Updated on Sept. 12: Lt. Jason Kravetz of the Laguna Beach Police Department has confirmed that six more women have come forward with claims against Sirous and Sons Rug Gallery manager Saeid Boustanabadi Maralan. The claims are under investigation, but no additional charges have been made so far. According to the Orange County Sheriff's Department website, Maralan has been released on bail.
The manager of Sirous and Sons Rug Gallery has been charged with sexually assaulting three women and showing pornography to a minor at his 222 Ocean Ave. store.
Saeid Boustanabadi Maralan, 53, of Laguna Niguel was arrested Sept. 1 on suspicion of one felony count of forcible rape, attempted forcible rape, sexual penetration with a foreign object by force, and distributing pornography to a minor, according to a news release from the Laguna Beach Police Department and Orange County district attorney's office. There is a sentencing enhancement for committing sexual offenses against more than one victim.
Maralan is a registered sex offender with the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
He faces a sentence of 34 years to life in state prison and is being held on $1 million bail. His arraignment was scheduled for Sept. 6.
The first reported assault occurred April 10, 2010, according to the news release. A 40-year-old woman went to the rug store, accompanied by her mother. While the woman's mother was at the front of the store filling out papers, Maralan allegedly led the victim to a closet. She reported to Laguna Beach police that he grabbed her, kissed her and pulled down his pants.
When she tried to get away, he allegedly pulled down her pants, grabbed her backside and attempted to rape her. She was able to fight him off but after she got away, he is accused of masturbating and ejaculating in her direction. The victim reported the sexual assault to police the same day.
On May 15, 2010, a 23-year-old store employee reported that Maralan asked her to go into a storage room where he then allegedly raped her from behind. The victim told a friend about the assault the same day and then reported it to police May 16, according to the news release.
On March 3, a 17-year-old female intern reported that Maralan asked her inappropriate questions about her sexual activity. Maralan then allegedly told the intern to look at his computer screen to see a picture of a girl that looked like her. Instead, the screen featured pornographic images. The victim walked out of the store, sat in her locked car and immediately reported the incident to authorities, according to the news release.
The most recent alleged assault occurred Aug. 13. A 25-year-old woman reported going to the store for a job interview and Maralan asked her for a hug and kiss. He allegedly pushed his erect penis, while clothed, against her when she complied. She also reported that he solicited her for sex multiple times and offered her $500 for sex. He allegedly rubbed himself while he asked. He is accused of hugging the victim again and pulling her against him. After she managed to pull away, he reportedly reached at her legs. The victim reported it the same day to Laguna Beach police.
None of the victims knew each other, according to Laguna Beach police and the D.A.'s office.
The first two victims reported the crimes but refused to cooperate with investigators, police said, adding that they asked the department drop the investigations. "Obviously, we don't just drop cases. With two outstanding cases, our detectives tried to talk to the victims into changing their minds," Kravetz said.
When that failed, police sent an undercover female detective into the store.
"She got into the back area with him. Right as he was about to go further, she stopped and left the store," Kravetz said.
The department used a second undercover female detective from another department who pretended to be a customer.
"He asked her out for dinner and asked if she would go to Europe with him … but he did not make any sexual moves on her," Kravetz said.
Kravetz said the investigation finally got a break when the 17-year-old intern came forward with exact details of him showing her online pornography. Police were able to verify the account with a forensic examination of the computer.
"He knew we were looking at him because of the search warrants in March 2011. But he still committed another assault after we did that," Kravetz said.
Potential victims or anyone with information should contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Lou Gutierrez at (714) 347-8794 or LBPD Dets. Natalie Leal or Julia Bowman at (949) 497-0377.
The Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.