A Kansas lawmaker who was arrested for allegedly beating a high school student while he was an educational substitute said the meeting was “planned.”
State Representative Mark Samsel was sentenced Thursday on misdemeanor charges involving a student, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
Students began recording Samsel’s behavior on Wednesday while he worked as a substitute teacher in Wellsville, about 45 miles southwest of Kansas City.
In videos and audio recordings of the incident reviewed by the Kansas City Star, he is heard speaking to students at Wellsville High School about suicide, religion, sex and masturbation.
Details of the incident that led to the arrest remain sparse “due to privacy laws,” Wellsville Superintendent Ryan Bradbury said in a letter sent to parents on Thursday, adding that the school was thoroughly investigating what had happened.
Samsel “got his hands” on a student, parents told The Star, and allegedly “knelt at the crotch.” The representative of the Republican state then allegedly questioned the student to be on the verge of tears and suggested that he go see the school nurse.
But after being released on bail, the lawmaker alleges the interaction was fully planned.
“The kids and I have everything planned to SEND A MESSAGE about art, mental health, teen suicide, how we treat our educators and each other. Whose? Parents. And the grandparents. And all of Wellsville, ”he wrote on Snapchat, according to the Star.
In an interview with NBC Topeka affiliate KSNT, Samsel repeated this sentiment and wondered if he had even scared the students.
“No one has ever been in danger,” he said. “Did we make it seem like… we hurt children?” Yeah, we did.
“Altercation is a strong word, there was no altercation,” he continued.
State GOP leaders released a statement last week saying they were aware of the incident involving Semsel, a Republican who represents Kansas House District 5, which includes Wellsville.
“We are not yet aware of the details, but are collecting as much information as possible,” the Republican House leadership said in the joint statement, according to KSNT.
Semsel said he plans to quit “every day”.
“Topeka sucks,” he told KSNT of the state capital. “I did not do anything wrong.”