Toby Willis, above — father of a litter of 12 home-schooled kids – was arrested at the weekend and charged with the rape of an underage girl.
Willis and his conservative Christian brood first came to the attention of US TV viewers when they featured on TLC’s reality show The Willis Family.
A TLC spokesman is reported here as saying that the channel was “shocked” to learn that Willis, 46, had been arrested and charged by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) for raping the girl 12 years ago.
The Duggar-like musical family were the stars of their own reality show about traveling the country spreading the Christian gospel and performing country music.
However, due to poor ratings, TLC canceled the show in April.
Willis was apprehended in Kentucky where he fled in an attempt to evade arrest. He will be extradited to Tennessee’s Cheatham County Jail, where he will be held without bond.
Willis and his wife Brenda — like devout Baptists 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.
According to a site called God Updates:
If you thought raising 12 kids was impressive, Brenda went ahead and raised the bar by home schooling each one! As a college graduate and her high school’s valedictorian, she could have chosen to be a working mom. But she and Toby knew they wanted a big family, so Brenda chose to make her kids her career (which is clearly right where God wanted her).
God Updates adds:
Toby was a state champion wrestler, and just assumed he’d have all boys to follow in his wrestling footsteps. Then God sent him 8 girls and he was left asking, ‘What in the world do you do with daughters?’
The answer became clear after Toby and Brenda saw a performance of “Riverdance”.
As it turned out, the boys were just as talented in Irish dancing as their sisters and the siblings have performed all over the US and in Ireland.
Hat tip: Trevor Blake