The founder of a an alt-right crowdfunding site and a 3D-gun printing company was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a child.
Cody Wilson, 30, became a favorite in fringe circles after he started selling blueprints for 3D printed guns, and launched Hatreon, the now-defunct platform he billed as “the #1 funding platform for the Alt Right.” But Wilson also used the internet to meet an underage girl for sex, Austin, Texas police allege. Wilson is currently in Taiwan, where he skipped a return flight back to the U.S., police announced Wednesday evening.
Wilson allegedly used a sugar daddy dating site to contact the minor, whom police only describe as being younger than 17, KVUE first reported. The girl told police that Wilson, using an alias, played up his fame, telling her he was a “big deal.”
Later they allegedly started communicating via text message and he identified as Cody Wilson, the controversial gun mogul.
On August 15, Wilson met her in person, according to an arrest affidavit filed in the case. Surveillance footage shows them entering an Austin hotel, where Wilson allegedly sexually assaulted her and paid her $500.
He was charged with a second degree felony count of sexual assault in which the perpetrator “intentionally or knowingly causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of a child by any means.”
In a Wednesday afternoon press conference, police said Wilson's last known location was Taipei, Taiwan, and that they were working with international authorities to return him to the U.S. The nature of Wilson's trip to Taiwan is unknown, and he sometimes travels there for business. Austin police said they believed Wilson skipped a scheduled flight back to the U.S. after receiving a tip that he was under investigation.
Authorities said Wilson used the screen name “Sanjuro”—a name that has appeared elsewhere in cryptocurrency-loving, anarcho-capitalist circles.
In 2013, a person calling himself Kuwabatake Sanjuro began messaging tech journalists to promote “Assassination Market,” a dark web site on which users could place Bitcoin bets on when prominent politicians and economic leaders would die. The idea was that someone would kill the target, win the bet and collect the bounty. This Sanjuro told Forbes that the name originated from an assassin in a 1961 Japanese film and was an “homage to the creator of the online black market Silk Road, who called himself the Dread Pirate Roberts, as well Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto.”
It’s not clear if there’s any connection between Wilson and the now-defunct “Assassination Market,” if Wilson’s alleged sugar daddy username was inspired by the dark web site, or if it’s pure coincidence that both men used the name.
Previously, Wilson has courted headlines, portraying himself as an anti-censorship activist. He has spent years embroiled in mounting feuds with the law over the legality of his 3D-printed guns, beginning in 2013 when he uploaded blueprints for a notoriously inaccurate printable plastic gun. He pulled the designs after the State Department threatened to pursue him on gun trafficking charges. He sued the government for the right to sell the blueprints, and won his case in July 2018, although a court order still restricts the methods he can use to distribute the blueprints.
A self-identified anarcho-capitalist, Wilson has increasingly aligned politically with the far right. After the deadly white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last year, Wilson described social media companies’ anti-hate speech rules as “a form of violence more powerful than anything seen in Charlottesville, or any of the other cartoon demonstrations to come.”
When crowdfunding platforms like Patreon started banning white supremacist and violent users after the Charlottesville rally, Wilson launched Hatreon, which he explicitly marketed to the far right.
The creator of the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer received up to $8,000 per month from more than 220 donors on Hatreon, ThinkProgress reported. White nationalist Richard Spencer used the platform to raise more than $1,000 in recurring monthly pledges.
The company took a 5 percent cut of the money.
Hatreon appeared to fold in November 2017, when Visa cut off its services abruptly, although Wilson suggested he might try to reboot the platform.
“There’s a difference between being down and being out of business,” he tweeted in January.
His pending child sexual-assault case might take priority over relaunching the site.