When it comes to the Republican party, conservative views and outrageous headline-making skills are all you need to get on a ballot. Earlier this year, Kansas state Rep. Mark Samsel was responsible for one of their best (or worst) headlines yet, after he allegedly kneed a student in the groin and asked students about their sex lives, masturbation habits and more in numerous videos.
On Monday, Samsel pleaded guilty to three counts of disorderly conduct and was placed on a year’s probation under a deal with the local prosecutor, according to ABC News.
Republican Rep. Mark Samsel also agreed not to use social media for personal purposes or have any contact with the high school student who said he was kicked and another another student who complained of an interaction with Samsel. The lawmaker also agreed to write letters of apology to both students.
Samsel had faced three misdemeanor criminal charges of battery following what the local prosecutor described as “rude, insulting or angry” interactions with two students, ages 15 or 16, during an April 28 art class at the high school in his hometown of Wellsville, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) southwest of Kansas City. One student told a sheriff’s deputy that Samsel had manhandled him and kicked him, according to an affidavit from the deputy.
The lawmaker said in a Facebook post last month that “extreme” stress caused him to have “an isolated episode of mania with psychotic features” in a classroom. He disclosed that he was undergoing mental health treatment and surrendered his state substitute teacher’s license.
“I just want to say I’m sorry for what happened,” Samsel said during a 12-minute district-court hearing. “I never intended to hurt anybody.”
Samsel was a substitute teacher in the Wellsville School District at the time of the incidents and surrendered his teaching license last month.
ABC notes that Samsel has said he suffers from mental health issues, which he says influenced his behavior in the videos taken by students on April 28. The videos show Samsel talking about suicide, God and sex. He says he didn’t really kick the child in the video, only demonstrated a kick towards him.
According to NBC affiliate KSNT, the court had previously ordered a mental health evaluation which Samsel had not completed during his first two court appearances, KSNT notes. Samsel must still complete the court-ordered evaluation.
Franklin County Magistrate Judge Kevin Kimball sentenced Samsel to serve 90 days in jail but suspended that sentence in favor of the 12-month probation. He also ordered Samsel to pay $263 for the cost of his arrest and court case, KSNT reports.