Ventura Music Teacher Indicted on Multiple Child Sex Crimes
John Zeretzke (Photo: Z World Music)
By edhat staff
A former music teacher from Ventura who worked with local children's organizations has been indicted on multiple child sex crimes.
John Edward Zeretzke, 60, had contracts with school districts throughout Southern California and occasionally worked with programs in Santa Barbara through his "Flutes Across the World" program. The program came under investigation last year by state and federal officials after allegations of flutes tainted with semen were being distributed to children.
Zeretzke was arrested Thursday by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office on federal charges of coercing an underage girl to produce child pornography, attempting to entice another victim to send him sexually explicit images, traveling to the Philippines with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with other minor victims, and twice receiving child pornography over the internet. The full indictment is available here, provided by KEYT News.
U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek stated none of the alleged victims were in Southern California and “It appears he contacted these individuals over the internet.”
Under the "Flutes Across the World" program, Zeretzke would teach children how to make two flutes from PVC pipe. The children would make one for themselves and make another to be donated to another child in need, including the Philippines. After allegations of the flutes being contaminated with semen, schools quickly dropped the program and warned parents.
The website www.zworldmusic.com appears to be Zeretzke's personal and professional website touting his award winning accomplisments and music program.
Zeretzke did bring his program to Santa Barbara County and came into contact with kids in the Santa Ynez Valley from Goleta and Santa Maria. He was featured on KEYT NewsChannel 3 in August 2014 as part of the "Flutes Across the World" project event at Circle V Ranch Camp in the Santa Ynez Valley, reports KEYT.
A representative from Circle V Ranch Camp released the following statement on Thursday evening:
"Circle V staff have not received any official notifications or inquiries by any authorities at this time regarding Flutes Across the World activities at Circle V Ranch Camp. There have been no complaints or concerns about FAW and John Zeretzke from any campers, counselors or parents to Circle V staff. Camp staff will continue to monitor this situation very closely and apprise you if anything changes as soon as possible."
Circle V Ranch Camp also confirmed they independently contracted with "Flutes Across the World" to provide music education to campers ages 7-13 during specific one-week sessions in July 2011, July 2012, July 2013, August 2014 and August 2015.
Santa Barbara Unified School District and they could neither confirm or deny that anyone named John Zeretzke taught or worked with the district, reports KEYT.
If convicted, Zeretzke could spend the rest of his life behind bars as the charge of producing child pornography, alone, carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison.