After Sexual Assault Charge, 3D-Printed Gun Activist Resigns From Company

by | September 26, 2018

By Andrea Zelinski

Cody Wilson, the activist who captured national attention by distributing blueprints of guns that can be made at home with a 3-D printer, has stepped down from the company he founded after his arrest on charges he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl.

The company, Defense Distributed, will instead be run by new director Paloma Heindorff, who was introduced at a Tuesday morning news conference.

Heindorff told reporters that Wilson will not be involved with the company, but said Defense Distributed remains committed to selling blueprints for the do-it-yourself guns over the Internet.

Wilson, 30, was arrested on the sex charge at a restaurant in Taipei City late Friday, according to Taiwanese media, and was released on bail of $150,000 from the Harris County jail on Sunday. He was not present at Tuesday's news conference.

He is charged with having sex with a 16-year-old girl he met on SugarDaddyMeet.com. They had sex at an Austin hotel in August, according to an arrest report. Wilson allegedly paid her $500 at the hotel before dropping her off at a Whataburger restaurant. The two also traded nude pictures of themselves, the report says.

The girl told a counselor about the sexual encounter, sparking an investigation by police.

A friend of the 16-year-old girl reportedly tipped off Wilson about the investigation. Wilson then traveled to Taiwan where Taiwanese authorities apprehended him before sending him back to the U.S.

Wilson catapulted into the national spotlight in 2013 when he made the first fully 3D-printed gun and posted the blueprints online, downloadable for free. The guns have no serial numbers and can evade some metal detectors.

Nineteen state attorneys general have filed suit to stop Wilson from freely distributing the plans, and a federal judge ultimately barred Wilson from doing so. In late August, he announced he would still sell the plans directly online, and buyers could name their price.

On Tuesday, Heindorff said the company has received 3,000 orders for the blueprints so far. About 1,500 of those orders have been filled, she said.

The company has raised about $400,000 from supporters to fuel its fight in court. Heindorff said none of those funds will go to Wilson's legal defense in the sex assault case.

(c)2018 the Houston Chronicle