D.A. amends charges against rug store manager

The Orange County district attorney's office removed five of 14 charges against a former Laguna Beach rug store manager accused of multiple sexual crimes against women from 2007 to 2011, according to the prosecution's amended complaint.

Prosecutors dropped allegations related to sexual battery against Saeid Boustanabadi Maralan, 55, his defense attorney, John Barnett, said.

Maralan is still accused of seven felonies, including forcible rape, sexual penetration by a foreign object, sexual penetration by a foreign object by force, attempted forcible oral copulation, and distributing lewd material to a minor, according to the complaint filed April 29 in Orange County Superior Court.

Maralan is also accused of misdemeanor indecent exposure against two women, the complaint says.

In all, the felony and misdemeanor charges involve six alleged victims, who are mentioned by their first names only in the complaint.

Maralan pleaded not guilty to the amended complaint's nine charges Friday at Newport Beach's Harbor Justice Center, according to the court's website.

"In reviewing the case, I want to make sure the charges are in the best interest of proving the case," Deputy District Atty. Michael Carroll said.

Barnett acknowledged that even though sexual battery charges were dropped, his client still faces "serious" allegations.

"Yes, [dropping the charges] has significance, but I don't want to overstate it," Barnett said. "He still faces life in prison."

Many of the alleged crimes took place inside the Sirous & Sons Rug Gallery on Ocean Avenue, which is now closed.

A pre trial hearing is scheduled May 23 at the Harbor Justice Center.

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