Zavalla police: Father fought with suspect accused of sexually assaulting his child

Zavalla police: Father fought with suspect accused of sexually assaulting his child
Robert Peden (Source: Angelina County Jail website))

ZAVALLA, Texas (KTRE) - A suspect in a child sexual assault case is in custody after he allegedly went to the victim’s house in Zavalla to talk to him or her and wound up getting into a fight with the child’s father on Sept. 21.

Robert Eugene Peden,37, of Zavalla, is still being held in the Angelina County jail on an aggravated sexual assault of child charge, two indecency with a child by sexual contact charges, an evading arrest charge, and a criminal trespass charge.

Collectively, Peden’s bond amount has been set at $203,500.

According to a press release, the Zavalla Police Department started looking into allegations that Peden and sexually abused a child under the age of 14. Between the investigation and witness statements, law enforcement officers determined that Peden had touched the victim inappropriate several times over the past few months, the press release stated.

Then on Sept. 21, Zavalla Police Chief Chris Wade and Angelina County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched out to a home on Highway 69 south in the Zavalla city limits, which is in the Zavalla city limits, about a criminal trespass in progress.

When Wade and the ACSO deputies got to the scene, they learned that Peden had been outside the residence trying to talk to the victim, the press release said. After the victim ran back into the house, Peden allegedly entered the home without permission and tried to hide in a utility room.

The father confronted Peden inside the house, and a fight ensued, the press release stated. After the fight, Peden allegedly ran outside and hid in a nearby wooded area until law enforcement arrived on the scene.

Peden managed to evade Wade and his officers, but they found him at a local business later on Sept. 21 and took him into custody without any further incident. Peden was then taken to the Angelina County Jail.

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