founder of Flutes Across the World indicted on pedophilia charges | New

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The following article was published on September 19, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun – Volume 19, Number 29 [ Submit a Story ]

The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] – Volume 19, Number 29

Flutes Across the World founder charged with pedophilia

By Kasey Bubnash

The founder and leader of a music program who spent years under contract with the Circle V Ranch Camp in Santa Ynez Valley was recently indicted and charged with multiple sex crimes against children.

John Zeretzke, a former Ventura-based music teacher who founded Flutes Across the World, an educational program he ran for years at Circle V Ranch Camp, was arrested on September 13 by the US Postal Inspection Service and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, according to a United States Attorney’s Office press release.

The five-count indictment alleges that in November 2015 and until May 2016, Zeretzke, 60, attempted to persuade a 15-year-old girl to have sex with him online, and allegedly sent the girl several sexually explicit photos of himself via Facebook. .

RANCH CIRCLE V
John Zeretzke, founder of Flutes Across the World, led Circle V Ranch campers through a flute-making session in August 2014. Zeretzke was arrested for child pornography, among other things, on September 13.
FILE PHOTO BY JOE PAYNE

In February 2017, Zeretzke allegedly persuaded another minor to produce child pornography. Later that year, the indictment claims that Zeretzke traveled to the Philippines – where he often donated musical instruments to children through Flutes Across the World – with the intention engaging in sexual behavior with other underage victims between the ages of 12 and 16.

The indictment also alleges that Zeretzke twice received child pornography online in 2017.

Flutes around the world, according to Chris Sariego, director of public relations at St. Vincent de Paul in Los Angeles, the organization that owns and operates Circle V Ranch Camp, has provided musical education to campers aged 7 to 13 at the one-week session courses from 2011 to 2015.

Each camper learned to sand, shape, decorate and then play two recorder-style flutes, Sariego wrote in an email to Sun. Campers kept one flute and sent the other to a child in need, usually in a foreign country.

Zeretzke usually worked directly with the campers.

“Circle V staff have not received any official notification or request from any authority at this time regarding Flutes’ activities around the world at Circle V Ranch Camp,” Circle V wrote in a September 13 statement. . “There were no complaints or concerns regarding [Flutes Across the World] and John Zeretzke of all campers, counselors or parents of Circle V staff. ”

Still, Sariego said Zeretzke would not be allowed to return to Circle V, and he said St. Vincent de Paul had no plans to contract with the program again “for the time being.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Rhoades, who is prosecuting the Zeretzke case, said that while none of Zeretzke’s alleged crimes are related to his work or to children in Southern California, his trip to the Philippines in 2017 had several goals.

“This trip was related to one of his flute missions,” Rhoades said. “So to that extent there is an overlap.”

Although Rhoades did not say how long authorities have been investigating Zeretzke for, he said the case started with cyber counseling at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which was then referred to the Postal Service. American. A search warrant was issued at Zeretzke’s home last September, Rhoades said, just weeks before the U.S. Postal Service and the California Department of Justice launched an investigation into whether any of the delivered flutes to schools under the program had been contaminated with semen.

It is not known whether this investigation was related to the pending charges against Zeretzke.

Zeretzke was arraigned on September 13 in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles, and Rhoades said he was released on September 17 after his family and friends paid his bail. $ 20,000. Among other conditions, Zeretzke is under electronic surveillance and Rhoades has said his trial date is tentatively set for November 6.

–Kasey Bubnash


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