Republican state Rep. Mark Samsel has been charged with three counts of battery in connection with an incident that occurred when he was working as a substitute teacher at Wellsville High School.
Franklin County Attorney Brandon Jones filed three counts of Class B misdemeanors against the second-term lawmaker from Wellsville almost a month after an outburst in an arts class was reported at Wellsville High.
Each charge carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
The complaint alleges that Samsel made contact with several 15- or 16-year old students in a “rude, insulting, or angry manner…”
Samsel, a lawyer, was arrested April 29 for the incident that occurred in a raucous arts class where he talked about suicide, pregnancy, masturbation, the Bible and God with the students as well as the politics of the Senate president.
Video shared on social media showed Samsel at one point hugging a student in a classroom and at another point talking about pregnancy and masturbation.
“Make babies. Who likes making babies? That feels good, doesn’t it? Procreate,” he told students at one point.
“You haven’t masturbated?” he asked. “Don’t answer that question.”
A student said he wouldn’t answer the question.
“Thank you. I told you not to,” Samsel said. “God already knows.”
In a different exchange, Samel tells a student that “you’re almight God is scary and you don’t listen to him either, do you?”
“God wants you to be glorious in his image because that’s how he created you,” Samsel tells a student
At another point, a video shows Samsel grabbing a male student, saying he would “put the wrath of God” on him.
Samsel later put his arm around the same student to let him know he was loved and cared about.
Samsel said in an earlier interview that there was never an intent to do anything confrontational, saying it was part of a plan to show support for the students.
He called the class period a “set up” to confuse the “media and every other hater that’s out there.” He described it as “theater.”
“I plotted it with those kids because they needed my help and they needed their parents and grandparents to get a grip on reality,” he said.
Samsel said there was no truth to allegations that he kicked a student in the crotch.
“I did a foot motion that made it look like I was going to kick him in the balls,” he said.
“I don’t even think I touched the kid with my foot,” he said, adding that it was part of a “show.”
Samsel on Saturday posted a letter on Facebook that he received from the Wellsville School District notifying him that he was barred from school grounds.
He is prohibited from being at the school, on school property, or attending any school-sponsored events for one year.
The letter from Wellsville Superintendent Ryan Bradbury – dated May 11 – warned Samsel that law enforcement would be notified if he violated the order.
Bradbury said law enforcement would be called and the district would file a trespass complaint against him if he appeared on school grounds.
The Wellsville Police Department and the Franklin County Police Department were copied on the letter.
In a text message Sunday morning, Samsel said he is reviewing the letter and considering the legal implications.
Samsel, a lawyer, asked whether the letter applied to state events held by the the Kansas State High Schools Activities Association.
“The letter is vague and ambiguous. And oversteps,” Samsel wrote in a text.
“Like are they trying to say I can’t even attend a KSHSAA state event if one single Wellsville kid qualifies? They need to retain a lawyer. Not just the high level stuff from KASB. They are getting bad legal advice,” he texted.