A former investigative reporter and photographer for WCPO were arrested in Cincinnati and charged with distributing more than 100 child pornography videos from 2020 to 2021.
Phil Drechsler, age 60, was arrested and charged Thursday with sending out more than 100 child pornography videos while he was a part of “The Playground Lives,” an online chat group on Telegram.
A federal criminal complaint was made against him in Los Angeles on April 18. This led to a warrant for his arrest. The lawsuit says that between August 17, 2020, and June 28, 2021, Drechsler talked to the online group 145 times.
Drechsler “Commented About 16 Times” in the Group Chat Using a Fake Name
“Drechsler shared 117 videos, 9 images, 2 gifs, and 1 link to shared file(s),” the lawsuit said, citing an FBI affidavit. In the tapes, a “prepubescent or early-pubescent girl” seemed to do sexual acts with a man that were very clear.
The statement also said that Drechsler “commented about 16 times” in the group chat using a fake name.
Because of what he did online, on April 6, federal officials carried out two search warrants: one for his home in Los Angeles and the other for him.
The affidavit said that when an FBI agent looked at Drechsler’s phone, they found proof of child pornography in a folder that had just been deleted.
The FBI agent wrote in the statement that Drechsler said he couldn’t tell how old the people were and didn’t think it was child pornography. “When I asked him if the people looked like adults or kids, Drechsler said they looked like kids.”
On April 17, Drechsler’s wife told the FBI that her husband had taken a shotgun and two pistols with him when he drove to Ohio. She said that Drechsler thought he “had nothing to live for” and wanted to “kill himself.” The statement said that before he killed himself, he wanted to say goodbye to his Ohio-based daughter and visit the graves of his parents in Toledo.
An FBI agent was told by Drechsler’s wife that he was staying at the Wingate Hotel in Cincinnati. Agents from the government watched the hotel as a response.
Drechsler was arrested and taken to the Butler County Jail an hour later.
WCPO said, “Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have asked to keep Drechsler in custody.”
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