Skip to Content
reality TV reviews, news, and analysis since 2000

Drew Drechsel update: He pled guilty. Read the former Ninja Warrior star’s plea deal.

Drew Drechsel update: He pled guilty. Read the former Ninja Warrior star’s plea deal.
Drew Drechsel during the American Ninja Warrior qualifiers in 2014, the same year he was accused of meeting a teenage fan (Screenshot via NBC)

American Ninja Warrior champion Drew Drechsel—who was edited out of season 12 of the NBC competition after being charged with sex offenses that could have lead to life in prison—has agreed to plead guilty to two felonies.

That’s according to U.S. court records obtained by reality blurred that you can read below.

The charges came from a U.S. Attorney who claimed Drew met a young fan at an event, and later invited her to his gym, where they had sex when she was 15 and he was 26.

Drew is currently being held at the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ inmate locator.

Last year, I talked to ANW showrunner Anthony Storm, asking if Drew’s arrest affected the show’s production, and he told me, “We’re a little bit more rigorous in the way that we evaluate our athletes. That said, you’re talking about an individual and not someone that is representative of the community. I think it’s extremely unfortunate that Drew did use his celebrity in that way.”

What Drew Drechsel was charged with

A person in a sleeveless shirt with an American flag on the shoulder
Drew Drechsel on American Ninja Warrior: USA vs. the World season 3 (Screenshot via NBC)

In 2020, after an FBI investigation, the United States Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey, accused him of the following:

“Drechsel sought to have sex with a minor girl and traveled to New Jersey with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with that minor. He also 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. 

He was charged “with 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 full complaint said the victim:

first met DRECHSEL in person in 2014, after an event attended by numerous contestants in the television program, “American Ninja Warrior.” DRECHSEL and Victim 1 exchanged telephone numbers and began communicating with one another via text message. Their text message communications continued until June 2019.


On or about July 6, 2015, Victim 1, then 15 years old, and DRECHSEL exchanged a text message conversation regarding Victim 1’s upcoming visit to DRECHSEL’s gym, “Ninja Gym” located at the New Era Gymnastics facility in Hamden, Connecticut. At the time, Victim 1 was a resident of New Jersey. During the text exchange they also described plans for sexual activity, including Victim 1 preforming oral sex on DRECHSEL.

It goes on to say that they had sex behind the warped wall in his gym, and that when confronted by the victim’s mother, Drew acknowledged having sex but said he did not know her age. They continued to meet for sex, and she sent explicit photographs and performed sexually over Skype for Drew.

June 2023 updates in Drew Drechsel’s case

Drew Drechsel competing on stage three of the final course during the American Ninja Warrior season 11 "Las Vegas National Finals Night 4" episode, on which someone will win $1 million
Drew Drechsel competing on stage three of the final course during the American Ninja Warrior season 11 “Las Vegas National Finals Night 4” episode, on which someone will win $1 million. (Photo by David Becker/NBC)

On June 1, 2023, Drew signed a Waiver of An Indictment, which says:

“I understand that I have been accused of one or more offenses punishable by imprisonment for more than one year. I was advised in open court of my rights and the nature of the proposed charges against me.

After receiving this advice, I waive my right to prosecution by indictment and consent to prosecution by information.”

As part of that, Drew entered a plea of guilty on counts one and two.

  1. Count 1 is the “Receipt Child Pornography” between March 2015 and December 2016, and carries a minimum of five years and a maximum of 40 years in prison, plus a maximum of a $250,000 fine
  2. Count 2 is “Enticement to Travel for Illicit Sexual Conduct” between January 2015 and April 2016, and carries a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

On a form titled Application for Permission to Enter Plea of Guilty, filed June 1, 2023, with the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, Drew wrote, in his own handwriting, that he:

“received child pornography and enticed an individual to travel across state lines for sex.”

Drew also agrees to register as a sex offender upon release from prison, and forfeit 15 electronic devices “used in the commission of the offense,” which include seven computers and eight cell phones.

Sentencing is set for Oct. 24 at 11 a.m. in Camden, New Jersey, and he was “remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal,” according to court records.

A letter from the office of United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Philip Sellinger, says the prison sentences “may run consecutively to each other,” meaning Drew could face 60 years in prison. Previously, he faced life in prison.

Below, you can read the plea agreement letter, the document that details the counts that he’s pleading guilty to, and his application to enter a guilty plea.

Plea agreement

Application for permission to enter a guilty plea

Information as to counts 1 and 2

All reality blurred content is independently selected, including links to products or services. However, if you buy something after clicking an affiliate link, I may earn a commission, which helps support reality blurred. Learn more.

More from reality blurred

About the author

  • Andy Dehnart

    Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.

Discussion: your turn

I think of writing about television as the start of a conversation, and I value your contributions to that conversation. We’ve created a community that connects people through open and thoughtful conversations about the TV we’re watching and the stories about it.

To share our perspectives and exchange ideas in a welcoming, supportive space, I’ve created these rules for commenting here. By commenting below, you confirm that you’ve read and agree to those rules.

Happy discussing!


Tuesday 29th of August 2023

Its a terrible thing. Lives ruined. I have wondered about all these young men opening all these gyms for children. I also do not think they should have adults and children competing together as they are now. Lots of opportunity for more of the same to happen. We are not interested in watching 14-16 yr olds compete against 42 yr old men. It’s a cautionary tale and as usual, no one is paying attention. “Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it” George Santayana


Tuesday 11th of July 2023

I’m so confused. So they had a 5 year relationship? And if they met when she was 14 years old at an event, then her parents were aware and helped transport her? And only after the relationship ended did she decide to press charges? I’d like to know more details, especially pertaining to the timeline, and if there are other victims, because this is almost sounding like a lover scorned. I grew up in the 80’s so, to me, dating an older guy when you were in high school wasn’t unusual. Even though it is, technically, against the law. Did Drew choose to end this affair to be with the mother of his child? Was this girl and her mother so incredibly vengeful?


Tuesday 5th of September 2023

@Laura, I totally agree. I worked at Child Protective Services for 3.5 years as the paralegal to the prosecutor child sex crimes. TRUE pedophiles (raping infant-10 year old children) don’t get even NEAR this time when convicted. 2 years tops typically. This was CLEARLY consensual for a long time. AND the mother knew about the sex behind the warped wall and let them continue to see each other? And years later pressed charges? Fishy. As someone who worked on plenty of these cases, we would not pursue this case because the judge/jury would likely see it as revenge. Not to say that he is ANYWHERE above reproach—he should DEFINITELY be a registered sex offender, but consensual sex is simply not the same as raping pre-pubescent babies/children, and the sentencing should reflect that.


Tuesday 5th of September 2023

@Laura, I was thinking the same thing about the timeline. You made some interesting points too.


Wednesday 2nd of August 2023

@Laura, Details....she was a child Drew an adult grown man...end of story. He is a predator, and she wasn't his only victim. He used his gym and his fame to lure young teenage girls into having sex with him, he is nothing but pure scum & exploited & used for his own gain. Lock him up for another 10-20 years....


Thursday 20th of July 2023

@Laura, you are part of the problem.


Monday 3rd of July 2023

Drew was a tremendous success on ANW... I dont know, if they would touch him at this point. Drew came from a used car lot...he may well find himself back there. Tragedy for everyone....all around.... I hope he can get help.


Tuesday 5th of September 2023

@Jodi, I think the ANW needs to stop referring to the GIRLS (KIDS) and WOMEN, I have been here that all season this year 2023... I agree that no one should be stalking kids and it is his fault if he never asked her age...But do we know if she really told him her age? Where was her parents when she traveled? Others are somewhat responsible as well.


Thursday 20th of July 2023

@R.J., I could care less about him. I hope his victim is ok.


Monday 26th of June 2023

Thanks for posting this! I just read the agreement and it sounds like both sides are expecting a sentence of 8-10 years. Because it was not a violent crime he would be eligible for parole after serving one third of his sentence. So he’d be eligible very soon because it has been almost 3 years since his arrest and pre trial custody counts.

I believe felony offenders are required to serve 9 months post-sentencing even if they have had long pre-trial custody. So even if he is sentenced to only 8 years, (thus having already served 1/3 of his sentence), I think he still has to serve 9 months post sentencing.

So tl;dr sounds like he could be out March 2024. Pretty light sentence considering the potential sentences being talked about in the news. The prosecutors say they will pass his plea on to other courts (like Federal, which could charge him on production of child pornography but likely won’t due to the plea deal) so, yup, it sounds like he’s almost good to go.


Wednesday 2nd of August 2023

@NinjaWarriorCanada, I believe if convicted of a Federal Crime you have to serve 2/3 of your sentence. Personally I hope Drew is locked up for several more y ears, he is a predator & should not get away with just a slap on the wrist. Lock him up for 10-15 years where he has to spend another 10 in jail....