Kansas Rep. Mark Samsel, accused of kicking a boy in the testicles while substitute teaching, pleaded guilty Monday to 3 charges of disorderly conduct under a deal with a local prosecutor. Samsel will be placed on a year’s probation, apologize in writing to his victims, seek mental health treatment, and avoid personal social media use. The case stems from complaints made by 2 students after Samsel, licensed as a substitute teacher, took on a high school art class in April. Video shot by students showed Samsel lecturing the the class, aged 15 to 16, about suicide, God, and sex. According to a deputy’s affidavit, one student told the sheriff that Samsel manhandled and kicked him.
Samsel told the deputy he merely “demonstrated a kick” for the boy. In a Facebook post last month, he blamed the incident on “an isolated episode of mania with psychotic features,” citing “extreme stress, pressure and isolation.” He said he’s pursuing treatment, and has given up his teaching license. “I just want to say I’m sorry for what happened,” Samsel said in a hearing over Zoom. “I never intended to hurt anybody.” Mary Woods, the aunt to a student in class with Samsel that day, told The Kansas City Star he deserved jail time. “I don’t think that’s enough,” she said of the sentence. “He laid his hands on a kid… He traumatized a lot of these kids. I think it’s bullshit, to say so myself.”