Crystal Lake city clerk asked children for nude photos, had ‘explicit’ talks on Snapchat, prosecutor says

Nick Kachiroubas ‘preyed on minors,’ McHenry County judge says

Nick Kachiroubas

The elected Crystal Lake city clerk, who has been charged with grooming and with possessing images of depicting child sexual abuse, made his initial court hearing Thursday, where a judge ordered he be released from county jail pretrial with conditions while awaiting trial.

The hearing also provided some of the first details of the allegations against Nicholas Kachiroubas, 45, who was arrested Tuesday after authorities from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division served a search warrant, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

Kachiroubas, who appeared in orange jail issued clothing, is charged with possessing images of children being sexually abused, a Class 2 felony, and grooming, Judge Carl Metz said at the hearing.

In arguing that Kachiroubas should be detained, Assistant State’s Attorney Brian Miller told the court that investigators found 14 conversations on Kachiroubas’ cellphone in a Snapchat account where he was having “explicit” conversations with children as young as 12. Miller said Kachiroubas also possessed a nude photo of a child who was about 7 or 8 years old and that, when police asked Kachiroubas if he thought it was wrong for him to possess such a photo, he allegedly responded: “I guess I didn’t think I was doing anything [wrong].”

Miller also said authorities allege that Kachiroubas asked children for nude pictures of their genitals and shared photos of his with them, and that he asked minors about their sexual orientation and whether they were circumcised. He told children he was communicating with that he was a professor at DePaul University, the prosecutor said in court.

Kachiroubas is listed on DePaul website as an associate professor in the university’s School of Public Service. He also sits on the Illinois Community College Board, and has been the city clerk in Crystal Lake since 2009, having been elected in 2021 to his fourth term in that office.

The prosecutor said children with whom Kachiroubas was communicating on the popular social media app would tell him their ages. He would say, “Cool” or that it was OK, Miller said.

The investigation was prompted by a child in Michigan who reported to authorities that he was having conversations with a man on Snapchat who said he was a professor at DePaul that “made him uncomfortable,” Miller said.

Miller argued Kachiroubas is a danger to any child anywhere and would find a way to get access to the internet. He also said that despite Kachiroubas’ position in the community as a city clerk and as a college professor, “nothing stopped him from [acting] in this abhorrent ways.”

Kachiroubas “doesn’t care they are children,” Miller said. “Nothing could be put in place to protect minors. His repeated, abhorrent behavior harmed numerous children.”

Assistant Public Defender David Giesinger, whom the judge appointed to represent Kachiroubas, argued for his release with conditions, including he have no access to the internet or electronics. Kachiroubas, he said, is a lifelong Crystal Lake resident, is not a flight risk and scored a zero in a dangerousness evaluation. He’s been banned from Snapchat, and there are no facts presented that show he tried to meet any of the children in person, Giesinger said.

The judge said he believed Miller proved that Kachiroubas is a danger and that “he knew he was contacting and communicating with minors” and asking for pornographic images.

“He preyed on minors, sought out minors for lewd and obscene photos,” Metz said. But the judge said he was required to follow the provisions of the Safe-T Act and released Kachiroubas pretrial with conditions including he have no access to any electronics, including a cellphone, or the internet. He also must wear an electronic monitoring device and has a curfew requiring he be in his home between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. He is to not have any contact with a child under the age of 18, must turn over any firearms and surrender his Firearms Owners Identification card, must allow court services to inspect his home and must undergo a sex offender evaluation within 21 days, Metz said.

Crystal Lake Mayor Haig Haleblian declined comment on Kachiroubas’ arrest. Officials from the community college board and DePaul could not be reached for comment.

Police said the investigation that led to Kachiroubas’ arrest began in April, when the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children provided the sheriff’s office with information from the Internet Crimes Against Children Data System pertaining to the online enticement of children for sexual acts.

According to his DePaul online bio, Kachiroubas has a doctorate in leadership learning and service and served as a trustee for McHenry County College, having been elected at age 19 after serving as student trustee. He has served on numerous nonprofits, and he “especially enjoyed his time on the boards of the America’s Cardboard Cup Regatta and the Crystal Lake Park Foundation,” according to the bio.

If convicted on the more serious Class 2 felony he could be imprisoned three to seven years or, if found extended term eligible, seven to 14 years. Probation also is a possible sentence. He is due in court July 18.

Northwest Herald reporter Michelle Meyer contributed.

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