August 4, 2020
Tamar Lapin

The reigning champ of NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” competition was arrested Tuesday after being accused of having a years-long sexual relationship with teen girl from New Jersey, federal prosecutors said.
The alleged victim came forward in June 2019, telling cops that she and Drew Drechsel had sex several times beginning in 2015, when she was 15 and he was 26, according to a criminal complaint.
They first met and exchanged phone numbers in 2014, at an event attended by several “American Ninja Warrior” contestants, the complaint states.
For her 15th birthday, Drechsel allegedly invited the girl to his gym in Hamden, Connecticut, where the two had sex after his girlfriend left the establishment, the court documents says.
The teen told her mother about it the next day. When the mom confronted Drechsel, he didn’t deny sleeping with her child, but claimed he didn’t know her age, the complaint states.
Over the next two years, the alleged victim said, she and Drechsel had sex multiple times around New Jersey, including in the parking lot of a restaurant and outside a gym in Hainelsport, when she was between the ages of 15 of 17.
The creep asked her often to Skype him while she was naked and kept several pornographic photos and videos of her on an old phone, the complaint states.
Drechsel, now 31 and a Florida resident, was charged with manufacturing child pornography, enticing a minor to travel for illicit sexual conduct, traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and use of interstate commerce to entice a minor.
His attorney, Frank Riccio, said in a statement Tuesday that Drechsel plans to plead not guilty.
“Mr. Drechsel is presumed innocent of the charges and that presumption will remain throughout the pendency of his case,” Riccio said. “He intends on entering a ‘not guilty’ plea.”
Drechsel — who won $1 million on the competition show — is awaiting transfer to New Jersey after making his initial court appearance before a federal judge in Florida.


Message from Executive Director Laura A. Ahearn: Please visit our website at www.crimevictimscenter.org for news, information and resources in your community.

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