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Laguna Beach rug store manager now charged in 8 sexual assaults

September 16, 2011 | 11:01 am

Photo: Saeid B. Maralan. Credit: Orange County District Attorney's office.

The manager of a Laguna Beach rug store was charged Friday with sexually assaulting four more women inside the store, doubling the number of alleged victims.

The new charges against Saeid Boustanabadi Maralan, 53, of Laguna Niguel, were the result of women coming forward after publicity after his arrest Sept. 1. 

Maralan, a registered sex offender who is being held on $2-million bail, now faces two felony counts of sexual battery by restraint, one felony count each of forcible rape, sexual penetration by a foreign object by force, attempted forcible oral copulation, false imprisonment and one misdemeanor count of indecent exposure. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in state prison.

Maralan manages the store, Sirous & Sons, in Laguna Beach. For more than a year and half, Laguna Beach police struggled to build a case against Maralan, who was convicted of molesting several woman in Los Angeles County in 1999 and 2002.

The investigation began when a 40-year-old woman reported on April 10, 2010, that he took her into a storage closet where he grabbed and kissed her. As she tried to flee, Maralan allegedly pulled down the victim’s pants and attempted to rape her, according to prosecutors.

An employee then alleged she was raped May 15, 2010, in a storage room when Maralan pushed her against a stack of rugs and assaulted her. The woman told a friend that night and reported the attack to Laguna Beach police the next day.

Lt. Jason Kravetz said the first two victims reported the crimes but shortly after refused to cooperate with investigators, and even went as far as to ask the department to drop the investigations. The police tried to corroborate the women’s reports by sending an undercover female detective into the

store. Then in March, a 17-year-old intern complained to police he showed her pornography. That allowed investigators to get a search warrant. But in August, Maralan allegedly molested a prospective employee. 

Prosecutors on Friday said the four new cases involve victims who know each other.

One of the four is a 51-year-old woman who lived in an upstairs unit over the store. Between May and July 2007, Maralan is accused of sexually assaulting her on several occasions when she had to go into the store.  On one occasion he is accused of wrapping his left arm around her and grabbing her breast.

Another of the four involves a 44-year-old hair stylist at the store in June 2009 to cut Maralan’s hair. Once she arrived, Maralan allegedly locked the front door and after she cut his hair he allegedly grabbed hold of her wrist and told her he loved her, was lonely, and needed a hug and a kiss.

In December 2009, a 35-year-old woman who had come into the store was allegedly groped by Maralan before she was able to flee.

And in April 2010 Maralan is accused of sexually assaulting and stripping a 48-year-old customer on rugs in a back room. When she tried to escape, prosecutors say Maralan grabbed her and raped her.

Maralan, who was rearrested Wednesday, is due in a Santa Ana courtroom Friday.


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-- Richard Winton

Photo: Saeid Boustanabadi Maralan. Credit: Laguna Beach Police Department