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Family YouTube Vlogger Ruby Franke Sentenced In Child Abuse Case

FILE – Images from this video show Ruby Franke during a hearing on Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, in St. George, Utah. A Utah judge ruled on Tuesday, February 20, 2024, that Franke, a mother of six who once gave parenting advice through her popular YouTube channel “8 Passengers,” and her business partner. After pleading guilty to each of the four charges, they will be sentenced to prison. Charges of aggravated child abuse for physically and emotionally abusing Franke’s children. (Ron Chaffin/St. George News, via AP, Pool, File)

OAN’s Elizabeth Bolbelding
11:15am – Tuesday, February 20, 2024

A Utah district judge sentenced former family Youtube vlogger Ruby Franke to four terms in prison. The sentence of one to 15 years in prison ended a months-long child abuse case against the mother of six children.

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Ruby Franke, a mother who gained popularity online for her parenting advice on her YouTube channel 8 Passengers, has been charged along with her business partner with assaulting her children “physically and emotionally.”

A Utah court is expected to decide on the exact prison sentences for the two men on Tuesday. Franke’s length of incarceration will also be determined by the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole.

Franke and mental health counselor Jody Hildebrandt tried to convince Franke’s two youngest children that they were evil, possessed, and needed to be punished.

That led to their guilty pleas to four counts of aggravated child abuse, allowing them to speak for the first time at back-to-back sentencing hearings in southern Utah. The two women entered into plea deals with Judge John J. Walton, in which they received prison terms and detailed explanations of their charges.

During her sentencing hearing, Franke broke down in tears and apologized to her children, the audio of which was livestreamed on the Utah court’s website.

“I believed…that darkness was light and right was wrong,” Franke said. “I would do anything in this world for you. I robbed you of everything soft and safe and good.”

Franke also acknowledged Judge John Walton and the court.

“For the past four years, I have chosen to follow advice and guidance that has led me into dark delusions,” she said. “My distorted reality went largely unchecked to isolate myself from anyone who challenged me.”

Franke’s business partner, Hildebrandt, is also expected to receive a term. In December 2023, after being indicted on six felony counts of child abuse, the two women entered guilty pleas to four counts of second-degree aggravated child abuse.

Police first discovered in August 2023 that one of Franke’s sons was malnourished, had open wounds, and was restrained with duct tape. As a result, Franke and Hildebrand were arrested.

Franke’s son had fled, leaving the Hildebrandt mansion and going to a neighbor’s house, begging for food and water. At Hildebrandt’s house, one of Franke’s daughters was found similarly malnourished.

Franke posted recordings of herself threatening to throw away her children’s valuables and refusing to feed her then-6-year-old daughter lunch when the child forgot to pack her own food. , was exposed to great criticism.

Although Franke is far from an A-list celebrity, her case attracted a lot of media attention. Online commenters voiced their opinions on the matter, saying it helped her bring back attention to the negative aspects of her family vlogging channel.

Franke gained notoriety on YouTube with her now-defunct channel 8 Passengers, which had 2.3 million subscribers on the video platform. Additionally, Franke and Hildebrand frequently collaborated on controversial parenting and relationship advice videos. Some viewers had already called the police due to Frankes’ harsh parenting style.

Franke has been held without being allowed to post bail since his arrest. Franke contacted her family in December 2023 and said they were attempting “her personal growth and rehabilitation” by making amends with her, according to her law firm, which is representing her. said.

Additionally, Franke’s lawyers say that Hildebrandt “systematically isolated” Franke from his family for an extended period of time, leading Franke to develop a “distorted sense of morality” under Hildebrandt’s influence. He said it had become.

Additionally, Ruby’s husband Kevin Franke filed for divorce in November 2023. In September, his lawyer Randy Kester explained to the media that the two had been living apart for 13 months “at Ruby’s direction.”

During the divorce filing, Ruby’s lawyer said that although she was “devastated” by the news, she appreciated Kevin’s decision and understood his logic. Her statement also emphasized that she stands ready to “cooperate fully” to reunite her children with their father.

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