Cody Rutledge Wilson, the 30-year-old Texas man who’s been fighting with the U.S. government to publish instructions for 3D-printed guns on the internet, was charged today with the sexual assault of a child. Wilson allegedly met the girl on a website called SugarDaddyMeet.com.
Wilson allegedly paid the girl, whose name has been withheld in court documents, $500 for sex at a hotel in Austin, Texas. The exact age of the victim is not immediately clear, though the affidavit for the arrest warrant explains that she’s under the age of 17.
As local news station KVUE notes, Wilson allegedly used the name “Sanjuro” on SugarDaddyMeet.com and told the child victim that he was a “big deal,” according to court documents. The girl allegedly met Wilson at Bennu Coffee on 515 South Congress Ave. in Austin where he arrived in a black Ford SUV that matched a license plate registered under his firearms business, Defense Distributed. The police apparently have video of the meeting.
Wilson allegedly took the girl to Archer Hotel in Austin where surveillance video reportedly also captured images of the two together. Wilson has not yet been booked into jail, according to the Austin Statesman, and it’s not even clear if he’s been arrested yet.
Cody Wilson made national headlines recently when he became the loudest voice defending 3D-printed guns. Defense Distributed sells 3D printers that can manufacture guns for $2,000. Federal courts have blocked Wilson from publishing the plans for guns, but he began emailing the plans to people who ordered them in August. Wilson just seemed happy to define how the issue was being talked about.
“It seems like I’ve crystallized the terms of the debate according to how I wanted it,” Wilson told the New York Times over the summer. “The argument that I’m making, although not always very well, is that what I’m doing is actually a pretty mainline American idea.”
Wilson was named one of “The 15 Most Dangerous People in the World” in 2012 by Wired, though at the time the publication was only referring to his association with guns.
Update, 5:50pm: According to Ars Technica, Wilson is in Taipei, Taiwan and didn’t get on a return flight to the United States after getting a tip off that he’s wanted for these charges.
At the press conference, [the Austin Police Department] shared a few more details on the situation not previously included in the court documents. The alleged victim is 16 years old and lives in Central Texas. Regarding her entry on SugarDaddyMeet, Cmdr. Officer said authorities have no reason to believe that “anyone other than the victim” signed up for the site.
“The charge is sexual assault, and the statute says a victim under 17 is considered a child,” Cmdr. Officer said. “My detectives have interviewed and spoken with this victim, and in their opinion if someone mistakes their age, it’d be because she’s younger not older.”
Cmdr. Officer added that the allegations against Wilson would constitute a second degree felony, which is punishable by up to 20 years and a $10,000 fine.
The judge in the case set a bond at $150,000 despite the fact that Wilson still hasn’t been arrested. If he returns to the United States he’ll have to surrender his passport.
Update, September 20, 2018: U.S. Marshals have released a wanted poster for Wilson, who’s believed to still be on the run in Taiwan.
Wilson was staying at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Taipei on September 6th and checked out on the 7th, according to the UDN news site. Taiwanese authorities are now in contact with their U.S. counterparts but Wilson’s exact whereabouts are unknown.
Correction: This article originally stated that Cody Wilson was 31 years old. He’s 30. Gizmodo regrets the error.