California Teacher Accused of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
We are learning about the case of a former music teacher who has been charged with multiple crimes against children. These charges also include the production of child pornography. The charges against John Edward Zeretzke, 60, come after a federal grand jury handed down a five-count indictment that alleges he:
- Coerced a female minor to produce pornographic images
- Attempted to entice another minor to do the same
- Traveled to the Philippines with the intention of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with minors
- Received child pornography over the internet two times
We bring you this story to highlight that Mr. Zeretzke is now placed in a position that could be a lose-lose scenario.
Tucked into the news story above is a single line statement that says:
“An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in court.”
This line comes after they showed a photograph of Zertzke and after they listed out all of the charges against him. It seems that the media, prosecutors, and law enforcement have already stacked the deck against someone alleged of a crime.
This is a common practice and shows one reason it is so vital to secure a qualified and experienced California criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Not only is your reputation on the line if you find similar charged laid against you, but you will face unbelievably tough penalties.
Click here for additional information on California sex crime laws.
The Immediate Consequences
The story we showed you above is common when it comes to these kinds of cases. Rightly so, crimes against children are taken very seriously and have harsh consequences for those who are found guilty of committing them. However, these crimes are vilified much more so than any other, including murder. As soon as a story hits the news, usually within an hour or two after an arrest, the public has made up their mind.
Even if a person is found not guilty of the charges against them, or most of the charges were dropped, a person faces a ruined reputation.
Punishment for those found guilty of child pornography charges vary but can include the following:
- Strict state and federal prison time
- Long probation periods after release
- Lifetime sex offender registry
- Possible lifetime GPS monitoring
The sex offender registry is undergoing changes, as California has taken steps to rectify some of the errors with the registry’s effectiveness. The governor recently signed a bill that allows most sex offenders in the state to petition to be removed from public and private registries if they have not committed another serious or violent felony or sex crime. However, this is a long process and will not change registry requirements if you move to another state.
Your Next Steps
These charges are hard to deal with on your own. You need to find a compassionate, skilled, and experienced criminal defense attorney in California who can build a case for your innocence. The ultimate goal is to get these charges dismissed or reduced. All too often people in this situation are overcharged from the beginning, even when prosecutors know they have little evidence to support the charges.
Research has suggested that 1 in 25 people, roughly 4% of the population in this county deal with a sexual addiction of some type. Pornography is a major source of this addiction. Sometimes good people get caught up in incidents because of their addictions. Other times, they are charged with crimes they simply did not commit.
Do not try to handle this on your own. The consequences are too great.