Toby Willis’ Alleged Child Rape Victim Is a Relative, Reports Say
Agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation arrested the 46-year-old musician in Greenville, Ky., on Sept. 9, after he reportedly fled from his home in Ashland City, Tenn., to avoid capture. He has been charged with one count of rape of a child. According to People magazine, the TBI announced they were investigating Willis on Aug. 29 in relation to an alleged sexual encounter he had with an underage girl in Nashville a dozen years ago.
ABC Eyewitness News 7 in Chicago has obtained court paperwork from Tennessee that states Willis' alleged victim was a relative who was between the ages of nine and 12 years old at the time of the reported rape, according to an I-Team investigation.
Willis is being held without bond until his court hearing on Tuesday (Sept. 20).
Toby Willis, his wife Brenda and their 12 children first came to national attention competing on Season Nine of America’s Got Talent. The family music group starred for two seasons on the TLC reality series The Willis Family, which often spotlighted the family's conservative Christian beliefs.
Bill Speek, the attorney for Brenda Willis and her children, released the following statement from Brenda Willis on Wednesday (Sept. 14):
I was shocked and devastated by the revelation of events leading to Toby Willis' arrest. As these are very trying times for the Willis family, I kindly ask all to respect our family's privacy. As a mother of twelve, my first priority remains with my children and helping them through this traumatic event.
We are cancelling all appearances for the foreseeable future to focus on the children and their wellbeing. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
We have, and will continue, to fully cooperate with law enforcement officials and ask that you direct all inquiries regarding Toby Willis' case to the District Attorney's office who have our complete support.
TLC canceled The Willis Family after its second season ended in May, before any allegations against Toby Willis had surfaced. The network says a background check prior to the show revealed nothing unusual about any of the family members.
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