'American Ninja Warrior' Star Drew Drechsel Charged With Child Sex Crimes
By Liz Calvario
David Becker/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
American Ninja Warrior season 11 champion Andrew "Drew" Drechsel was arrested and charged with seeking sex with a minor and inducing her to send him sexually explicit images, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced in a press release Tuesday.
The 31-year-old is charged with "with manufacture of child pornography, enticement of a minor to travel for illicit sexual conduct, travel with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, and use of interstate commerce to entice a minor," per the release shared by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey.
A criminal complaint was filed on July 31, which claims that Drechsel allegedly traveled to New Jersey and sought to have sex with a female minor. It also claims that he "enticed and coerced a minor to travel to Connecticut to engage in illicit sexual conduct and engaged in online sexual communications with a minor and induced her to manufacture sexually explicit images of herself and send them to Drechsel."
He is accused of having a sexual relationship that began in 2015 with a then-15-year-old girl, whom he allegedly began texting about traveling from her New Jersey home to his Connecticut gym. Per the complaint, the teen allegedly met Drechsel at his gym and had sex. The complaint states that the girl told her mother about the alleged incident the following day, and her mother confronted Drechsel.
The docs state that the teen's mother told Cherry Hill Police Department detectives "that Drechsel did not deny the sexual activity, but rather stated he did not know her age at the time."
The teen claims that she had multiple encounters with Drechsel when she was 15 to 17 years old. Per the docs, the young woman and Drechsel allegedly continued to spend time together over the course of a couple years and met "multiple times" for sex, as well as engaged in Skype sessions.
Following the charges, Drechsel's lawyer, Frank J. Riccio II, issued a statement on Twitter, writing in part, "Mr. Drechsel is presumed innocent of the charges and that presumption will remain throughout the pendency of his case. He intends on entering a 'not guilty' plea."
"We are shocked and disturbed to learn about the charges alleged against Drew Drechsel. American Ninja Warrior is a family show that has inspired countless people, and we will not let the actions of one contestant tarnish the hard work and amazing stories of so many," the statement reads. "Moving forward, the American Ninja Warrior brand will sever all ties with Mr. Drechsel, including his appearance on future seasons of the show."