Rug merchant Saeid Boustanabadi Maralan was charged by Orange County prosecutors Tuesday with the sexual assault of four women, including forcible rape, and showing pornography to a minor in the downtown Laguna Beach rug store he manages.
Maralan, 33, was required to register as a sex offender in 2002, said Farrah Emami, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office.
Even so, Maralan’s name is not listed on the state attorney general’s website of registered sex offenders. Apparently some exceptions in the law allow individuals to avoid registering publicly.
Maralan did not enter a plea during a hearing Tuesday and his arraignment was postponed until Oct. 7. He was being held for $1 million bail because he is a flight risk, having traveled frequently to Iran, Laguna police Lt. Jason Kravetz said. If convicted, Maralan faces a maximum sentence of 34 years to life in state prison, prosecutors say. His attorney, Santa Ana’s Glenn Osajima, did not return phone calls seeking comment, but issued a statement saying his client is the not rug store’s owner but its manager.
Police and prosecutors are seeking the public’s help in identifying other potential victims.
Maralan, of Laguna Niguel, is charged with one felony count each of forcible rape, attempted forcible rape, sexual penetration by foreign object by force, and distributing pornography to a minor with a sentencing enhancement allegation for committing a sexual offense against more than one victim, prosecutors say.
Laguna Beach police arrested the manager of Sirous & Sons on Thursday, Sept. 1, after investigating the allegation of a teenage intern, who was subjected to watching pornography at the Ocean Avenue shop, Kravetz said.
Investigators, who obtained a search warrant for computers from the store in March, matched the girl’s claims to internal time stamps of porn site viewing on the computer, he said. Detectives were already investigating Maralan for two earlier sexual assaults that allegedly occurred last year. “It took a long time to put together a strong case,” Kravetz said, including awaiting results from the crime lab and winning the cooperation of victims.
Prosecutors identified the victims as Jane Doe 1, 2, 3 and 4. Maralan allegedly assaulted Jane Doe 1, a customer’s daughter, in a closet in April 21, 2010, while her mother filled out paperwork. Jane Doe 2 was an employee, who allegedly was raped in a storeroom on May 15, 2010. Jane Doe 3, a 17-year-old intern, was shown porn in March of this year. And Jane Doe 4, a prospective employee, was sexually assaulted on Aug. 13.
The felony charges against Maralan are the most serious he has faced. As a business man, though, he seemed immune to customer complaints such as one filed at ripoffreport.com on May 15, by SC Girl, who complained that the store owner refused to return her rugs after cleaning. A similar incident occurred at the store again last week.
On June 21, the City Council denied a $14 million claim from the store for damage due to December’s flooding.
Anyone with additional information or who believes they have been a victim is encouraged to contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Lou Gutierrez at (714) 347-8794 or LBPD Detectives Natalie Leal or Julia Bowman at (949) 497- 0377.