KS Rep. Mark Samsel charged with 3 counts of battery after bizarre classroom incident

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Kansas Rep. Mark Samsel is facing criminal charges for the alleged battery of two 16-year-olds last month, when a bizarre day of his substitute teaching was caught on video by high school students.

Prosecutors in Franklin County charged the Wellsville Republican on Monday with three counts of misdemeanor battery against two victims. He faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine per charge.

The charges come weeks after Samsel was arrested after substitute teaching at the high school in Wellsville, a town of roughly 2,000 residents, about 20 miles southwest of Olathe. Videos provided to The Star — by parents of students in the class — showed him lecturing students in a noisy classroom about God, lesbians, sex, masturbation and suicide.

In one video, he gave students permission to kick a fellow classmate “in the balls.” Parents of students in the class have accused Samsel of kneeing a male student in the crotch, although that was not captured on videos reviewed by The Star.

After his arrest, Samsel, 36, was released on $1,000 bond. He is scheduled to make a first appearance in Franklin County District Court on Wednesday morning.

Franklin County Attorney Brandon Jones, in a news release, declined to comment on the charges.

Since his arrest, Kansas lawmakers have expressed shock over the situation and called the allegations out of character for Samsel.

In a statement Monday Speaker of the House Ron Ryckman, an Olathe Republican, reiterated previous calls to let the legal process play out.

“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,” Ryckman said.

Over the weekend, Samsel posted on Facebook that he had been banned from all Wellsville school buildings and events for the next year.

Samsel included a photo of a letter, signed by Wellsville School District Superintendent Ryan Bradbury, which says the ban is a direct result of his behavior last month while substitute teaching.

If Samsel violates the ban, Bradbury wrote, the district will call police.

In his Facebook post Saturday, Samsel called the ban “discrimination.”

“Fortunately, I know a good lawyer,” he wrote.

Bradbury previously said that the lawmaker would no longer be allowed to work for the district. In an email Monday, he said the school board on May 10 agreed to issue the letter to Samsel, prohibiting him from being on district property.

Samsel’s attorney, Chris Scott, declined to comment on the case. Samsel, in a text message, deferred to his attorney for comment.

Videos taken by high schoolers show Samsel telling students about a teenager who was suicidal because “he has two parents and they’re both females.”

In another video, Samsel is recorded telling students off camera, “make babies. Who likes making babies? That feels good, doesn’t it? Procreate. ... You haven’t masturbated? Don’t answer that question. ... God already knows.”

A female student captured the video and added the text, “i literally hate it here. mark is being so gross.”

Videos show Samsel focusing most of his attention on one male student.

At one point, Samsel tells the student, “You’re about ready to anger me and get the wrath of God. Do you believe me when I tell you that God has been speaking to me?” He then pushes him, and the student runs to the other side of the classroom.

Parents told The Star that Samsel “put hands on the student” and allegedly kneed him in the groin. In a video apparently taken immediately after the incident, the student is shown on the ground. Samsel is standing over him, as students laugh, and says, “did it hurt?”

Samsel, an attorney, also works as a referee. During a speech on the House floor earlier this month, Samsel said he was asked to leave a middle school track meet.

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