Convicted defendant recaptured after fleeing during jury deliberations

A man who fled the country during jury deliberations for his trial on several sex crimes has been recaptured and returned to Union County to face additional charges, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park and Juan Mattos Jr., U.S. Marshal for the District of New Jersey, announced Saturday.

Nikolaos Katogiritis, 47, was tracked to the Dominican Republic with the assistance of the Union County Sheriff’s Office and was arrested at a hotel there by U.S. Marshals and Dominican law enforcement forces before being returned to New Jersey on Friday. Katogiritis, formerly of Elizabeth, was additionally charged with third-degree bail jumping.

On Tuesday, September 16, a Union County jury returned guilty verdicts against Katogiritis on charges of second-degree sexual assault, third-degree endangering the welfare of a child, and fourth-degree lewdness. The charges stemmed from an August 3, 2012 incident in which Katogiritis approached a 12-year-old boy 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.

“We want to sincerely thank our county and federal law enforcement partners for helping us locate and apprehend this defendant to ensure that he is made to answer for these serious crimes,” Park said. “This marks another example of the extraordinary results that arise with multi-agency cooperation.”

“The successful arrest of Nikolaos Katogiritis was the direct result of the exhaustive, collaborative efforts of our marshals and the detectives from the Union County Sheriff’s Office and Prosecutor’s Office,” Mattos said. “I further thank and appreciate the marshals of our Dominican Republic Foreign Field Office for their expedient investigative efforts in arresting this dangerous fugitive.”

“I want to thank the teamwork of the U.S. Marshals, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Sheriff’s Office for their diligence in making sure Nikolaos Katogiritis has been brought back to Union County. The perseverance of all involved helped make this arrest possible, and all residents are safer for it,” acting Union County Sheriff Joseph Cryan said. “I also want to express a note of thanks to Lt. George Kurz and Detective Manny Cruz from our Sheriff’s Office for their work on this case. This capture continues the record of success in the longstanding partnership with the U.S. Marshals office and the Union County Sheriff’s Office.”

A sentencing date is expected to be set during the coming days. Upon sentencing Katogiritis is expected to face up to 5 to 10 years in state prison, and he also will be ordered to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law.

The bail jumping charge could add an additional 3 to 5 years to his overall sentence.