Metro Weekly

Republican lawmaker who allegedly kicked student in balls during antigay tirade avoids jail

Republican state Rep. Mark Samsel received a suspended sentence after being accused of assaulting a child during a rant about same-sex parents

Mark Samsel, Republican, student
Republican state Rep. Mark Samsel — Photo: Franklin County Sheriff

A Kansas state lawmaker who was accused of kicking a teenage student in the testicles during an antigay tirade has escaped a prison sentence.

Republican state Rep. Mark Samsel pleaded guilty on Monday to three charges of disorderly conduct after a student claimed that Samsel manhandled and kicked him while teaching an art class at a high school in Wellsville in April.

Samsel, a licensed substitute teacher, was filmed by students ranting about masturbation, same-sex parents, lesbians, religion, and suicide.

During his rant, one of the students accused Samsel of chasing him around the classroom, grabbing him, and ultimately kicking him in the groin.

Samsel claimed at the time that he “demonstrated a kick” and “didn’t do anything wrong.” He told police that the classroom was chaotic and the students were misbehaving, which led to him losing his temper. Samsel then said he “barely grabbed” a student.

However, students told police that they feared Samsel and worried he would harm them, the Kansas City Star reports.

In video of the incident shared to social media, one of the students says they “literally hate it here” and calls Samsel “so gross.”

In a Facebook post last month, Samsel blamed the incident on an “isolated episode of mania with psychotic features” caused by “extreme stress, pressure and agitation.”

He faced three misdemeanor battery charges, each carrying a sentence of up to six months in prison, but ultimately pleaded guilty to three counts of disorderly conduct after reaching a deal with prosecutors.

Samsel received a 90-day suspended jail sentence and has been placed on probation for a year. As part of his sentence he must seek mental health treatment and apologize to his victims in writing. Samsel is also barred from using social media for personal purposes — but can still use it for political purposes.

“I just want to say I’m sorry for what happened,” Samsel said during his sentencing hearing. “I never intended to hurt anybody.”

Samsel’s attorney told the Kansas City Star that his client has no plans to resign from his seat in the state legislature, calling him “very dedicated to the community.”

One parent whose child had been taught by Samsel told the Star, “[All] I wanted was for Mark to get some help. I don’t want to see anybody go to jail. So if this does him some good and he’s doing better, I’m happy to hear that.”

However, Mary Woods, whose niece was in Samsel’s art class in April, said his punishment wasn’t “enough” and he should have received a prison sentence.

“He laid his hands on a kid,” she told the Star. “He traumatized a lot of these kids. I think it’s bullshit, to say so myself.”

Read More:

LGBTQ ally Gov. Gavin Newsom defeats recall attempt in California

Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance questions the existence of two-spirit people

French mayor attacked, stripped, and tied to tree at gay cruising spot

Leave a Comment:

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!