Samsel ordered to undergo mental health exam

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A Franklin County magistrate judge on Tuesday ordered Republican state Rep. Mark Samsel to undergo a mental health evaluation as part of his bond conditions.

Magistrate Kevin Kimball ordered the second-term lawmaker from Wellsville to receive the evaluation within 21 days at the Elizabeth Layton Center, which provides behavioral health services in Franklin and Miami counties.

Franklin County Attorney Brandon Jones asked for the examination as part of the bond requirements for Samsel, who is facing three counts of misdemeanor battery involving two students while he was substituting at Wellsville High School last month.

Samsel also had to agree to waive privacy requirements so that the results of the examination will be provided to the court.

The results of the exam will go to the court first and it will decide whether to the distribute the results to the parties in the case.

Samsel, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, also is barred from having any contact with the alleged victims, possessing a firearm or consuming and possessing alcohol or illegal drugs.

A status conference on the case is now set for July 12.

Samsel is facing three Class B misdemeanors stemming from an outburst in an arts class at Wellsville High on April 28.

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 two 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.

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.”