After a naked child was apparently allowed to participate alongside nude adults in a so-called “body positivity” bike ride around Madison’s Capitol Square on Saturday, a member of the Dane County Board of Supervisors is calling for a police investigation.
About 150 adult bicyclists, most of whom were reportedly totally naked except for shoes and helmets, paraded around downtown Madison last weekend. Their route included State Street, a popular pedestrian road that connects to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. But it also included a couple of loops around Capitol Square, where every Saturday during the summer, locals, including families and young children, gather for the busy farmer’s market.
Unsuspecting little market-goers weren’t the only kids affected by the ride, however: Eye-witnesses immediately began reporting seeing a naked child participating in the event.
“Genuine question here (at risk of being accused of parent shaming, I have genuine confusion). Are children allowed to participate??” a Redditor asked on the Madison subreddit. “My friend said they think they saw a child participating and that was… surprising to hear.”
“Yeah I saw a naked kid near the front of the group when they were biking around the square, probably under 10 years old,” replied another. “That was weird. I assume one or both of her parents were also participating.”
While self-styled Madison progressives cheer the annual ride as “really liberating,” claiming “Nobody’s looking” at other people’s bodies and, “We’re just getting together and having fun” (something most people can do without stripping), the ride raises serious concerns over child exploitation and indecent exposure — especially when kids aren’t just observers but participants.
On Thursday, Dane County Supervisor Jeff Weigand announced that he had filed a complaint with Madison Police and emailed Sheriff Kalvin Barrett to investigate the child’s participation.
“A concerned Dane County citizen sent me an e-mail and photograph alleging that a child was allowed to participate in Madison’s Naked Bike Ride. The photograph provided shows what appears to be a child, surrounded by naked adults riding bicycles around the Wisconsin Capital,” Weigand wrote in a press release. “Our law enforcement officers need to investigate this matter and enforce our laws. If a child was allowed to participate in this naked bike ride, any and all adults who supported and condoned this need to be arrested immediately.”
Weigand directed The Federalist to multiple relevant state statutes, which he said show Saturday’s events were clearly “illegal.” These include 948.05, which deals with “Sexual exploitation of a child;” 948.055, which deals with “Causing a child to view or listen to sexual activity;” 948.10, which covers “Exposing genitals, pubic area, or intimate parts;” and 948.11, which prohibits “Exposing a child to harmful material or harmful descriptions or narrations” — all of which can constitute a felony.
The Federalist reached out to the Sheriff’s Department to ask if Barrett intends to launch an investigation and was directed to the voicemail of an employee with more knowledge of the matter but did not hear back by press time.
This isn’t the only recent controversy surrounding sex-related child victimization in Dane County, home to the capital city of Madison.
The naked bike ride came just one day after the Dane County Board of Supervisors voted 25-1 to pass a resolution declaring the county a “sanctuary” for people who self-identify as transgender or nonbinary.
Weigand, who maintained the resolution did not protect children, was the only “no” vote. Three other members abstained.
Supervisor Patrick Downing said the resolution “appears to condone allowing children to make life-altering irreversible decisions” and asked the board to send it back to committee. However, Downing’s motion failed when only he and Weigand voted in support.
In March, the Sun Prairie Area School District allegedly allowed a man — an 18-year-old male who identified as transgender — to shower in front of four freshman girls. The man reportedly “undressed fully and showered completely naked right next to one of the girls,” and while he faced the wall at first, he “eventually turned and fully exposed his male genitalia to the four girls.”
When the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed an open-records request for relevant communications to get to the bottom of the alleged incident, the school district refused transparency by charging $11,000 for the records.
“This is yet another example of why Dane County is not a safe place for Children. Wisconsin Statutes are clear that this type of activity is illegal,” Weigand told The Federalist following the naked bike ride. “Our law enforcement officers need to step up and enforce our laws to protect our children. Any and all adults who willingly participat[e] in these illegal activities need to be arrested immediately.”