It appears The Willis Family band is no more, at least for the foreseeable future, following shocking allegations against family patriarch, Toby Willis, of child rape.
According to reports, Toby Willis was charged with one count of child rape after a relative accused the reality star of sexual assault. And, the reality star has reportedly been ordered to stay away from his children and wife, as well.
For the time being, the family’s bread and butter, The Willis Family band, appears to be defunct, cancelling any and all scheduled appearances, according to a statement on FOX411, released by family matriarch, and wife of Toby, Brenda Willis, via her attorney:
“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 inquiries regarding Toby Willis’ case to the District Attorney’s office who have our complete support.”
Willis Family fans may be aware that the family had their chance at reality stardom on TLC recently, with the self-titled series, “The Willis Family.” The family, which lives just outside of Nashville, was thrust into the limelight after making it to the final rounds of “America’s Got Talent,” where everyone fell in love with their music and original sound; the YouTube video from their national performance alone garnered more than 6 million views. The series was a look at the family managing their professional music life along with the demands of a large family, consisting of wide-ranging ages of 12 children, all having names beginning with the letter “J.”
TLC released the following statement regarding the unfortunate events:
“TLC did not renew The Willis Family and new episodes have not aired since April 2016. The family was notified of the cancellation in May 2016. We are shocked by this alarming situation and deeply saddened for the family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
According to information released by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) this week, the TBI, at the request of 23rd District Attorney General Ray Crouch, began investigating Toby Nathaniel Willis (DOB 4-29-70) on August 29. During the course of the investigation, TBI Agents developed information Willis had a sexual encounter approximately 12 years ago with an underage female. TBI Agents arrested the 46-year-old in Greenville, Kentucky, where he traveled in an effort to avoid law enforcement, and charged him with one count of Rape of a Child.
The TBI release indicated that ongoing investigative efforts revealed Willis hitchhiked sometime between Monday, September 5, and Tuesday, September 6, from Shepherdsville, Kentucky, just south of Louisville, to Greenville, approximately 115 miles away. During the course of travel, Agents believe he accepted rides from at least two individuals. Agents would like to locate and speak with those individuals as part of the investigative process. Anyone with information that may be of assistance should contact the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.
Image: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation