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Kansas Lawmaker Charged With Three Counts Of Battery After Bizarre Substitute Teaching Incident

Kansas Lawmaker Charged With Three Counts Of Battery After Bizarre Substitute Teaching Incident
Kansas City Star

A Kansas House Representative from Wellsville was charged with three counts of misdemeanor battery for having physical contact in a "rude" and "insulting" manner with two minors in the classroom where he was substitute teaching.

GOP Representative Mark Samsel, 36, was substitute teaching at a secular public secondary school in the Wellsville School District when he harassed students and discussed topics like suicide, sex, masturbation, God and the Bible with the students.

Several students filmed the lawmaker's conduct in the classroom.

They later shared the footage with their parents which eventually led to the charges.

The three misdemeanor charges came after Samsel—who represents Kansas state House District 5, which includes Wellsville—was released on a $1,000 bond after being booked into the Franklin County Adult Detention Center.

He later claimed in a rambling apology video the classroom incident was staged and orchestrated by him and his students to teach a lesson to parents because it was "exactly what God planned."

According to Yahoo News, a criminal complaint filed by Franklin County Attorney Brandon Jones accused the state legislator of touching two students—identified only by their initials—"in a rude, insulting or angry manner."

The third charge alleged Samsel caused "bodily harm" to one of the students.

The complaint listed 40 potential witnesses, including at least 15 minors who were also only identified by their initials.

On Monday, Kansas state Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr.—a Kansas City-area Republican—said:

"We are concerned by these new charges."
"The safety of our school children is one of our highest priorities. The judicial process must now be allowed to work to determine what happened here and if necessary, what penalties should be assessed."

The lawmaker was banned for a year from Wellsville public school property and events for his behavior in the classroom.

If he violates the ban, Samsel would be subject to a criminal trespass complaint, according to a notification letter he received from Wellsville School District Superintendent Ryan Bradbury.

Parents were assured Samsel would not be hired to teach in the school again either.

In response, Samsel posted a picture of Bradbury's letter on Facebook and wrote:

"This looks like discrimination to me. Fortunately, I know a good lawyer."

The Kansas City Star said Samsel faces up to six months in a jail and a $1,000 fine for each of the three charges.

He was scheduled for his first appearance in district court in Franklin County by a video conference call at 8 a.m. on Wednesday.