Charges brought against the 31-year-old Florida resident include the manufacturing 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, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of New Jersey.
“We are shocked and disturbed to learn about the charges alleged against Drew Drechsel,” NBC said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “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. Moving forward, the American Ninja Warrior brand will sever all ties with Mr. Drechsel, including his appearance on future seasons of the show.”
Drechsel’s lawyer, Frank J. Riccio II, released a statement on Twitter, revealing that his client “intends on entering a ‘not guilty’ plea.” Read his tweet in full below:
In May 2019, Dreschel became one of only three competitors to complete Stage 4 and officially earn the title of “American Ninja Warrior.” Drechsel had been competing on the show since Season 3 (2011), making it to the National Finals six times before eventually winning the $1 million prize in the Season 11 finale. Drechsel also served as a coach on Celebrity Ninja Warrior and as a mentor on American Ninja Warrior Junior.