Drew Drechsel, a former champion on long-running athletic competition series American Ninja Warrior—as well as an on-camera “mentor” on the show’s spin-off, American Ninja Warrior Junior—has been charged today with several counts related to sex crimes involving a minor. Per The Hollywood Reporter, Drechsel has already been dropped from all iterations of the show by NBC, which issued a statement about his involvement earlier today, stating that, “We are shocked and disturbed to learn about the charges alleged against Drew Drechsel.”
Said charges, which Drechsel first appeared in court to answer yesterday, include the 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—all of them, per THR, allegedly in connection with a sexual relationship Drechsel was involved in with an (originally) 15-year-old girl. Although many details about the incidents in question are being held back, the first of them apparently took place in 2015, at Drechsel’s gym; the victim filed charges against Drechsel in 2019.
Drechsel is one of only two competitors to ever win American Ninja Warrior’s million-dollar cash prize, having completed its notoriously difficult obstacle course in 2019. He has since served as a mentor and regular personality on the series, appearing both on Celebrity Ninja Warrior as well as American Ninja Warrior Junior. Due to the “use of interstate commerce to entice” count, Drechsel—who’s alleged to have induced the victim in the case to produce pornographic images of herself, and to have enticed her to travel across state lines for sexual interactions—could face up to life in prison. Per The Wrap, he’ll be edited out of the next season of American Ninja Warrior, where he participated in when it was filmed earlier this year.