Kansas lawmaker agrees to counseling to avoid battery charge

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 21-year-old Kansas legislator has agreed to undergo mental health counseling and a domestic violence assessment to avoid being prosecuted on a misdemeanor domestic battery charge over a fight with his younger brother.

Freshman Democratic Rep. Aaron Coleman, of Kansas City, also agreed in Johnson County to submit to drug or alcohol testing if officials ask him to do so. Coleman signed the diversion agreement with the district attorney’s office last week, and it was filed in district court Monday.

Coleman has been embroiled in controversy since running for the Kansas House in 2020 and acknowledging past abuses against girls and young women that led a legislative committee to reprimand him in writing. Besides the Johnson County charge, he also faced two traffic charges in neighboring Douglas County, though online court records said that case was resolved last month.

He must run for reelection this year to keep his seat and already faces an opponent in the Aug. 2 primary in his heavily Democratic district.

The domestic battery charge stems from an Oct. 30 incident. Coleman was accused in court documents of pushing, hitting and spitting on his 18-year-old brother in a fight over the brother’s baptism.

The agreement lasts a year and requires Coleman to undergo mental health counseling throughout that period. He also must undergo a domestic violence assessment within a month and, if directed to undergo anger management counseling, complete that within six months. He must pay $294.50 in fees and court costs.

Coleman’s attorney did not return a telephone message Thursday seeking comment, and Coleman did not immediately respond to a text message.

In Douglas County, Coleman was charged with speeding on Interstate 70 and failing to yield to an emergency vehicle after he was arrested Nov. 27 in Lawrence. Court records show he pleaded no contest Feb. 18 to the failure to yield charge and the speeding charge was dismissed. The records did not detail his penalty.

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Follow John Hanna on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apjdhanna

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