Waunakee teen charged with sexual assault in UW-Madison slap incident

MADISON, Wis. — An 18-year-old was charged Thursday with sexual assault for allegedly slapping a woman while on part of the UW-Madison campus last month.

Police first started searching for 18-year-old Ethan Peltier on Sept. 7 after a woman reported being slapped on her buttocks by a male riding a motorized scooter on the Lakeshore Path. The teen has since been charged with one count of fourth-degree sexual assault.

According to the criminal complaint filed against Peltier, the victim and a friend she was walking with at the time of the assault both pointed at Peltier when shown a series of potential suspect photos captured by surveillance cameras.

UW-Madison police later put out a request for help with identifying Peltier and subsequently received multiple tips from the public, including a call from a Waunakee police officer who was able to identify Peltier because of previous interactions with the 18-year-old.

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Police arrested Peltier just two days after asking for the public’s help with identifying him.

During an interview with the 18-year-old, Peltier confirmed he was riding his motorized scooter on Lakeshore Path the day of the incident. When a detective told Peltier he had hit the woman hard enough to leave a red mark, Peltier reportedly said, “I don’t recall that, I don’t hit women.”