Toby Willis has been sentenced to 40 years in prison after pleading guilty to four counts of child rape. Willis appeared on The Willis Family on TLC in 2015 and 2016 prior to his arrest. His family rose to fame due to their large size and musical abilities, calling themselves The Willis Clan for performances.
On Tuesday, Toby Willis learned of his prison sentence after turning in his guilty plea. The short-lived reality star may only have to serve 40 years in prison because he is being allowed to serve multiple terms concurrently.
Willis received two 40-year sentences and two 25-year sentences to cover all four of the child rape charges according to Cheatham County Circuit Court Clerk Julie Hibbs. It was reportedly part of Willis’ plea deal to be able to serve all four sentences at the same time and possibly even live to walk out of prison.
The 47-year old Toby Willis was arrested in September 2016 in Greenville, Kentucky on one charge of child rape. Willis fled to Kentucky from his home in Ashland City, Tennessee in an attempt to evade law enforcement when the original charges were filed.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said in a statement that agents started investigating Toby Willis after he was accused of having a sexual relationship with a girl who was younger than 12 years old. The abuse reportedly happened over a decade prior to his arrest.
Toby Willis, his wife Brenda and their crew of 12 children began their climb to fame after appearing on America’s Got Talent in 2014. Touring and performing as The Willis Clan, Toby’s large family were being compared to the Partridge Family.
It was The Willis Clan’s performance on AGT that got the attention of TLC, ultimately winning them a show on the network. Sadly, after the father’s arrest, TLC canceled the show after only two seasons.
As with many other actors and entertainers who have been convicted of sexual offenses like Toby Willis, TLC has removed any content from The Willis Family reality TV show from their website and other content platforms.
After the sentencing on Tuesday, an attorney for the Willis Family released a statement and thanked their fans for the “love and support.”