Is ‘American Ninja Warrior’ champ Drew Drechsel a child pornographer?
Drew Drechsel is one of only three people to have ever completed all four stages of American Ninja Warrior. The show became popular for its difficult obstacle courses, which were challenging even for some of the most competitive athletes. Because of how demanding the show can be, anyone who receives the title of American Ninja Warrior is bound to gain notoriety.
After his victory, Drechsel continued his career in the show by becoming a coach in Celebrity Ninja Warrior, and a mentor in American Ninja Warrior Junior. More recently, Drescher gained attention from the media for his charges on engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor.
Drechsel made his first court appearance this week, but there’s no verdict yet. However, the Department of Justice released the criminal complaint, along with a summary this Tuesday. Drechsel was arrested last week in his Florida house.
Last week, a complaint was filed against Drechsel in which his victim explains she started being abused by the American Ninja Warrior champ in 2015. In the complaint, the victim details how Drechsel, who was twenty-six at the time, maintained a sexual relationship with the victim, who was fifteen years old.
The two met the year before the sexual encounters started (2014), during an American Ninja Warrior event. They exchanged texts, and Drechsel invited the minor to his gym (Ninja Gym), located at the New Era Gymnastics facility in Hamden, Connecticut. As part of the conversation, Drechsel and the minor planned for her to perform oral sex on him.
According to the complaint, the first incident happened during the victim’s birthday at Drechsel’s gym. The victim also claims the sexual relationship continued for approximately two years. The relationship was kept a secret from Drechsel’s girlfriend at the time.
In addition to the encounters, Drechsel asked the victim to contact him through Skype. During their calls, Drechsel instructed her to take her clothes off and masturbate. After a search warrant, law enforcement agents found Drechsel’s old cell phone which contained sexual footage of the victim as a minor.
The full complaint can be found here.
Drew Drechsel was charged with four counts. These include contacting a minor to entice through interstate commerce on engaging in sexual activity, persuading a minor to travel across states for sex, traveling with the purpose of having sex with a minor, and manufacturing sexual pornography.
If found guilty, Drechsel could be facing a life sentence for enticing a minor through interstate commerce. For persuading a minor to travel for illicit sexual conduct, he could get up to twenty years in prison. For traveling to have sex with a minor, he could get a maximum of thirty years. Finally, for manufacturing child pornography he can get anywhere from fifteen to thirty years in prison.
The maximum fine per count amounts to two hundred fifty thousand dollars. Drechsel’s lawyer, Frank J. Riccio II, tweeted that he intends to plead “not guilty”. However, according to the victim’s mother, Drechsel never denied having sex with the minor. Instead, he alleged he didn’t know she was underage.
After the complaint, NBC decided to cut ties with Drew Dreschel. NBC issued a statement last week expressing shock for the events described in the complaint.
NBC claimed “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. Moving forward, the American Ninja Warrior brand will sever all ties with Mr. Drechsel, including his appearance on future seasons of the show.”
It’s also been rumored that Drew Drechsel will be digitally removed from NBC’s footage.