One-time neighborhood hero dubbed 'The Finnisher' accused of sexually assaulting teen

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by Andrew Horansky / KHOU.com

kens5.com

Posted on January 3, 2013 at 2:58 PM

CROSBY, Texas --  A man who made headlines last year after catching a burglar in his Bellaire neighborhood is now wanted on charges of sexually assaulting a teenage girl.

Rik Melartin, a 51-year-old Olympian from Finland, earned the nickname “The Finnisher” after he pulled a gun on an armed driveway robber who had held up his neighbor.

Later, he turned that brave act into a successful ad campaign for his car dealership.

Melartin, who owns the John Keating Chevrolet dealership in Crosby, and his assistant have been accused of having improper sexual contact with a 16-year-old girl who worked at the lot, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

Melartin was charged with sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child. His assistant, 37-year-old George Maroun Koutani, was charged with indecency with a child.

The teen, who worked as a receptionist at the lot, said she was approached by Melartin near closing time in early August. He offered her an open can of a Monster energy drink. The girl said the drink tasted funny, and Melartin later admitted to spiking it with alcohol, according to court documents.

After giving the girl the drink, Melartin allegedly told the girl he needed her to show Koutani something in the upstairs office. He followed the girl into the office and once inside, both men allegedly began to fondle her.

Later that month, Melartin allegedly gave the teen $200 to show him her naked body. He fondled her once again and exposed himself to her, investigators said.

On October 17, Melartin approached the teen again and, this time, allegedly had sex with her in the office.

“We went to dinner regularly. He’s met my mom when she’s come to visit, we’ve met his children,” said the victim’s mother who spoke with 11 News on condition of anonymity.

She said in hindsight, she believes that Melartin’s actions were premeditated.

This girl’s mother suspects there are other victims too.

“I feel that he’s paid his way out of it,” she said. “And I, I really feel that there are people out there that need to come forward so that Rik can be brought to justice.”

The girl’s father received a tip from an anonymous caller who said he overheard Koutani bragging about his encounter with the girl. The caller said he, too, was a father and would have wanted someone to look out for him in the same way.

The girl’s father and mother then confronted the teen about the allegations. The girl was taken to Texas Children’s Hospital for a medical examination and abrasions received through sexual contact were found.

The girl said she received at least $500 from Melartin following the three encounters.

The girl’s mother claimed Melartin soon tried to pay them off. They have since hired attorneys.

“It makes me angry and it makes me feel that it’s easier for him to pre-own victims because people are not aware of who he really is,” she said.

Koutani was arrested and released on bond.

Melartin hasn't been seen in days.

A call to Melartin on Wednesday was not returned. A receptionist hung up the phone at his Chevy dealership.

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