Chief of 3D gun blueprint manufacturer accused in sexual assault of teen
A minor told forensic investigators in Texas that she was paid to have sex with Cody Wilson, the former law student who in June reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice to publish blueprints used to make 3D-printed guns.
Wilson traveled to Taipei, Taiwan, after a friend of the minor told him she spoke with police, KVUE-TV reports. Wilson missed a scheduled flight back to Austin, Texas, according to the station, and U.S. Marshals released a wanted poster for him on Wednesday.
Wilson is company chief of Defense Distributed. The State Department warned him in 2013 that he could go to jail for violating federal export controls after he published blueprints for a 3D pistol called “The Liberator.” In its 2015 lawsuit, Defense Distributed claimed that the State Department violated the company’s First Amendment rights by trying to control its online speech under a federal law controlling exports of military articles.
In August, a federal judge in Seattle found that Wilson’s presumed First Amendment interests in publishing online blueprints for the guns are “dwarfed by the irreparable harms” likely to be suffered by the states if federal restrictions on the blueprints are lifted. Despite the order, Wilson said he was selling blueprints on a flash drive to customers in the U.S.
On Wednesday, Wilson was charged with sexual assault of a child, Gizmodo reports. Travis County Magistrate Judge Tamara Needles set a $150,000 bond for Wilson, and required he surrender his passport, Ars Technica reports. The article notes that according to the U.S. State Department website, there’s no extradition treaty in force between Taiwan and the United States.
Wilson and the 16-year-old girl allegedly met on a dating website. At a press conference, Austin police said that there was no way Wilson could have believed she was an adult. It was also noted that under Texas’ sexual assault law, a victim younger than 17 is considered a child, according to Ars Technica.
Police claim that video footage corroborates the girl’s account. Her counselor reported the alleged incident to police, and her parents gave them consent to search their daughter’s cellphone, where they found numerous messages and links from the dating site.
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