American Ninja Warrior star Drew Drechsel was arrested on Tuesday, August 4, over child sex crimes, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey announced in a press release.
The Florida native, 31, was charged 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.
“Mr. Dreschel [sic] 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’s criminal defense attorney, Frank J. Riccio II, said in a statement via Twitter on Tuesday. “It is respectfully requested that you respect the privacy of Mr. Dreschel [sic] and his family. All questions relating to this case can be directed to my attention.”
According to a criminal complaint released by U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito, the underage girl met Drechsel in 2014 after attending an event featuring several American Ninja Warrior contestants. They allegedly exchanged phone numbers and started texting, which they continued to do until June 2019.
The complaint claimed that the reality star arranged for the girl to come to his gym in Hamden, Connecticut, in July 2015 “as her 15th birthday present.” He was 26 at the time. After his girlfriend left the property, Drechsel and the teen allegedly had sex for the first time. They met up again in January 2016 outside of a restaurant in Marlton, New Jersey, where they had sex in Drechsel’s car, according to authorities.
In June 2019, the victim, then 19, made a complaint to the Cherry Hill Police Department in New Jersey, claiming she and Drechsel had physical and cybersex several times between the time she was 15 to 17. Investigators later discovered photos and videos of the teen on Drechsel’s cellphone, per the complaint.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said in Tuesday’s press release that the charges against Drechsel carry various sentences, ranging from 15 years in prison to life in prison, in addition to a maximum fine of $250,000 per count.
The season 11 winner and his girlfriend, April Beckner, welcomed a son named Korey in December 2019.
If you or anyone you know has been sexually abused, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). A trained staff member will provide confidential, judgment-free support as well as local resources to assist in healing, recovering and more.
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