Father of 6 arrested for sexually assaulting teen, after wife charged with child neglect

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A Norfolk, Virginia father of six is accused of sexually assaulting a teenager.

Robert Vela, 42, was arrested last month after a 16-year-old girl told police that he sexually and physically attacked her.

The victim told investigators that the assault happened on Oct. 26 around 8:30 p.m. while inside a home on Norland Circle.

The arrest comes just months after Vela’s wife, Amy, was charged with child neglect.

Amy Vela was arrested in May after allegedly leaving the couple’s six children, ranging in age at the time from 5 months to 10 years old, at home alone. At the time, Robert defended her, telling 10 On Your Side “my kids are wonderful because of Amy.”

On Thursday, one of Robert Vela’s neighbors told 10 On Your Side that the new allegations are shocking. The neighbor, asking to remain anonymous, said that the suspect is a loving father to his kids.

“He really tries to do what’s in their best interest, so this is a shock,” the neighbor said.

10 On Your Side has learned that the couple’s six children have been turned over to other family members.

Amy Vela is due back in court next November.

Robert Vela was denied bail. He has a hearing set for Jan. 14

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