A Kansas legislator accused of kicking a high school student in the testicles has pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and was placed on a year’s probation under a deal with local prosecutors.
Republican Representative Mark Samsel also agreed not to use social media for personal purposes or have any contact with the high school student who said he was kicked and another another student who complained of an interaction with Samsel.
The lawmaker also agreed to write letters of apology to both students.
Prosecutors described the episode as a “rude, insulting or angry” interaction with two students, during an April 28 art class at the high school in his hometown of Wellsville, about 72 kilometres southwest of Kansas City.
One student told a sheriff’s deputy that Samsel had manhandled him and kicked him, according to an affidavit from the deputy.
Both students were identified only by initials in court documents; both were born in 2005, making them 15 or 16.
The lawmaker said in a Facebook post last month that “extreme” stress caused him to have “an isolated episode of mania with psychotic features” in a classroom.
He disclosed that he was undergoing mental health treatment and surrendered his state substitute teacher’s license.
Videos shot by students on April 28 and provided by a parent showed Samsel talking about suicide, God and sex in a noisy classroom.
According to the deputy’s affidavit, Samsel said he only “demonstrated a kick” for one boy who had disrupted class but did not kick him. The deputy also wrote that Samsel said God told him to do what he did.
Samsel, a 36-year-old attorney who has served in the House since 2019, has said that he was trying to make a point about mental health issues and the need for people to be kinder to one another.
“I just want to say I’m sorry for what happened,” Samsel said during an 12-minute district court hearing. “I never intended to hurt anybody.”
During a Zoom hearing, Franklin County Magistrate Judge Kevin Kimball sentenced Samsel to serve a total of 90 days in jail on the three disorderly conduct charges but suspended that sentence in favour of probation.
He also ordered Samsel to pay $US263 ($A357) in costs associated with his arrest and court case.
“I’m glad to see Rep Samsel taking responsibility for his actions and getting the help he needs,” Kansas House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr said in an email to The Associated Press.