A music program founder accused of distributing flutes allegedly contaminated with bodily fluids to Southern California school children has been indicted for allegedly committing lewd acts against minors, authorities announced Thursday.
John Zeretzke, 60, was already facing separate federal child exploitation charges when he was indicted for committing lewd acts on children under 14 years old, the California Attorney General’s Office said in a statement. He has pleaded not guilty to the new charges.
It was not immediately clear if the state charges are related to any of the alleged contaminated flutes.
Prosecutors allege Zeretzke, of Ventura, targeted five girls between Jan. 1, 2017 and April 30, 2017 in Orange and Los Angeles counties, according to a grand jury indictment obtained by the Orange County Register.
The federal indictment against Zeretzke alleges that he coerced a girl to produce child pornography, attempted to entice someone to send him sexually explicit images and traveled to the Philippines to engage in sex with minors, among other charges.
Zeretzke founded Flutes Across the World in 2009 and worked with children across the United States to create decorated flutes, according to the paper. Children in the program kept one flute while another was given to children in other countries. Authorities in 2017 collected some flutes after learning some may have been contaminated with semen.