American Ninja Warrior winner Drew Drechsel has been charged with child sex crimes, the U.S. Attorney's Office of the District of New Jersey announced Tuesday. Thirty-one-year-old Drechsel plans to plead not guilty according to a statement from his lawyer.
Drechsel stands accused of having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl in 2015. According to the complaint, a number of other sexual incidents with the same minor took place in New Jersey over a span of years.
The victim filed charges in June of 2019, which 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. The criminal complaint alleges Drechsel "enticed and coerced a minor to travel to Connecticut to engage in illicit sexual conduct and engaged in online sexual communications with a minor and induced her to manufacture sexually explicit images of herself and send them to Drechsel."
"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," Drescheul's lawyer Frank J. Riccio II said on Twitter.
NBC Universal and A. Smith & Co put out a statement on Wednesday in response to the news, announcing that Dreschel had been dropped from American NInja Warrior. "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," the statement reads. "Moving forward, the American Ninja Warrior brand will sever all ties with Mr. Drechsel, including his appearance on future seasons of the show."