Cropped publicity image from organizers of ‘GoTopless’ event
Child abuse complaints have been filed against the city of Asheville, N.C., and its police department following a “rally” last weekend that promoted “equal rights” for women and encouraged them to take off their shirts.
But while the state allows that level of nudity under some circumstances, it forbids it in front of children, and there were children at the rally, critics have documented.
In fact, one of the men who brought the concerns forward explained a family had noticed their daughter’s 15-year-old friend participating in the demonstration of toplessness in a video posted online.
One complaint went to Grayson Kelley, North Carolina’s chief deputy attorney general, explaining that the city of Asheville and the Asheville City Police Department are “conspiring to not enforce NC statutes on child abuse, public decency, and exhibiting harmful performances to minors – conspiring with event organizers and others in the sexual abuse of minors in our community – and failing to implement city ordinances governing outdoor events on public property.”
There was no response to WND inquiries to the mayor’s office and the city police department regarding the issue. To local media, police officials had insisted that they weren’t doing anything wrong.
However, the complaint to the state, as well as additional child abuse complaints to Mandy Stone of the Buncombe County Department of Social Services, said the city supported an event by GoTopless.org on public property last weekend but failed to enforce state law.
The partly nude performances by women and girls who participated “were in violation of NC General Statutes 14-190.131&6, 14-190-15(b)&(c)3, 14-190.15, and 14-190-9(b).”
“Those activities included a striptease on the city fountain involving the explicit display of breasts and nipples in a sexually suggestive manner in a public space with children present,” the complaint to the state explains.
“Event organizers allowed underage teens to directly participate in the event – including displaying their breasts to public and peer review,” it continues. “Children were in broad attendance at the event and directly observed festive, suggestive, and indiscrete sexual behavior by the adult participants.”
The complaint noted that the local newspaper restricted the images it posted of the event to eliminate the explicit nature of the performances. Also, videos posted in YouTube were restricted from general viewing for the same reason. Some of the newspaper’s images, however, documented that children were present.
One of the videos posted online shows women dancing around on a city fountain while removing their tops then handing out brochures apparently promoting toplessness to gawkers.
The complaints were filed by Carl Mumpower, a clinical psychologist who legally is obligated to notify authorities of suspected child abuse, as well as a local conservative activist, Chad Nesbitt.
Nesbit told WND that a protest is scheduled Sunday at 2 p.m. at the same location on city property to draw attention to the city’s alleged failure to protect children from abuse on its public streets.
He noted that while the city did not officially issue a permit for the event, officials knew of the plans and did nothing to deter them.
He said a number of local pastors and community leaders are scheduled to speak at the rally.
Mumpower and Nesbitt, in their complaint to social services, said the nude performances violated more than one provision of the law, including the display of material harmful to minors as well as the display of uncovered human female breasts.
“We, the undersigned, are hereby providing a formal child abuse complaint against the following party(s) for active participation in a child abuse event. We are reporting to you per the guidelines provided in the [state law],” said the complaint.
The complaint cites the GoTopless.org organization and its website; the Asheville Citizen-Times “for actively promoting an event abusive to minors”; the city of Asheville “for having direct prior knowledge of the event, not requiring a permit and failing to intervene in a non-permitted event that resulted in abuse to minors”; the Ashville police department for “selective enforcement of NC General Statutes result in abuse to minors”; and the parents who brought their children to the event.
The GoTopless website promotes “Equal Topless Rights for All” and “Free Your Breasts, Free Your Mind.”
WND cannot link to the website or its images or videos because of their explicit nature.
A GoTopless spokeswoman explained on its website that it’s a U.S. organization “who is standing for the rights of women to go top-free … because it is our constitutional right.”
The organization said such events were held on GoTopless Day last Sunday in Austin, Texas; Asheville; Chicago; Chico, Calif.; Honolulu; Los Angeles; Manchester, N.H.; Miami Beach; New York City; Portland; San Francisco and Washington.
Various college towns also hold periodic “bike naked” events, and the states vary on what is allowed. Some allow partial nudity such as being topless under some circumstances. Virtually all disallow sexually suggestive activities, such as dancing in public while nude or partly nude.
A local television report from WLOS quoted an attorney saying the law is clear about revealing dress – or lack thereof – while children are present, and it is an issue that will have to be addressed.
A year ago, when women took off their tops and marched down Portland, Maine, streets to protest the inequality, they ended up being upset by the attention they drew.
“I’m amazed and enraged (at) the fact that there’s a wall of men watching,” said one protester. “A lot of people were taking pictures without even asking.”