Former ‘American Ninja Warrior’ Champion Sentenced for Heinous Crime

Andrew Drechsel, a 35-year-old former champion of the popular competition show “American Ninja Warrior,” has been sentenced to over a decade in prison for child exploitation. The sentencing was handed down by Chief US District Judge Renée M. Bumb in New Jersey on Wednesday. Drechsel, who had participated in eight seasons of the show and won a $1 million prize, will also be required to serve 15 years of supervised release and pay $100,000 in restitution to the victim.

Drechsel pleaded guilty on June 1 to charges of receiving child pornography and knowingly enticing and coercing a minor to travel interstate for sexual activity. The charges were announced by the US Attorney’s Office in New Jersey.

The victim, a resident of New Jersey, came forward in 2019. She alleged that she met Drechsel at a parkour event in 2014, which was attended by several contestants of “American Ninja Warrior.” At the time, she was only 14 years old and Drechsel was 26. They exchanged phone numbers and began a relationship that lasted for several years.

In 2015, Drechsel invited the girl to his gym in Hamden, Connecticut, to celebrate her 15th birthday. According to the victim’s statement to the police, they had sex at the gym after Drechsel’s girlfriend left the premises. Over the next two years, the victim and Drechsel maintained contact and had sex multiple times in various locations around New Jersey.

In November 2019, a search of Drechsel’s phone revealed images of child sexual abuse, including photos and videos of the victim. Drechsel, who was living in Florida at the time, had won the 11th season of “American Ninja Warrior.” Following his arrest, NBC, the network that airs the show, announced that it would sever all ties with Drechsel.