A Columbus City Schools principal who last year applied to be the district’s next superintendent is charged with soliciting sex after he answered a Backpage.com ad for what turned out to be a city police undercover vice detective.

Leon Leavell, 43, was arrested on the soliciting charge March 24 at the Hilton Columbus at Easton hotel. Leavell entered a not-guilty plea at a hearing April 9 in Franklin County Municipal Court.

Leavell is the prinicipal for Arts IMPACT Middle School, an arts-focused middle school on the Fort Hayes campus north of Downtown. The school has more than 500 students. He applied for the superintendent opening but was not selected as a finalist during the school board’s initial search process that was abandoned over allegations of violations of Ohio’s Sunshine Laws.

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