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Former TLC star Toby Willis sentenced to 40 years in prison for child rape

July 12, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Former TLC star Toby Willis sentenced to 40 years in prison for child rape

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Former TLC star Toby Willis, of the Willis Clan fame, was sentenced to 40 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to four counts of raping a child.

The 46-year-old musician from Tennessee and married father-of-12 was hit with two 25-year prison sentences on two of the charges and two 40-year sentences on the other two. Those terms will be served concurrently, meaning that Willis will spend a total of 40 years in prison.

Willis has been in custody at the Cheatham County Jail since last September when he was arrested for the rape of a young girl that had taken place 12 years ago.

Toby’s wife Brenda and her family released a statement through their attorney on Tuesday thanking their fans for their support, TMZ reported.

Toby Willis, patriarch of TLC’s ‘The Willis Family,’ was sentenced after pleading guilty to child rape charges

“Although the criminal case has concluded with Toby Willis receiving 40 years, the impact on the victims will remain much longer,” the statement said.

The investigation into Willis was launched in August 2016 after a relative reported the rape to authorities.

Toby Willis was apprehended on September 9, 2016, in Kentucky, after trying to escape authorities in Tennessee. Investigators indicated that he had been hitchhiking through the state to flee from them.

During his arraignment in March, Willis denied ever raping a child. His guilty pleas on Tuesday had occurred a week before he was set to go to trial.

Willis, his wife, and their 12 kids got their claim to fame when they made it to the quarterfinals on America’s Got Talent in 2014.

TLC’s The Willis Family had aired for two seasons before it was canceled in April 2016 due to low ratings.

Producers said they had carried out comprehensive background checks on all of the family members and were ‘shocked’ by the allegations.

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