Kansas state Rep. Mark Samsel is seen reportedly questioning students about their sex lives, and it was caught on videotape.
One videotape shows the Republican state congressman throwing someone against a wall while serving as a substitute teacher and threatening, “I could put wrath of god on you right now.”
Another, according to the Kansas City Star, shows the moments after the lawmaker kneed a student in the groin on Wednesday. According to the Star, Samsel stands over the boy and says, “Did it hurt?” — then inquires as to why he’s going to weep, enlisting the help of a classmate: “Do you want to check his nuts for him, please?”
“Class, you have permission to kick him in the balls,” Samsel says on video, according to the newspaper.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said Samsel, 36, was arrested Thursday on misdemeanor assault charges after school officials in Wellsville, Kan., confirmed an alleged “incident” between him and a classmate.
Parents and community activists voiced concern and anger that Samsel was meeting with young people and representing them in the state House when these recordings spread and hit the headlines.
“What the hell is going on with the #KSLeg this session?” tweeted Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Quinton Lucas (D). “He shouldn’t just be terminated from substituting. He should be blocked from being around all kids.”
Heather Davis, whose son attends Wellsville Elementary School, said she is “terrified” to ask her child if he has had contact with Samsel, despite the fact that parents believe the incident on Wednesday involves high school art students.
“I don’t find it acceptable at all,” she said of the behavior she saw on video.
In a local TV interview, Samsel maintained that there was “no altercation,” even though one or two students “perceived it as one.” According to KSNT, the senator, who has served the 5th State House District since 2019, said the entire thing was “planned.”
“Nobody was ever in danger,” he told the station. “Did we make it look like we were in anger, or outrageous or hurting kids? Yeah, we did.”
Below Kansas state Rep. Mark Samsel interview with KSNT News uploaded on Youtube Apr 30, 2021 – Video 1 of 4
Responding to The Washington Post via text message, Samsel said it is “disgusting, and false to suggest that I would EVER do anything to hurt or make a kid uncomfortable.” He dismissed the reporting as “intentionally one-sided” and “99% hogwash” but did not elaborate on what he found so objectionable.
According to his website, Samsel is a lawyer who grew up in Wellsville. He told The Washington Post that he was a “helper” in the school system, even at the primary school, and that he referees sports in addition to being a substitute teacher.
Below Kansas state Rep. Mark Samsel interview with KSNT News uploaded on Youtube Apr 30, 2021 – Video 2 of 4
His website outlines his policy goals, which include everything from “our conservative Kansas values” to tax cuts to mental-health care services.
A bill to raise the felony penalty for stalking a minor and another to establish a Kansas youth advisory council are among Samsel’s latest backed legislation.
He was part of a select group of lawmakers who voted against a measure that would lift Kansas’ prohibition of partners from sexual battery legislation earlier this year.
Below Kansas state Rep. Mark Samsel interview with KSNT News uploaded on Youtube Apr 30, 2021 – Video 3 of 4
“I dread going to work at the [Kansas Capitol] every single day,” he told The Washington Post on Saturday.
After his arrest last week, Samsel was immediately released on $1,000 bail, according to authorities. According to Franklin County Attorney Brandon Jones, he has not yet been criminally charged but will appear in district court later this month. Jones said Saturday evening that the sheriff’s office is still following up on leads and that no update from law enforcement has been obtained.
The Wellsville Police Department said it couldn’t share an incident report right away, and the county sheriff didn’t respond to further questions about the incident on Saturday.
Below Kansas state Rep. Mark Samsel interview with KSNT News uploaded on Youtube Apr 30, 2021 – Video 4 of 4
Superintendent Ryan Bradbury of the Wellsville Unified School District did not name Samsel, but said a student confirmed “an incident involving a substitute teacher to our staff” on Wednesday. The instructor “will not be returning,” according to Bradbury, who said that a “investigation began immediately.”
Bradbury told The Washington Post that he couldn’t comment further because of privacy rules and a pending investigation, and that he couldn’t specify if the teacher had ever been the subject of any questions. He said he couldn’t get information about Samsel’s time as a substitute teacher in Wellsville until Monday.
“Student safety remains the highest priority in our district,” he said.
The Wellsville Post received several short videos from Wellsville families purporting to demonstrate Samsel’s classroom actions.
“Make babies! In one short shot, he enthusiastically says, “Who likes makin’ babies?” as a girl films her reaction. “I literally hate it here” and “mark is being so gross” are captioned on the video, which seems to have been uploaded to Snapchat. The speakers are off camera.
“You haven’t masturbated?” the male voice asks, and the girl’s eyes widen. “Don’t answer that question,” he quickly adds.
“I’m not going to answer that question … ” someone answers.
“Thank you,” the man responds. “I told you not to. … God already knows it.”
In video from Wednesday, Samsel seemed fixated on one male pupil, trailing and catching him on video and telling him, “You’re about to anger me and get the wrath of God.” According to the Star, he pushes the student, who flees.
“You should run and scream,” Samsel is said to have said, amid laughter, that the Devil is fleeing his classroom.
A video viewed by The Washington Post shows a man throwing another male against the wall in a room strewn with backpacks while speaking about the “wrath of God.” The person screams and flees.
Another footage captured by the Star allegedly shows Samsel asking students about a sophomore who attempted suicide because he has two female parents.
“He’s a foster kid,” Samsel said. “His alternatives in life were having no parents or foster care parents who are gay. How do you think I’m going to feel if he commits suicide? Awful.”
According to the Star, which shared some of the recordings, Samsel frequently references suicide and religion in class. According to the Star, he questions a student about “listening to the devil’s music” and encourages people to “speak the Lord’s name proudly.”
According to the newspaper, the congressman can also be seen asking students to go outside and race while holding hands.
“Do you think we want to do this?” Samsel reportedly said. “No, we had a lesson to do. Is it kind of funny?
Yeah.”For a look at the student videos, please watch here.
GOP leaders in the House said they are “gathering as much information as [they] can,” the Associated Press reported.