St. Cloud ‘American Ninja Warrior’ winner accused of child sex crimes involving teen he met at competition event, FBI says

CAMDEN, N.J. — A St. Cloud man and “American Ninja Warrior” winner was arrested Tuesday, accused of several child sex crimes.

Andrew Drechsel, 31, of St. Cloud, faces charges of manufacturing child pornography, enticement of 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.

This past season, Drechsel won the championship of the NBC TV show taking home the million dollar prize.

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According to his criminal complaint, Drechsel and the girl involved in the case first met in 2014 after an “American Ninja Warrior” event where they exchanged phone numbers and began communicating with each other via text message.

The teen told investigators the relationship became sexual in July 2015 during a visit to Drechsel’s gym in Connecticut when she was 15-years-old and Drechsel was 26.

According to the complaint, the teen told her mother about the incident the next day.

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When confronted by the teen’s mother, Drechsel didn’t deny the sexual activity, but claimed he didn’t know her age.

The count of use of interstate commerce to entice a minor carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Each of the other counts carries a maximum sentence of 15 to 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine per count.

Fans of the television competition show, like Eddie Burch, said they were shocked by the news.

“I would say that Drew Drechsel is like the Michael Jordan of ‘American Ninja Warrior,‘” Burch said.

NBC said it is cutting all ties with Drechsel following the accusations.

Read the full criminal complaint below:

NBCUniversal and A. Smith & Co released the following statement on Drechsel:

“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. Moving forward, the American Ninja Warrior brand will sever all ties with Mr. Drechsel, including his appearance on future seasons of the show.”

Thomas Alberti, the owner/manager, of Real Life Ninja Academy released the following statement:

“The accusations against Drew Drechsel are incredibly disturbing and in stark opposition with the values of this Academy. This type of behavior has no place in our community and we fully condemn his actions. Moving forward, the business will remain under my management, and Drew Drechsel will no longer be making any decisions relating to this Academy. We remain committed to making the protection and safety of our clients our top priority.”

Frank J. Riccio II, with the Law Offices of Frank J. Riccio LLC, who is representing Drechsel, released the following statement

“Suffice it to say that Mr. Dreschel is doing the best he can under the circumstances. Evidence has not yet been provided and I am not going to comment on the contents of the criminal complaint. He is presumed innocent and intends on defending the charges against him.”