3-D Gun Maker Wanted for Sexual Assault Skips Flight Back to U.S.

3-D Gun Maker Wanted for Sexual Assault Skips Flight Back to U.S.
Cody Wilson, with Defense Distributed, holds a 3D-printed gun called the Liberator at his shop Aug. 1, 2018, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Texas authorities are working with international partners to try to bring back to the United States a 3-D gun maker who is now charged with sexual assault of a minor.

In 2013, University of Texas law student Cody Wilson posted digital blueprints for a 3-D printable handgun; Wilson’s nonprofit, Defense Distributed, has since expanded its range of offerings. The State Department entered a legal battle with Wilson after ordering him to take down the blueprints, arguing that they were essentially a violation of arms export statutes since they were available for download overseas.

In June, the Trump State Department settled with Wilson and agreed to suspend relevant International Trafficking in Arms Regulations provisions, clearing the way for the gun blueprints to be publicly released Aug. 1. That has since ended up in court, though Wilson offered his gun plans for sale at the end of August.

“All this Parkland stuff, the students, all these dreams of ‘common sense gun reforms’? No. The internet will serve guns, the gun is downloadable.” Wilson told Wired in July. “No amount of petitions or die-ins or anything else can change that.”

An affidavit filed in Travis County, Texas, District Court on Wednesday states that on Aug. 22 a counselor called Austin Police to report that a client described as a “juvenile female under the age of seventeen” had sex with a 30-year-old male a week before, for which he paid her $500.

The two met on and exchanged phone numbers. In messages the man identified himself as Cody Wilson and described himself as “a big deal.” Police said he sent the girl photos of his penis and she sent him a nude selfie.

Police said the vehicle that met the victim, captured on a coffee shop’s surveillance footage, matched a vehicle registered to Defense Distributed. The girl’s story of being taken to the Archer Hotel corroborated with valet receipts and surveillance footage.

The affidavit states that Wilson was registered in the hotel that night, and hotel surveillance footage showed him and the girl exiting an elevator and walking toward a room. The two later left together and he dropped the girl off in a Whataburger parking lot, police say.

The affidavit asks for a search warrant authorizing the search of Wilson’s body to obtain photographic evidence of a “uniquely identifiable skin condition” cited by the victim.

Austin police said Wednesday that Wilson flew to Taiwan after being tipped off that police were investigating him and that he missed his return flight from Taipei.

The U.S. Marshals Service has issued a wanted poster for Wilson, asking anyone with information to contact the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force at (512) 800-4213.