Toby Willis, ‘The Willis Family’ Star, Pleads Guilty To Raping A Child, Gets 40 Years In Prison
Father of the “Willis Clan” Toby Willis plead guilty to four counts of child rape on Tuesday in a Tennessee court. He will receive two 25-year sentences on two counts and two 40-year sentences on the other two. All four sentences will be served concurrently and at full, giving the former TLC star 40 total years in prison, according to the Tennessean.
Willis was first arrested in September as part of an investigation involving the rape of a 12-year-old girl, 12 years ago. The 47-year-old was initially hit with one criminal charge at the time but the other three were added later. He was nabbed by police in Kentucky while attempting to evade arrest.
Willis has been in the Cheatham County Jail in Tennessee since September.
The felon’s rise to fame came after a 2014 appearance on America’s Got Talent in which his 12 children performed together as a band. Dubbed “The Willis Clan,” Willis and his family were given a short-lived reality television show on TLC about their life together as a family and a band. The show lasted two season and was cancelled during the time Willis was arrested in 2016.
At the time, TLC denied the cancellation of The Willis Family, as it was called, had anything to do with its patriarchs’ arrest, instead pointing to suffering ratings.
Willis is the third TLC star in the past year to be embroiled in a child sex scandal – Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and 19 Kids And Counting both saw cancellations after sex scandals. In fact, The Willis Family replaced 19 Kids and Counting after it was pulled from the air.
The Willis Family is no longer available on any TLC platform, digital or social.
Through a lawyer, Brenda Willis, wife of Toby, made a statement concerning the sentencing.
“The Willis family would like to thank their family, friends, and fans for the outpouring of love and support during this most difficult year. Additionally, the Willis family would like to thank the many members o law enforcement for their detailed and comprehensive investigation of this matter. Finally, the family would like to thank the District Attorney’s office for their diligence and sensitivity in the handling of this case.”
The statement continued, “The family has remained fully cooperative throughout the investigation. Although the criminal case has concluded with Toby Willis receiving 40 years for the crimes he committed, the impact on the victims will remain much longer. The family is appreciative and grateful that people have respected their need for privacy during this trying time and asks for continued respect as they seek to move forward.”
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