A former WCPO investigative producer and photographer was taken into custody in Cincinnati and charged with sharing over 100 child pornography videos from 2020 to 2021.
Phil Drechsler, 60, was arrested and charged Thursday for disseminating over 100 child pornography videos while participating in the Telegram online chat group, “The Playground Lives,” WCPO reported.
A warrant for his arrest was issued after a federal criminal complaint was filed in Los Angeles on April 18. The complaint states that Drechsler engaged with the online group 145 times between August 17, 2020, and June 28, 2021.
“Drechsler shared 117 videos, 9 images, 2 gifs, and 1 link to shared file(s),” an FBI affidavit attached to the complaint wrote. In the videos, a “prepubescent or early pubescent girl” appeared to engage in explicit sexual acts with a man.
Not a drag queen. Phil Drechsler was detained in Cincinnati, Ohio accused of distributing more than 100 child pornography videos between August 2020 and June 2021. pic.twitter.com/3XvNX2UauQ
— TartofDarknessRedux, 🐳 TartRedux (@tartredux) April 22, 2023
The affidavit also noted that Drechsler “commented about 16 times” in the group chat, using an alias.
Due to his online activities, federal agents carried out two search warrants on April 6: one for his Los Angeles residence and the other for his person.
An FBI agent examined Drechsler’s phone and found evidence of child pornography in the recently deleted folder, according to the affidavit.
“Drechsler stated that he could not determine the age of the individuals and did not believe it was child pornography,” the FBI agent wrote in the affidavit. “I asked him if the individuals looked like adults or children, and Drechsler confirmed that they looked like children.”
On April 17, Drechsler’s wife told the FBI that her husband had driven to Ohio with a shotgun and two pistols. She said that Drechsler felt he “had nothing to live for” and wanted to “end his life.” Before taking his own life, he wished to say, “Goodbye,” to his daughter, who resided in Ohio, and visit his parents’ gravesite in Toledo, the affidavit stated.
Drechsler was reportedly staying at the Wingate Hotel in Cincinnati, based on information his wife provided to an FBI agent. Federal agents responded by monitoring the hotel.
Drechsler was booked into Butler County Jail one hour after his arrest.
“Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have filed a request to detain Drechsler,” WCPO reported.