TLC, home of ‘What Not To Wear’, ‘Toddlers in Tiaras’ and the ever disputed ‘Here Comes Honey Boo Boo’ has been the center of a great deal of controversy over the years. Their reality shows, which often focus on families with unusual lifestyles, often put ‘ordinary people’ in the spotlight. Which means that when those same people make mistakes or reveal dark secrets, the whole world knows about it in a matter of minutes.
In the same way that Josh Duggar, of TLC’s ’19 Kids And Counting’, was publicly shamed by the sibling molestation scandals that surrounded him, another TLC reality TV star has been accused of a sexual crime. This time it’s none other than 45-year-old Toby Nathaniel Willis of ‘The Willis Family‘ who is said to have sexually abused an underage minor some years ago, before finding fame on the show.
According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Willis, who is originally from Ashland City in Tennessee, was arrested in Greenville, Kentucky while attempting to avoid law enforcement. He is currently being held without bond in the Muhlenberg County Jail in Kentucky, on a fugitive from justice warrant. He will remain there until the details of his extradition back to Cheatham County, Tennessee can be worked out.
Willis has been charged with a single count of Child Rape, according to numerous media sources. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says that the investigation into Willis began on August 29th, and discovered that he had been involved in a sexual encounter about 12 years ago, with an underaged female.
Willis appeared in court on Monday, where he chose not to oppose extradition, which means that the state of Tennessee has 60 days to collect him in order to press charges. Very few details have been released by the prosecutor’s office, or police, about the case. As of yet, we have no idea where this alleged sexual encounter took place, or what the alleged victim’s relationship is to Willis.
In a statement to the press after Willis’ arrest, TLC has announced that the show is now cancelled. The Network, which had apparently planned to cancel the show due to ratings before Willis was arrested, said they were shocked to hear of the accusations against him.
“The family was told in May that the show would be canceled. It didn’t do well in the ratings.” They announced, but went on to say that the network does extensive background checks, but found no cause for concern with Willis.
Because charges differ from state to state, it is important to remember, as a Michigan reader, that we do not have a charge called “child rape” here in Michigan. All sex crimes of that nature are charged as a specific degree of Criminal Sexual Conduct. In this case, because the victim is under the age of consent, and there was penetration, it would likely be charged as First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct.