Car dealer who helped foil robbery now accused of sexually assaulting child

January 3, 2013 8:49:27 AM PST
Rik Melartin became a local hero for what he did in his Bellaire home in February. Now, he's an accused criminal for what a teenager says happened at his Crosby car dealership.

A serious charge of sexual assault of a child has police looking for Melartin.

Melartin has open warrants for his arrest. According to court records, the alleged victim's stepfather was tipped off by an anonymous caller saying he knew what had happened to the teenager because Melartin's co-defendant was bragging about it.

Toting a pistol and proud of his nickname, "The Finnisher," the car dealer from Finland promised protection in his commercials after running down a robber in real life early last year.

"Not on my watch," he says in his commercial.

The campaign made sense, until he was accused.

"If there's a damsel in distress, I say not on my watch," he says in his commercial.

According to court records, Melartin -- the owner of John Keating Chevrolet -- and his assistant at the dealership, George Koutani, are charged with indecency with a child. Melartin is also accused of sexually assaulting the 16-year-old. She told investigators she was helping her mother clean last August when the two men gave her an energy drink laced with alcohol and touched her inappropriately.

In October, according to documents, Melartin took her upstairs and sexually assaulted her. After the incidents, he paid her a total of $500.

There was little activity at Melartin's dealership in Crosby on Wednesday, and no one answered at his home in Bellaire, where his heroics were once much talked about. But that was well before he wanted.

Court documents say the investigator has repeatedly made unsuccessful efforts to interview Melartin.

Melartin was already on probation for illegally operating a sexually oriented business. His attorney in that case did not return our calls for comment Wednesday.
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