Ruby Franke, a YouTube parent, apologized at the child abuse case sentencing

Ruby Franke, a YouTube parent, apologized at the child abuse case sentencing | Image Credit: wamu.org
Ruby Franke, a YouTube parent, apologized at the child abuse case sentencing | Image Credit: wamu.org

SALT LAKE CITY — Ruby Franke, a mother of six from Utah who previously gained millions of followers on her once-famous YouTube channel offering parenting advice, apologized tearfully to her kids for physically and emotionally abusing them before a court sentenced her to years, if not decades, in jail.

Franke further said that her business partner and fellow YouTuber had “manipulated” her.

Before standing to thank the local police, physicians, and social workers for being the “angels” who saved her children from her, Franke informed the judge that she would not appeal for a lower sentence. At the time, Franke claims Jodi Hildebrandt, her business partner, had a strong impact on her. Prior to entering into business with Franke, the Utah mental health counselor was employed to assist with her youngest son; he was likewise given four consecutive jail terms ranging from one to fifteen years.

However, because of a Utah state rule that regulates the length of sentences for successive crimes, the ladies will only serve up to 30 years in jail. The amount of time each will spend behind bars will be decided by the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole based on their actions while they were detained.

Not present at the St. George sentence court, Franke addressed her children, saying, “I’ll never stop grieving for injuring your precious souls.” “My readiness to give all up for you was deftly turned into something worse. All that was good, safe, and soft, I stole from you.”

In an attempt to persuade Franke’s two youngest children that they were wicked, possessed, and in need of punishment in order to repent, Franke, 42, and Hildebrandt, 54, each entered guilty pleas to four charges of severe child abuse. According to a 911 call made public by the St. George Police Department, the ladies were taken into custody at Hildebrandt’s home in the southern Utah city of Ivins in August after Franke’s 12-year-old son broke out through a window and urged a neighbor to contact the police.

The youngster had duct tape wrapped around his wrists and ankles and was skinny and covered in cuts. According to a search warrant, he informed authorities that Hildebrandt had tied ropes around his limbs and dressed his injuries with honey and chili pepper.

The setting in which Franke and Hildebrandt had placed the children was referred to by state prosecutor Eric Clarke as “a concentration camp-like setting,” a phrase most closely linked to the camps the Nazis set up throughout Europe to starve, abuse, and murder Jews and other minorities during the Holocaust.

Clarke stated that although Franke has shown regret and complied with legal counsel, Hildebrandt has not and still places the blame on the kids. During the court that was webcast live, Douglas Terry, Hildebrandt’s lawyer, stated that his client takes responsibility for her conduct and is not the heartless person that has been depicted.

Hildebrandt made a brief speech in which she expressed her love and desire for the children to recover, but she refrained from offering an apology. She reminded Judge John J. Walton that she chose to accept her plea bargain over a trial in order to save the children from having to testify about their pain.

As part of her plea agreement, the mental health counselor dropped two of the six charges of serious child abuse, and she entered a guilty plea to four of them in December. Franke entered pleas of not guilty to two and guilty to four of the six accusations against her.

Franke and her spouse, Kevin Franke, started their YouTube channel “8 Passengers” in 2015 and gained a lot of popularity while sharing their experiences as parents of six kids. Following that, she started working with Hildebrandt’s counseling business, ConneXions Classroom, where she gave parenting classes, started a new YouTube channel, and published posts on their joint Instagram account, “Moms of Truth.”

As part of her plea agreement, Franke acknowledged that she had kicked her kid while wearing boots, submerged his head, and covered his mouth and nose with her hands. Hildebrandt and she said that they also had him work long physical hours in the summer heat without much food or drink, which resulted in sunburns and exhaustion. The plea bargains state that the youngster was informed that everything being done to him was a gesture of love.

Hildebrandt has allegedly acknowledged forcing Franke’s 9-year-old youngest daughter to run barefoot on gravel roads until her feet burned and to repeatedly jump into cacti. Following the arrests, the girl and boy were brought to the hospital and, together with two of their siblings, placed into state care.

Ruby Franke was already a contentious character in the parent vlogging community before her arrest in 2023. Online criticism was leveled at the Franke family for a number of their parenting choices, such as keeping their eldest son out of his bedroom for seven months after he played a practical joke on his younger brother. In further recordings, Ruby Franke discussed how she threatened to chop off a little girl’s teddy animal’s head as a form of punishment for her chopping objects around the house and refused to bring lunch to a kindergartener who had forgotten it at home.

Following the closure of the “8 Passengers” YouTube channel, Kevin Franke filed for divorce.

Franke has thirty days to file an appeal against Hildebrandt’s sentence.

Source:
https://www.kpcc.org/npr-news/2024-02-20/youtube-mom-ruby-franke-apologizes-at-sentencing-in-child-abuse-case


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