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Kansas Rep. Mark Samsel, avoiding jail, must apologize to victims and stay off Facebook

Kansas Representative Mark Samsel cannot use personal social media and must apologize to his teenage victims, a judge ordered on Monday, capping four months of court proceedings after he allegedly kicked a student in his groin while a substitute teacher in Wellsville, southwest of Kansas City.

The Republican lawmaker was given a 90-day suspended prison sentence and one-year probation by Magistrate Judge Kevin Kimball in a short Zoom hearing.

After his arrest in April, Samsel faced three counts of assault and battery, involving two victims, both around 16 years old. He was accused of kicking a student and videos showed him talking to a class about God, religion, lesbianism, masturbation and suicide.

He could face up to 6 months in prison and a fine of $ 1,000 for each charge. Instead, Kimball – following a plea deal between Samsel and prosecutors – reduced the charges of disorderly conduct. Samsel will not pay any fines but owes approximately $ 263 in legal fees and other costs.

Samsel is also prohibited from using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms for personal gain. An exception is included to allow social media for political and legislative purposes.

Samsel first pleaded not guilty to the most serious battery charges in May and was ordered to undergo a mental health assessment before agreeing to a plea deal. On Monday, he pleaded guilty to the disorderly conduct charges.

“Your Honor, I just want to say I’m sorry for what happened. I never intended to hurt anyone, ”Samsel said.

Due to technical difficulties, Samsel used his phone’s camera to join the hearing. For much of the audience, the camera was pointed at her hair and forehead, with much of her face not being shown.

Samsel, who has to write letters of apology to his victims, at one point asked the judge how to send a letter to one of the victims, given that he doesn’t know who that person is and that he is. forbidden to contact this person. Attorney General Brandon Jones said he would work with Samsel’s attorney to send the letter.

In the days immediately following the incident, Samsel adopted a defiant stance, claiming that he “hadn’t done anything wrong” but also writing that he was “so sorry that it caused pain and confusion “.

But in a Facebook post last month, Samsel announced that he had sought mental health treatment and surrendered his license as a substitute teacher. He called the classroom incident an “isolated episode of mania with psychotic features” caused by “extreme stress, pressure and agitation”.

As part of his sentence, Samsel must follow mental health treatment recommendations and take all prescribed medications. The court also has the power to order mental health assessments.

After his arrest, Samsel was banned from Wellsville School District property and events and lost his seat on the board of trustees of Missouri Valley College, his alma mater. He graduated from Marshall’s Private Liberal Arts College in 2007 with a degree in business administration and political science.

In an interview with investigators shortly after the incident, Samsel described a chaotic classroom with misbehaving students and said he started to lose his temper a bit, according to an affidavit used to charge him in Franklin County District Court. The students were running out of breath, he told the officers.

Samsel said he “barely grabbed” a student and told the student to give him space and said he heard the student had a bruise.

“He then said, ‘I would never do anything to hurt him, honestly to God.’ Mark thought maybe (redacted) bruises “gently”, but “God is working in mysterious ways,” the affidavit states.

Students in the class interviewed by police said they feared Samsel and feared that he would harm them.

The affidavit alleged that he kicked and injured one student and grabbed another by the shoulders.

Samsel’s victims were given the opportunity to address the court on Monday, but no one spoke.