LOS ANGELES – A former music teacher in Southern California who contracted with several schools to teach music to children was sentenced today to 183 months in federal prison for producing child pornography.
John Edward Zeretzke, 62, of Ventura, was sentenced by United States District Judge Fernando M. Olguin.
Zeretzke pleaded guilty in August 2020 to one count of production of child pornography. He previously pleaded guilty in Orange County Superior Court to six state counts of committing lewd or lascivious acts with minors under the age of 14 years old. He was sentenced in July 2020 in the state court case to 18 years in state prison, a sentence that will run concurrently with his federal prison sentence.
From December 2016 to February 2017, Zeretzke used a computer and the internet to communicate with a female minor and coerced her into producing child pornography. The victim did not live in California at the time.
“[Zeretzke] preyed on young, impoverished girls in Third World countries and used his Flutes Around the World program as a means to contact and sometimes take advantage of those girls,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.
This case is a part of Project Safe Childhood, the Justice Department’s ongoing initiative to combat the plague of child exploitation crimes.
The United States Postal Inspection Service and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department investigated this matter.
Assistant United States Attorney Catharine A. Richmond of the Violent and Organized Crime Section prosecuted this case.