Toby Willis, the father on TLC’s Christian reality show “The Willis Family” is sentenced to 40 years in prison for child rape.
Willis, father of 12 children, pleaded guilty to four counts of child rape on Tuesday. Before being arrested and charged last September with the rape of a young girl Willis starred in the TLC reality show “The Willis Family.”
Commenting on the story, Joe.My.God. reports:
Willis and his wife Brenda — like Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar — are Quiverfull parents, adherents to a Christian dominionist sect that encourages married couples to produce as many offspring as possible in order to raise an army of believers.
The word “Quiverfull” comes from the Old Testament Psalms of the Christian Bible. Psalm 127 says, “Children are a blessing from the Lord…happy is the man who has his quiver full of them.”
Indeed, before being pulled off the air, the TLC program about the Willis family was promoting the radical conservative Christian movement known as Quiverfull, a movement where children are raised to be cannon fodder in the Lord’s army: culture warriors bred to promote an ugly, intolerant, sexist, and homophobic brand of Christian extremism.
HuffPost reports on the family’s background and rise to stardom in the world of Christian entertainment:
Willis, his wife, Brenda, and their 12 musically-inclined children became household names after they appeared on Season 9 of “America’s Got Talent” in 2014. The parents and their kids, then ranging in ages from 5 to 24, performed under the name The Willis Clan and were frequently compared to a “modern-day Partridge family.” The clan eventually landed their own show on TLC…
HuffPost goes on to note that since the criminal complaints were raised against the family patriarch, TLC has tried to erase their connection with the family:
“The Willis Family” has since been removed from all digital and social platforms on TLC.
Previously TLC cancelled “19 Kids and Counting,” another Christian reality show that promoted the Quiverfull movement, after it was revealed that Josh Duggar sexually assaulted four of his underage sisters plus an additional underage female victim.
People reports on the details of the sentencing for Willis:
Willis received 25-year sentences on two of the rape counts and 40-year sentences on the other two counts, according to Julie Hibbs, the circuit court clerk in Cheatham County, Tennessee.
Hibbs tells PEOPLE the four sentences will run concurrently and be served in their entirety — meaning Willis, a 47-year-old father of 12, will be in prison for 40 years.
Bottom line: Christian reality show star Toby Willis is sentenced to 40 Years for child rape. A man who was valorized by conservative Christians as a model father and a credit to the faith winds up being a sexual predator and a child rapist. Tragic, but not surprising. And, as always, it is the children who suffer.