Willis Clan Patriarch Arrested for Alleged Child Rape
Toby Willis, the father of the country music group the Willis Clan, has been arrested on child rape charges in Kentucky.
The family music group starred for two seasons in the TLC reality series The Willis Family, which chronicled the adventures of the 14-member group. According to People magazine, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations announced they were investigating 46-year-old Willis on Aug. 29, after an alleged sexual encounter he had with an underage girl in Nashville a dozen years ago came to light.
TBI agents reportedly arrested Willis in Greenville, Ky., on Friday (Sept. 9), after he allegedly fled from his home in Ashland City, Tenn., to avoid capture. He has been charged with one count of rape of a child.
Toby Willis, his wife Brenda and their 12 children first came to national attention when they competed on Season Nine of America's Got Talent. The second season of their show on TLC ended on April 19. The network tells People that The Willis Family has been canceled, adding, "We are shocked to hear the news" of the arrest. According to one source, the show was canceled in May of 2016, shortly after wrapping up its second season and before any allegations against Willis became public.
The source tells People that TLC had no knowledge of anything untoward in Willis' past.
"The network performed extensive background checks on all the family [members] and found no issues. Obviously this is something they were never aware of," the source says.
The family's conservative Christian beliefs were spotlighted on their show.
"We try to just kind of stay true to what the Bible says and live that in a very loving, nonjudgmental way without pushing that on anyone else," Brenda Willis told People in 2015.
Accorsing to the TBI, Toby Willis is being held without bond in the Muhlenberg County Jail in Kentucky as a fugitive from justice. He will be moved to Cheatham County Jail in Ashland City, Tenn., where he will also be held without bond.
Country Music Mug Shots