–A Delaware County chess teacher is being retried for allegedly fondling two of his former students.

After a 4-day trial in February, a jury could not come to a decision about F. Leon Wilson’s case.

Parents of a then 4-year-old chess student testified Tuesday morning, and told a new set of jurors about Wilson allegedly touching their daughter’s private area during a chess class.

Wilson is accused of inappropriate contact with a 4-year-old and a 7-year-old student from different schools back in April of last year. He is charged with 3 felony counts of gross sexual imposition.

One mother told jurors her daughter said Wilson touched her during class telling her it was “to make her feel good.” She told her father and mother, and they called the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office.

One new detail emerged when defense attorney Brad Koffel said DNA evidence from an unknown male was found on the school clothing of the 4-year-old after being examined by investigators.  But Koffel said Wilson’s DNA was not found on the clothing or girl.

”There was an unknown profile that was sufficient for me to compare too, but that was the only place that specific profile was detected,” said forensic scientist Hallie Garofalo with the Ohio Crime Lab.

She said the child’s clothing was bagged together with other family members clothing in a laundry basket, not an ideal way to run a test because of cohabitation of samples. Wilson’s attorney said the DNA samples excluded Wilson.

“This jury should expect to see skin cells on that clothing?” Brad Koffel said.

“I cannot testify to that,” Garofolo responded.

Delaware County Assistant Prosecution Doug Dumolt said the DNA evidenc  was inconclusive.

“Just because Wilson’s DNA was not on the sample does not mean he didn’t touch it?” he asked.

“I can’t say,” said Garofolo.

Testifying before Garofolo, Dr. Jonathan Thackeray with Nationwide Children’s Hospital Child Advocacy Center spoke about physical exams the two young girls went through after the allegations. He said he found no evidence of physical abuse on the girls, but stated 90 percent of the child abuse cases do not show that type of evidence.

“Her diagnosis of sexual abuse is based on her statements,” said Dr. Thackeray.

On Wednesday, jurors will hear from the parents of the 7-year-old who also accused Wilson of inappropriate contact.

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