American Ninja Warrior winner Andrew “Drew” Drechsel has been arrested and charged with child sex crimes.
The 31-year-old Drechsel, who is the athletic competition series’ current reigning champion, was arrested at his Florida home on a series of charges on Tuesday (4 August).
These included the enticement of a minor to travel for illicit sexual conduct and the manufacture of child pornography.
According to legal documents released by the US Attorney, Drechsel began a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl in 2015 when he was 26-years-old.
The pair allegedly met at an American Ninja Warrior event in 2014, where they exchanged numbers and began exchanging text messages. The complainant states that the pair continued texting until June 2019
The court documents claim that Drechsel encouraged the girl to visit the Ninja Gym in Connecticut in the summer of 2015 as a present for her 15th birthday. The victim claims that the pair had sex during this trip and went on to have sex multiple times when she was between the ages of 15 and 17.
Dreschel’s lawyer Frank J Riccio II posted a statement on Twitter on behalf of the athlete, stating that the reality TV personality intended to plead not guilty.
“Mr. Drechsel is presumed innocent of the charges and that presumption will remain throughout the pendency of his case,” Riccio wrote. “It is respectfully requested that you respect the privacy of Mr. Drechsel and his family.”
Drechsel has appeared on American Ninja Warrior and spin-off series American Ninja Warrior: USA vs. The World multiple times. He is one of only three contestants to complete the course and achieve “total victory” and one of only two contestants to win the show’s cash prize.