Man convicted of sex crimes against juvenile at Hillside public pool

A Union County jury has returned guilty verdicts against a man accused of exposing himself and touching himself in front of a then-12-year-old boy at a Hillside public pool two years ago, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Tuesday.

The jury deliberated over the course of two days following a weeklong trial before state Superior Court Judge Regina Caulfield prior to finding 47-year-old Nikolaos Katogiritis guilty of second-degree sexual assault, third-degree endangering the welfare of a child, and fourth-degree lewdness. Katogiritis, formerly of Elizabeth, fled the area during jury deliberation and his whereabouts are currently unknown.

The charges stemmed from an August 3, 2012 incident in which Katogiritis approached the victim in the shower area of the Hillside Community Pool locker room, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Cleaver, who prosecuted the case. Katogiritis then exposed himself to the boy, started touching himself, encouraged the boy to do the same, and asked to perform a sexual act on him, Cleaver said.

The victim, who testified in court during the trial, left the shower area immediately and told a relative what happened. Katogiritis was arrested the same day.

A sentencing date has yet to be scheduled. Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Katogiritis is urged to contact Union County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Vito Colacitti at 908-965-3881.

Upon sentencing Katogiritis is expected to face up to 5 to 10 years in state prison. He will also be ordered to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law.