A 61-year-old music teacher from Ventura who reportedly sent tainted flutes to five girls in Los Angeles and Orange Counties pleaded guilty in Orange County Superior Court Wednesday to committing lewd acts and was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
John Zeretzke, who founded Flutes Across the World in 2009, agreed in February to plead guilty to enticing a girl in the Philippines to send him explicit photographs of herself. He is scheduled to enter the plea Oct. 8 in federal court in Los Angeles.
Zeretzke pleaded guilty Wednesday at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana to six felony counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor younger than 14. According to the federal plea deal, the state court sentence will run concurrent with whatever punishment he receives from a federal judge.
Zeretzke was expected to receive the same sentence in federal court, as prosecutors recommended 216 months behind bars.
The grand jury indictment transcripts in state court are sealed, but the Orange County Register reported that Zeretzke was accused of ejaculating into flutes he sent in 2017 to two girls at Sonora Elementary School in Costa Mesa and three girls at Castaic Elementary School in Castaic.
In the federal case, Zeretzke met one underage victim in December 2016 and communicated with her online through February 2017, according to the plea agreement. He sent the girl money through one of her relatives in the Philippines and had her send lewd photos of herself, according to the plea agreement.
Zeretzke had a video chat online with the girl Feb. 8, 2017, when he “coerced” her into exposing herself to him as he took screen grabs of her touching herself, according to the plea agreement. She was younger than 16 at the time, prosecutors said.
A federal grand jury indicted Zeretzke in June 2018 of sexually assaulting two girls. Between August 20, 2017 and Sept. 23, 2017, the defendant traveled to the Philippines to have sex with a girl between 12 and 16 years old, the indictment alleged.
In the federal indictment, Zeretzke allegedly had sexually explicit chats with one of the girls, who said she was 15 at the time, on Facebook in November 2015. Zeretzke allegedly sent eight photos of the defendant exposing himself to the girl, according to the indictment.
Zeretzke also sent the girl a pair of cowboy boots for Christmas, the indictment alleges.
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