The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of New Jersey announced Tuesday that American Ninja Warrior winner Drew Drechsel has been charged with federal sex crimes involving a minor.
Drechsel, 31, of Saint Cloud, Florida was arrested on Tuesday and is facing charges of enticement of a minor to travel for illicit sexual misconduct, the manufacturing of child pornography, travel with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, and use of interstate commerce to entice a minor, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The charges stem from a sexual relationship Drechsel had with a 15-year-old girl dating back to 2015. The abuse continued over the course of several years, and the victim filed a police report in June of 2019.
Drechsel made his initial court appearance on Tuesday. In a statement made on Twitter, Drechsel’s Lawyer Frank J. Riccio II said that he 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.”
Drechsel, who is featured prominently in the upcoming season of American Ninja Warrior, was dropped from the show, NBC said in a statement on Wednesday.
“We are shocked and disturbed to learn about the charges alleged against Drew Drechsel,” the network’s statement said. “‘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.”