Toby Willis, the former TLC star and patriarch of The Willis Clan, was arraigned on four counts of child rape. On Monday, Willis pleaded not guilty to all four counts of child rape that allegedly happened 12 years ago with an unidentified underage girl, The Hollywood Gossip reports.
Toby Willis was arrested in September of last year after law enforcement completed an investigation into allegations that Willis raped a female minor a dozen years ago. When the arrest warrant was initially filed, Willis made headlines after he fled his home only to be found and arrested in Greenville, Kentucky, just hours before his family was due onstage to perform a show there.
— FullAct (@fullactnews) March 17, 2017
The name of the victim has never been released, but because of the reality TV show and the level of fame that the family has achieved, there has been speculation about who the girl might be who was accusing Willis of such a heinous act. The Daily Beast reported that Toby Willis’ alleged victim was a member of the Willis Family, but it is still unknown if it was one of his own children.
The investigation into the child rape charges against Toby Willis began on August 29 of last year. It was revealed that in Tennessee, where the Willis family resides, child rape charges apply when sex is forced on a minor between the ages of 3 and 12. Given that the accusations were made about an event that occurred 12 years ago, that would make the alleged victim between 15- and 24-years-old now.
It was reported at the time of his arrest that Toby Willis’ victim claimed she was “removed by Willis from her bed and raped.” That same report also said that “authorities confirmed Willis was not allowed to go around his biological children or his wife.”
TLC star Toby Willis is arraigned on child rape charges https://t.co/3NibH55tz3
— Lisa (@lisaindunedin) March 17, 2017
After Toby Willis was arrested and charged with child rape, The Willis Clan mom, Brenda Willis, canceled all upcoming performances and an attorney for the family issued a statement.
“I was shocked and devastated by the revelation of events leading to Toby Willis’ arrest. As these are very trying times for the Willis family, I kindly ask all to respect our family’s privacy. As a mother of twelve, my first priority remains with my children and helping them through this traumatic event.
“We are cancelling all appearances for the foreseeable future to focus on the children and their well-being. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We have, and will continue, to fully cooperate with law enforcement officials and ask that you direct all inquires regarding Toby Willis’ case to the District Attorney’s office who have our complete support.”
The Willis Clan gained fame after a stint on America’s Got Talent in 2014 where the talented family of 12 kids performed and gained a bit of popularity. That led to the TLC reality show that showcased the quasi-famous religious family. The case against Toby Willis has often been compared to another TLC scandal and the charges made against 19 Kids and Counting son Josh Duggar.
— The Ashley (@TheAshleysRR) December 1, 2016
As with the Josh Duggar scandal, and another TLC embarrassment, Mama June’s alleged affair with the convicted child molester, who went to prison for abusing one of her own children, The Willis Clan was immediately canceled once TLC caught wind of the shocking report. They issued a statement on the decision.
“TLC did not renew The Willis Family and new episodes have not aired since April 2016. We are shocked to hear this news.”
Now that Toby Willis has been arraigned and pleaded not guilty to the four child rape charges, his plea date is on July 11 and the trial will begin on July 18,
[Featured Image by Muhlenberg County Jail]