Legislator arrested after wild rant, altercation at Wellsville school

Rep. Mark Samsel, a substitute teacher and high school sports official as well as an attorney, was arrested after students shared recordings of a rant where he claimed God spoke to him and threatened to "put the wrath of God" on students. The battery charge stemmed from a report that Samsel grabbed a male student and hit a student in the groin.

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State News

May 3, 2021 - 9:25 AM

Rep. Mark Samsel, R-Wellsville, was arrested on a charge of misdemeanor battery following an incident while serving as a substitute teacher in the Wellsville district. Photo by (Pool photo by Evert Nelson/Topeka Capital-Journal)

TOPEKA — Rep. Mark Samsel was arrested on a charge of misdemeanor battery for a physical altercation with a Wellsville student while engaging in bizarre classroom rants about the wrath of God, masturbation and sex, and teen suicide, officials said Friday.

The Wellsville Police Department and Franklin County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation after receiving a report of Samsel’s alleged conduct Wednesday from school district administrators. Samsel, a Republican from Wellsville and an attorney who works as a high school sports official in the region, was arrested Thursday and released on bond.

“Student safety has and always will be our first priority,” said Wellsville superintendent Ryan Bradbury. “At this time, we are prevented from commenting further on this situation.”

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