A music teacher from California has been accused of filming himself ejaculating into flutes before having students play them.
60-year-old John Edward Zeretzke was indicted in March for suspected lewd acts involving two Orange County girls and three girls in Los Angeles County, all of whom were under the age of 14.
A recently obtained grand jury transcript spoke of how the teacher allegedly confessed to an online friend that his sexual fantasies were fulfilled by watching his pupils play the semen-tainted flutes which he distributed in 2017 to the five girls, who were attending elementary schools in Costa Mesa and Castaic.
He is said to have exchanged photos of his victims using the flutes with this same online individual.
According to the transcript, as reported by the Orange County Register, during her opening statement Deputy Attorney General Amanda Casillas told Orange County jurors:
You have been warned that it is a salacious and disturbing matter. There are going to be graphic images including sexual content where the victims are children, elementary school little girls, and that it’s very disturbing.
She claimed the 60-year-old was in either a hotel room near schools or his residence when he recorded and took photos of himself ejaculating into flutes. He then later allegedly photographed students using those same instruments during workshops, though by the time the flutes were collected and tested there was no evidence of semen.
The grand jury reportedly heard testimony from the victims as well as other witnesses, including digital forensic examiners, law enforcement officers, a biological forensic analyst, medical professionals, teachers and school officials.
Zeretzke was also accused of inappropriately touching students in class; rubbing one victim’s shoulders, massaging her back and whispering to her that she was pretty.
The teacher was also accused of engaging in ‘constructive touching’ with his students.
It’s constructive when the perpetrator, without actually touching the victim, causes the victim to touch herself with an object regardless of whether or not the perpetrator is present.
Zeretzke founded the music program ‘Flutes Around the World’ in 2009 and held workshops for fourth-graders at Castaic Elementary School in California in the 2015-2016 and 2017-2018 school years. He also taught at Sonora Elementary School in Arkansas.
Authorities began collecting flutes from students after learning they may have been contaminated with semen following an investigation in 2017.
The Orange County Register reports an earlier federal indictment alleged Zeretzke had coerced a girl to produce child pornography, attempted to entice another person to send him sexually explicit images, received child pornography over the internet and traveled to the Philippines to engage in sex with minors.
Steve Doyle, superintendent of the Castaic Union School District, spoke of the shocking allegations against Zeretzke, saying:
Two years ago, law enforcement informed us of this shocking situation, and we were equally relieved when notified the suspected violator was arrested.
Our district took immediate steps to cooperate with law enforcement’s investigation and we worked in earnest to promptly notify our parents. It’s impossible to deny the gross violation this represents to the children and families who were directly involved.
Zeretzke pleaded not guilty to all state and federal charges and is scheduled to return to court for a pretrial conference on August 14.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.