Cody Wilson, whose push to post blueprints for 3-D printed guns online has made him a key figure in the national gun control debate, was charged on Wednesday with sexually assaulting a child in Texas.
But law enforcement officers said they were having trouble finding Mr. Wilson, who missed a flight back to the United States from Taipei, Taiwan, his last known location. During a news conference on Wednesday, Cmdr. Troy Officer of the Austin Police Department said that a warrant had been filed for Mr. Wilson’s arrest and that local detectives were working with national and international partners to find him.
Mr. Wilson, 30, is accused of having sex with a 16-year-old girl at a hotel in Austin on Aug. 15 and paying her $500 in cash, according to an affidavit filed in Travis County. The girl told the police that she had met Mr. Wilson through the website SugarDaddyMeet.com, where he was using the screen name “Sanjuro,” the affidavit says.
Commander Officer said detectives who had interviewed the girl said that “if someone mistakes her age, it would be because they think she’s younger, not older.”
She and Mr. Wilson, who identified himself to the girl, exchanged phone numbers and then continued messaging each other, sharing at least one explicit photo apiece, according to the affidavit. During one conversation, Mr. Wilson described himself as a “big deal,” the affidavit says.
According to the affidavit, Mr. Wilson and the girl met in the parking lot of an Austin coffee shop that evening and left for the hotel in a black Ford Edge sport utility vehicle registered to Mr. Wilson’s company, Defense Distributed. The police were notified of the alleged assault after the girl told a counselor, and they confirmed the details using surveillance video and interviews.
Mr. Wilson’s national prominence grew this year when he announced plans to upload blueprints for 3-D printed guns onto Defense Distributed’s website at the beginning of August. He was blocked from doing so as a result of a lawsuit filed by attorneys general from 19 states and Washington, D.C.
Last month, a federal judge extended the restraining order barring Mr. Wilson from executing his plan at the request of the attorneys general, who have said guns made with 3-D printers are a national safety threat because they are difficult to detect and track. The case, which touches on issues of free speech, gun regulation, states’ rights and trade rules, has drawn the attention of President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, among others.
Mr. Wilson, a self-described crypto-anarchist, has said more recently that instead of posting free blueprints online, he will mail flash drives loaded with the files to buyers in exchange for whatever they want to pay.
Neither Mr. Wilson nor his lawyer in the sexual assault case responded to a request for comment. The Austin police said a friend of the victim had told Mr. Wilson before he left for Taiwan that he was under investigation.