Toby Willis, the dad from TLC’s The Willis Family, was arrested and charged with raping a child on Friday, September 9, Us Weekly has confirmed.
Agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, who began investigating the 46-year-old reality star on August 29, learned that Willis allegedly had a sexual encounter with an underage female approximately 12 years ago.
Willis was arrested Friday in Greenville, Kentucky, where the TBI claims he traveled in an attempt to avoid police. He was charged with one count of rape of a child.
The TV personality is being held at the Muhlenberg County Jail without bond on a fugitive from justice warrant. He will later be extradited to Cheatham County, where he will be held in the Cheatham County Jail without bond.
Willis, wife Brenda and their 12 children (eight girls and four boys, ages 5 to 24) first gained fame as a country music band when they reached the quarter finals on season 9 of America’s Got Talent in 2014. They later starred on two seasons of their own reality show, The Willis Family, on TLC.
“TLC did not renew The Willis Family, and new episodes have not aired since April 2016,” the network said in a statement to Us Weekly. “We are shocked to hear this news.”
“The family was told in May that the show would be canceled,” a source tells Us. “It didn’t do well in the ratings. The network does extensive background checks, but found no issues with Toby.”
This isn’t the first controversy surrounding a TLC reality show family. 19 Kids and Counting was canceled in July 2015 after it was revealed that the Duggar family’s eldest son, Josh Duggar, was under investigation for molesting five underage girls, including some of his sisters. A year earlier, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo was canceled after Mama June Shannon started dating a registered sex offender who had reportedly molested her daughter.
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