TLC star Toby Willis arrested on child rape charge

Toby Willis (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

(CNN)– Authorities arrested the patriarch of the TLC reality television show, “The Willis Family,” for an alleged sexual encounter with an underage girl dating to 12 years ago.

Toby Willis, 46, was arrested Friday in Greenville, Kentucky. He was charged with one count of rape of a child and is being held without bond at a county jail in the same city, authorities said.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigations said it started looking into the case late last month and “developed information Willis had a sexual encounter approximately 12 years ago with an underage female.”

The investigation into the case “remains active and ongoing,” the TBI said in a statement. It offered no further details about the alleged crime.

TBI agents said Willis, whose show is based in Nashville, fled to neighboring Kentucky to avoid law enforcement. He will be extradited to Cheatham County in Tennessee, where he will be jailed without bond, authorities said.

Information on Willis’ attorney was not immediately available. CNN has reached out to his management team.

“We are shocked to hear this news,” TLC said in a statement when contacted by CNN.

TLC also confirmed that it has not renewed the show and that new episodes have not aired since April this year. By Saturday night the show’s page had been removed from the TLC website.

Willis’ reality show features him, his wife Brenda and their 12 children balancing their musical careers with life at home in Nashville.

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