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Kansas lawmaker faces 3 battery charges over school incident

Rep Samsel Pic.jpg
Posted at 11:21 AM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-17 14:40:52-04

TOPEKA, Kan. — A Kansas House member was charged Monday with three counts of misdemeanor battery over his behavior toward students while working as a substitute teacher.

The charges against Republican state Rep. Mark Samsel, of Wellsville, arose from a student reporting an April 28 incident involving Samsel. He was arrested the next day and released on $1,000 bond. His first appearance in Franklin County District Court by video conference is scheduled for 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Franklin County Attorney Brandon Jones declined to comment after filing the charges. Samsel did not immediately return telephone and email messages seeking comment.

Kansas law says battery is either causing bodily harm to another person or physical contact with someone else "in a rude, insulting or angry manner," and is punished by up to six months in jail.

One video provided by a parent of Wellsville students from that day, which the parent said was shot by students, showed grabbing a boy, pushing him against a wall and telling him, "I could put the wrath of God on you right now," before the boy breaks free and runs away, yelling.

Other videos showed Samsel talking about suicide, sex, masturbation, God and the Bible.

"We are concerned by these new charges. The safety of our school children is one of our highest priorities. The judicial process must now be allowed to work to determine what happened here and if necessary, what penalties should be assessed," Kansas House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr. said in a statement.

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