The man linked to the 2017 state investigation of semen-tainted flutes distributed to Southern California students has been charged with committing lewd acts against five children.
John Edward Zeretzke, 60, is the founder of an international music program, Flutes Across the World, which has worked with thousands of children in Orange and Los Angeles counties to craft decorated flutes out of PVC pipe.
Children in the nonprofit program would each make two flutes, keeping one for themselves while the other was sent to children in the Philippines.
An indictment detailing the charges alleges that Zeretzke targeted five minors between Jan. 1, 2017, and April 30, 2017, but did not have any physical contact with the children.
Zeretzke also faces federal child exploitation charges based on allegations that he coerced children into sending him pornographic images of themselves and traveled to the Philippines with the intention of having sexual relations with minors. Authorities have said none of the victims in the federal case, which was filed last year, are from California, the LA Times reports.
Suspicious activity in the program was first reported in 2017 when officials issued warnings to parents in the Los Angeles Unified, Saugus Union, Capistrano Unified, Fountain Valley, Culver City,Newport-Mesa and Fullerton school districts that the instruments may have been contaminated.
Zeretzke was arrested Tuesday and is being held in Orange County Jail in lieu of $600,000 bail.