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3D gun blueprint maker Cody Wilson flees US over child sexual assault charges, reports say

Cody Wilson shows the first completely 3D-printed handgun, The Liberator, at his home in Austin, Texas on Friday May 10, 2013. (Jay Janner/Austin American-State/TNS)
September 20, 2018

Cody Wilson, the man behind the 3D gun blueprints, is facing criminal charges of sexual assault and is allegedly on the lam in Taiwan after reportedly fleeing the U.S.

Reports revealed an affidavit for an arrest warrant filed Wednesday with the Travis County, Texas district court, which outlined the charges of sexual assault of a minor against Wilson, KVUE News reported. The Austin Police Department (APD) confirmed the charges in a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

“Today, Mr. Wilson is not in custody,” said Commander Troy Officer with APD’s Organized Crime Unit. “His last known location by the Austin Police Department was Taipei, Taiwan. We also know that Mr. Wilson missed a scheduled flight back to the United States.”

Taiwan officials confirmed Thursday that Wilson is in the country and they are actively searching for him.

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The National Immigration Agency and Criminal Investigation Bureau said Wilson had arrived in the country earlier this month, the Associated Press reported Thursday. Kan Yen-min, the division’s director, said they are awaiting further intelligence from the U.S., but will be pursuing Wilson and additional information on the case.

APD said Wilson was tipped off by a friend of the alleged victim, which possibly prompted him to leave the country, although he is known to frequently travel for business purposes.

“A warrant has been issued and Mr. Wilson’s name entered into the national law enforcement computer for sexual assault of a child. We’re also working with national and international law enforcement partners to locate him and bring him to justice,” Troy said.

Late Wednesday evening, the U.S. Marshals released a wanted poster for Wilson.

The court document alleges that Wilson met a 16-year-old girl on a website, SugarDaddyMeet.com, where he communicated under the username “Sanjuro.” He later provided his name to the girl and called himself a “big deal.” They communicated on the website, then to Apple iMessage after exchanging phone numbers, the document alleges.

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The two met at an Austin coffee shop on Aug. 15, where video recorded the encounter, including Wilson’s black SUV registered to his business, Defense Distributed. Wilson left with the girl and arrived at Archer Hotel where they were spotted again on surveillance video, the court document says.

It was there Wilson allegedly paid the girl $500 for a sexual encounter.

An anonymous counselor reached out to the Austin Police Department on Aug. 22, to report that their client, the alleged victim, had informed them of the incident. This prompted an investigation, including a forensic interview with the girl on Aug. 27, during which she told counselors at the Center with Child Protection about her encounter with Wilson.

Travis County Magistrate Judge Tamara Needles set Wilson’s bond at $150,000, Ars Technica reported.

Upon arrest, Wilson will be required to surrender his passport. Law enforcement has been instructed to take photos of Wilson’s “upper legs” in order for the victim to identify him by an alleged “uniquely identifiable skin condition,” court documents said.

APD said the incident is still under investigation, and additional charges could be filed at a later time if evidence determines that course of action.

Wilson has been the subject of headlines for months since a July settlement with the State Department ended a multi-year legal battle, ultimately permitting him to publish his 3D-printed gun blueprints online.

In 2012, Wilson published the blueprints online, and they were downloaded more than 100,000 times, but the State Department forced Wilson to unpublish the blueprints or face significant fines, causing him to sue over free speech infringement.

Since the announcement, anti-gun groups have scrambled to block the blueprints’ publication again, as a judge blocked them soon after the State Department settlement and banned them, citing danger to the public.

Social media platforms have followed suit in cracking down on content that promotes guns, from banning links to websites that host the blueprints, to YouTube even banning Wilson’s videos that linked to his website.

Wilson’s arrest warrant lists sexual assault as a second-degree felony, which comes with a potential sentence of “two to twenty years in a state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000,” according to Texas law.