Toby Willis, Former TLC Star, Arraigned on Child Rape Charges
Toby Willis, the patriarch of a family who formerly starred in its own TLC series, has been arraigned on four counts of child rape on Monday in Tennessee.
According to The Tennessean newspaper, Willis pleaded not guilty to the charges and his trial will begin on July 18.
The ex-reality star was arrested in September after authorities completed their investigation into an alleged sexual encounter he had an underage girl a dozen years ago.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigations confirmed last fall that Willis fled his home in Ashland County to avoid arrest at the time and was eventually apprehended by the police in Greenville, Kentucky.
The victim’s name has not yet been released, but The Daily Beast followed up initial reports by speculating that the individual may have been one of Willis’ own kids.
The website wrote in September that a “child rape” charge only enters into the conversation in Tennessee if the alleged victim is between the ages of 3 and 12.
Moreover, court documents obtained by FOX411 a few months back stated outright that the alleged victim is a female Willis family member.
Toby and his wife are the parents to eight kids, although it remains possible the victim could have been an outside relative, such as a niece.
Elsewhere, Nashville’s Newschannel 5 reported on other lewd details of the alleged incident back when this scandal was making major headlines in September.
“The report stated she was removed by Willis from her bed and raped,” the station claimed, adding:
“The reports added unlawful penetration by Willis took place when the child was older than 3 but younger than 13…
“Authorities confirmed Willis was told he was not allowed to go around his biological children or his wife.”
Toby Willis and his family previously starred on TLC’s The Willis Family, which ran for two seasons, after rising to fame while competing on season 9 of America’s Got Talent.
Willis set to appear in court on May 31 after completing psychological testing requested by his attorney.
However, the state chose to present its cause to the March grand jury, Circuit Court Clerk Julie Hibbs told the newspaper.
Shortly after Toby’s arrest, wife Brenda issued the following statement:
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 well-being. 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 inquires regarding Toby Willis’ case to the District Attorney’s office who have our complete support.