The founder of an international music teaching scheme who allegedly tainted flutes with semen has been charged with lewd acts against girls.
John Zeretzke, 60, of Ventura was indicted by an Orange County grand jury last month on charges involving five girls under age 14 in Los Angeles and Orange counties, the state attorney general’s office said.
As we reported last September, he was arrested after a federal grand jury indictment alleged he committed multiple child sex crimes, including “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 2017 to have sex with a girl aged between 12 and 16 years old.
Zeretzke has pleaded not guilty to the new charges that were brought against him yesterday (Thursday, April 18).
Zeretzke founded an international programme called Flutes Across the World that held events in schools during which thousands of students played or made flutes.
In 2017, California authorities began investigating reports that some flutes distributed to schoolchildren in Orange County school districts had been tainted with semen.
Yesterday’s indictment did not provide specific details and the attorney general’s office has not confirmed whether the charges involved any allegations of tainted flutes.
However, a statement from the office said the charges “are not based upon allegations that he personally had physical contact with any child”.
“Crimes against children are despicable. Schools must represent a safe environment for our students,” Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in the statement. “No parent should fear for the safety and security of their child at school. We will work relentlessly to hold people who exploit our children criminally accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
The state charges against Zeretzke involve different accusers than the previously-issued federal indictment.
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