The TLC show, The Willis Family patriarch, Toby Willis, was arraigned in Tennessee court on Monday, March 13, on four counts of child rape.
Willis pleaded not guilty and will reportedly have his day in court beginning July 18. Willis was arrested last September on one count of child rape after an alleged sexual encounter with an underage girl, 12 years ago. Willis fled the state and hitchhiked to Kentucky.
The warrant obtained from the Muhlenberg County District Court in Kentucky read in part that Willis “unlawfully violated the laws of Tennessee having been charged the commission of a crime (rape of a child) and having fled from justice.”
At the time of the original arrest, Willis’ wife released a statement asking for privacy for her and her 12 children.
“As these are very trying times for the Willis family, I kindly ask all to respect our family’s privacy. As a mother of 12, my first priority remains with my children and helping them through this traumatic event.”
The Willis Family show premiered in May 2015 after the musical family was discovered on America’s Got Talent. After two seasons, The Willis Family was not renewed and new episodes were not shown in April 2016, after the rape allegations surfaced.
The couple’s children, 8 boys and 4 girls, aged 6 – 24, all have names beginning with the letter J.