Back in September of 2016 the news broke that Toby Willis, the patriarch of TLC’s series The Willis Family had been arrested and charged with the rape of a child.
Now, new reports from the case are stating that Willis has been arraigned on four counts of child rape on Monday, March 13 in a Tennessee court. According to reports from The Tennessean, Willis pleaded not guilty to the charges and his trial is not set to begin until July 18. Originally, the former reality star was supposed to appear in court on May 31 after completing psychological testing as requested by his attorney, but the state has now chosen to present its case to the March grand jury.
Willis, who starred on The Willis Family with his wife Brenda and their 12 children, has now been in Cheatham County Jail since his arrest in September. Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents arrested Willis in Kentucky on the suspicion that he had raped a young girl in Nashville about 12 years ago. The arrest came after he fled his home in Ashland City, Tennessee in an effort to avoid police.
Willis along with his family first rose to fame when they competed on season nine of America’s Got Talent as a family band. TLC then picked the family up for their own series which ran for two seasons before being in cancelled in 2016. The announcement of the cancellation came days after Willis’ arrest, but the show had been cancelled well before the shocking and disturbing case against him came to light.
“TLC did not renew The Willis Family, and new episodes have not aired since April 2016. We are shocked to hear this news,” the network said in a statement.
As for Willis’ wife and children, an insider told People that “they are truly hurting and trying to figure out how to carry on with their lives.”