A Kansas lawmaker who was accused of kicking a high school student in the groin and threatening to “unleash the wrath of God” pleaded guilty to three counts of disorderly conduct, court records show.
State Rep. Mark Samsel was sentenced to 12 months of probation and ordered by a judge not to use his personal social media accounts, a district court order in Franklin County shows.
Samsel, a Republican, was also told to write letters of apology over the incident, which occurred April 28 at Wellsville High School, about 40 miles southwest of Kansas City, and was partly captured on audio and video recordings published by the Kansas City Star.
According to an affidavit from a Wellsville police detective, Samsel, who was also a substitute teacher, spoke to a class about “the wrath of God and how rap music is wrong and kids should listen to other types of music.”
“Mark then began talking about how a Black boy he knows tried to commit suicide,” the affidavit says.
When Samsel started yelling and discussing the subject repeatedly, an unidentified student put in his earbuds, according to the affidavit.
The move led to a confrontation, with Samsel pushing the student into a wall, threatening to “unleash the wrath of God on you right now” and kicking the student in the testicles, the affidavit says.
Samsel was charged with three misdemeanor counts of battery and pleaded not guilty. He told local media at the time the incident was “planned,” and that he and the students aimed to send a message to parents and the city of Wellsville “about art, mental health, teenage suicide, how we treat our educators.”
Last month, Samsel surrendered his substitute teaching license and said “extreme” stress prompted an “isolated episode of mania with psychotic features” in the classroom.
Appearing in court via Zoom Monday, Samsel apologized, saying he never “intended for anyone to get hurt,” according to NBC affiliate KSNT.
Tim Stelloh is a reporter for NBC News based in California.