AUSTIN — Cody Wilson, the owner of the controversial Austin-based 3D printed gun company Defense Distributed, has been released from custody under sexual assault charges after someone else posted his bond, the Harris County Sheriff's Office said Sunday.
Wilson is charged with felony sexual assault after investigators with Austin police said he paid a 16-year-old girl for sex.
His bond is currently set for $150,000 and he has agreed to personally hire an attorney. The Harris County Sheriff's Office released his mugshot Monday.
They believe he recently fled to Taiwan after he was tipped off about the warrant by a friend of the victim.
While there, police said Wilson missed a scheduled flight back to the U.S.
"We know Mr. Wilson frequently travels for business. We don't know why he went to Taiwan, but we do know before he left, he was informed by a friend of the victim that she had spoken to police and police were investigating him for having sex with a minor," said Commander Troy Officer.
On Friday, he was escorted through the airport to board a flight back to Houston, Texas.
During a forensic interview with the Center with Child Protection on Aug. 27, the sexual assault victim told counselors she met Wilson through the website, SugarDaddyMeet.com. Court documents show Wilson used the profile, "Sanjuro," and told the victim that he was a "big deal." During the conversation, he also identified himself as "Cody Wilson." Police said the two exchanged cell phone numbers and continued their conversations using the Apple iMessage service on her phone.
The victim told police that on Aug. 15, she and Wilson met in person in the parking lot of Bennu Coffee on 515 South Congress Ave. Court documents show Wilson showed up in a black Ford Edge four-door sports utility vehicle with a license plate that matches one registered to Wilson's business, Defense Distributed. Court documents show there was surveillance video of this meeting.
The victim then told police that Wilson took her to the Archer Hotel at 3121 Palm Way. Surveillance cameras captured the two using the valet service, in the lobby and in the elevator. According to retired Travis County Judge Charlie Baird, the website "SugarDaddyMeet.com" should not face any charges or be held liable in this case. In his mind, they did their due diligence to make sure she was 18. In that case, the liability would be on Wilson.
"Everything in a situation like this falls upon the individual who is attempting to have sex with a minor and that individual suffers very serious consequences," said Baird.
KVUE asked APD if there was any evidence that the 16-year-old girl was a part of any human trafficking and they said they believe the girl acted alone in signing up.
"It's human trafficking if force, fraud or coercion are used. It's also trafficking if a person under 17 years of age is harbored, transported or provided to another," APD said.
Wilson's attorney, Samy Khalil, released the following statement Sunday night:
“We are glad that Cody is back in Texas again where we can work with him on his case. That’s our focus right now, representing our client and preparing his defense.”
Defense Distributed sells blueprints for producing plastic firearms using 3D printers.
Wilson said at a press conference in August that, despite a federal judge's order to block access to the files on the company's website, he is selling the gun blueprints by emailing them and by mailing them on USB drives. Wilson said this is a secure way of communication that was not included in the judge's order.