He once made headlines as the winner of American Ninja Warrior, but now Drew Drechsel is known for his arrest. Drechsel stands accused of engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a minor, and according to investigators, the then-26-year-old met the then-15-year-old back in 2014. She was reportedly at an event with other ANW contestants. Detectives say the two exchanged phone numbers and stayed in communication, and Drew Drechsel even invited the Florida teen to his gym in Connecticut where they allegedly “engaged in sexual behavior,” according to Deadline.
Prosecutors claim that at the time, the girl’s mother found out and confronted Drechsel. She claims he “did not deny the sexual activity, but rather stated he did not know her age at the time.” It’s alleged that he continued to meet the teenager, the last encounter reportedly being in June 2019. Drechsel’s lawyer states, “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. It is respectfully requested that you respect the privacy of Mr. Drechsel and his family.” Drechsel and his girlfriend welcomed a child last year.
American Ninja Warrior released a statement where they acknowledged the case and cut ties with Drechsel. “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. Moving forward, the American Ninja Warrior brand will sever all ties with Mr. Drechsel, including his appearance on future seasons of the show.”
Drechsel has been charged with the “manufacture of child pornography, enticement of a minor to travel for illicit sexual conduct, among other crimes.”