3D-printed gun designer Cody Wilson is wanted on charge of sexually assaulting an underage girl

Police say Wilson left the country before he could be interviewed. His last known location is Taipei, Taiwan.

Cody Wilson, gun maker and founder of Defense Distributed, a Texas-based company developing and publishing open source gun designs for 3D printing and manufacture, in his office on August 1, 2018. Wilson has been charged with sexual assault.
Cody Wilson, gun maker and founder of Defense Distributed, a Texas-based company developing and publishing open source gun designs for 3D printing and manufacture, in his office on August 1, 2018. Wilson has been charged with sexual assault.  Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Cody Wilson, an Austin man who gained national attention for his push to make blueprints for 3D-printed guns publicly available on the internet, has been charged with sexually assaulting an underage girl, according to an arrest affidavit filed Wednesday in Travis County District Court.

The affidavit said Wilson, 30, had sex with a girl under the age of 17 on Aug. 15 at the Archer Hotel in Austin and paid her $500. Commander Troy Officer of the Austin Police Department's Organized Crime Unit confirmed at a Wednesday afternoon press conference that the girl was 16. Wilson is not currently in custody, and his last known location is Taipei, Taiwan. The girl told her story to a counselor on Aug. 22, and the counselor called the Austin Police Department.

The girl told authorities she created an account on SugarDaddyMeet.com and began talking to a man who used the screen name “Sanjuro,” the affidavit said. The two exchanged cell phone numbers and began texting and exchanging explicit photos, the affidavit said.

“Sanjuro” eventually identified himself to the girl as “Cody Wilson” and told her he was a “big deal,” according to the affidavit. Police compared Wilson’s driver’s license photo with the profile image for “Sanjuro” and found a match.

The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Surveillance video footage obtained by police showed the two meeting in the parking lot of a South Austin coffee shop on Aug. 15. The affidavit said police obtained surveillance footage and receipts showing that Wilson drove the girl to the Archer Hotel in a black Ford Edge, valet parked the car, then took her to a room on the seventh floor. The girl told police that after they had sex, Wilson gave her five $100 bills. The affidavit said Wilson then dropped her off at a nearby fast food restaurant.

Officer said Wilson left the United States before police could schedule an interview with him and then missed a scheduled flight back to the country. Authorities are working with national and international law enforcement agencies to bring him into custody.

Officer also said Wilson had been informed by a friend of the victim before he left the country that the victim had spoken to police. Sexual assault is a second-degree felony that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Wilson is the founder and director of Defense Distributed, a nonprofit that publishes open-source gun designs. He made national headlines last month when he announced plans to publish gun blueprints on Defense Distributed’s website.

Attorneys general from 19 states filed a lawsuit to block that from happening, saying 3D-printed guns are dangerous because they are hard to detect. A federal judge blocked Wilson from publishing the blueprints online. Wilson later announced that instead of publishing the blueprints online, he will mail them to customers using flash drives.