Criminal case leads Kansas lawmaker to step aside for week

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 21-year-old Kansas lawmaker charged with domestic battery over a disturbance involving his brother said Thursday that he’s stepping away from his legislative duties for a week.

Freshman Democratic state Rep. Aaron Coleman of Kansas City tweeted that he’s taking a “leave of absence” following a Johnson County district judge’s order Monday that he undergo a mental health evaluation. Coleman said he’s required “to admit myself to a mental health facility.”

Coleman didn’t immediately respond to text, email and cellphone messages seeking further details. His tweet described the prosecution of him as “Frivolous” and an attorney entered a not-guilty plea for him Monday.

A House committee reprimanded him in February over allegations of abusing girls and young women before taking office. Coleman had acknowledged some of the behavior on social media and said he’d been a troubled teenager.

He also was banned last month from the Kansas Department of Labor’s offices over allegations of disruptive behavior. Coleman said he was trying to help constituents.

The misdemeanor battery charge against Coleman stems from an incident Saturday night at his grandfather’s home. His grandmother has said that the dispute with his brother was over “religious beliefs” and Coleman also accused his brother of stealing his phone.

Some House Democrats, including their leader, have called on Coleman to resign.


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