Teen in Gun-Firing Drone Controversy Faces Child Porn Charges | NECN
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Teen in Gun-Firing Drone Controversy Faces Child Porn Charges

The Clinton teen who garnered national media attention after posting a YouTube video of a drone firing a gun last year has been arrested on child pornography and attempted sexual assault charges after a search of his phone following an altercation with police, police said. (Published Thursday, June 30, 2016)

The Clinton teen who garnered national media attention after posting a YouTube video of a drone firing a gun has been arrested on child pornography and attempted sexual assault charges after his phone was searched following an altercation with police, authorities said. 

Charges against Austin Haughwout, 19, include enticing a minor with a computer, fourth-degree attempt of sexual assault, risk of injury to children/impairing morals and possession of child pornography. 

Haughwout made headlines when he built a drone with a semi-automatic gun attached and posted a video of it on YouTube with the title "flying gun." The video showed a gun affixed to a drone discharging several times while hovering several feet off the ground in a wooded area.

The teen's father said his son, an engineering student at Central Connecticut State University, custom-built the drone device with a gun that Haughwout owns.

The FAA immediately launched an investigation, but at the time the device didn't appear to break any laws. However, the video sparked a national debate about the weaponziation of drones. 

Earlier this year, lawmakers explored the possibility of outlawing the practice and Haughwout testified against the proposal.

"This is a bill giving a solution to a problem that simply doesn’t exist. It’s in search of a problem," he told lawmakers. "The mere weaponization of any aircraft on its own doesn’t cause any problems. It’s the person’s use of it."

In 2015, following the gun-drone video, Haughwout was arrested in July for allegedly attacking an officer

Police approached the CCSU student when he was parked outside a library because he was wanted in connection with a suspicious motor vehicle incident.

When the officer confronted Haughwout, the teen challenged the officer's authority to detain him. When the officer called for back up, Haughwout drove away and wouldn't pull over for pursuing officers.

Haughwout recorded the altercation with officers, which prompted a search of the phone's contents, according to police. That's when they found the contents that led to the recent arrest. 

Police said they discovered messages in which Haughwout corresponded with a minor  and requested to meet to perform a sex act. Authorities said they don’t believe Haughwout and the minor actually met. 

"It appears that he was attempting to have a relationship that we don’t believe occurred.  There were images of children in obscene acts found on his phone," Sgt. Jeremiah Dunn, of the Clinton Police Department, said. "The mere possession of the images constitutes a crime under child pornography laws in the state of Connecticut."

Police arrested Haugwout at Middletown Court on Wednesday, where he reported to appear for an unrelated case.

His bond was set at $35,000. He was ordered not to contact the teen or use the Internet or any electronic device.

NBC Connecticut has reached out the Haugwout and his family. 

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