‘Tainted flute scandal’ music teacher ‘visited Philippines for child sex’

John Edward distributing flutes somewhere in Southeast Asia.

A Californian music teacher — once accused of contaminating children’s flutes with semen — allegedly visited the Philippines for sex with children.

John Edward Zeretzke was arrested yesterday (Thursday, September 13) after a federal grand jury indictment alleged he committed multiple child sex crimes.

The 60-year-old faces five separate counts of child sex crimes, including the production of child pornography and “travelling to the Philippines with the intent to engage in illegal sexual conduct with minors”.

According to court documents he visited the country sometime in August and September last year to have sex with a girl aged between 12 and 16 years old. 

The indictment also details how between November 2015 and September 2017 Zeretzke allegedly coerced a female minor to produce child pornography and attempted to have another female minor send him sexually explicit images. 

Zeretzke formerly worked as a music teacher and was contracted with several school districts throughout Southern California. None of the victims in this case are from Southern California, according to authorities.

Officials also confirmed that Zeretzke was investigated last year for an incident in which flutes that may have been contaminated with bodily fluids were distributed to children at several schools across Southern California. The musical instruments were given out as part of Zeretzke’s Flutes Across the World programme.

According to a report in the SunStar, Zeretzke also distributed hundreds of flutes across the Southern Philippines, including in Davao and Basilan. It is not known whether these were also contaminated with his semen.

Zeretzke was arrested yesterday by agents of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the US Postal Inspection Service, which was also involved in the contaminated flute investigation. Both agencies are conducting the investigation into the crimes.

He was arraigned yesterday afternoon at the US District Court in Los Angeles.

If convicted of producing child pornography, Zeretzke faces a minimum sentence of 15 years. If convicted of all charges, he faces a maximum sentence of life.

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