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.”
Remember the story of Mark Samsel, Kansas Republican lawmaker and teacher that ranted about God and assaulted a student, kicking him in the nuts?
These are the videos from kids in the classroom that day. *graphic content* pic.twitter.com/Bc1u0hgXtr
— 🇺🇸Sir Anthony, Lord of Sarcasm (🔥Hot Medic🚑) (@anthonycwalker) May 3, 2021
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.”
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