'Willis Clan' patriarch arraigned on 4 counts of child rape

by Fox Entertainment

The star of TLC's "The Willis Family,” Toby Willis, was arraigned on four counts of child rape Monday.

The disgraced reality star pleaded not guilty to the charges and his trial is set to begin July 18, according to The Tennessean.

Willis was arrested in September and charged with one count of child rape after an alleged encounter with an underage girl 12 years ago. According to court documents obtained by Fox News in September, a relative accused the father-of-12 of sexual assault.

At the time of his arrest, Willis' wife Brenda released a statement saying, "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 12, my first priority remains with my children and helping them through this traumatic event."

"The Willis Family" premiered in 2015 on TLC and follows Willis, his wife and their children whose names all start with the letter "J." The network did not renew the series and its final episode aired in April 2016.

The family of entertainers first became known when they reached the quarterfinals on season 9 of "America's Got Talent" in 2014. Before their TLC show, they had a reality show on GAC called "The Willis Clan."

This isn’t the first time Discovery Communications has had to deal with a reality star scandal. Discovery Communications — which includes channels like TLC, The Discovery Channel, OWN and Animal Planet — has had similar accusations affect several of its shows.

Discovery Channel’s “Sons of Guns” was cancelled when star Will Hayden was arrested for aggravated rape of a minor, and TLC's "19 Kids and Counting" was shut down when news broke that one of the siblings featured on the show, Josh Duggar, had sexually assaulted several females.

Written by News Desk

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