Former TLC star Toby Willis pleads guilty to child rape

Toby Willis (Courtesy: Cheatham County Jail Administrator)

CHEATHAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Toby Willis of TLC’s reality show “The Willis Family” pleaded guilty to four counts of child rape on Tuesday.

News 2 has learned he will serve 40 years.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation began investigating Willis on Aug. 29, 2016 about an alleged sexual encounter he had with an underage girl more than a decade ago.

He was then taken into custody Sept. 9.

Willis and his family were stars of the hit TLC reality show, “The Willis Family.” It followed the singing group, which consists of 12 children, as they performed around the country.

The Willis family released a statement through their attorney Tuesday afternoon, which said in part, “The Willis family would like to thank their family, friends and fans for the outpouring of love and support during this most difficult year… The family has remained fully cooperative throughout the investigation. The family is appreciative and grateful that people have respected their need for privacy during this trying time and asks for continued respect as they seek to move forward.”