YouTube Parenting Influencer Receives 60-Year Sentence for Child Abuse

"I will never stop crying again for hurting your tender souls. Now I am ready to serve a prison sentence." – Ruby Franke
Ruby Franke
Ruby Franke

Ruby Franke, a Utah-based YouTube influencer known for her parenting advice, has been sentenced to at least four years in prison for child abuse. The 42-year-old mother tearfully apologized in court, having pleaded guilty to starving and abusing her own children.

Her former business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, 54, received the same sentence. The judge imposed four terms of one to 15 years each, with the sentences to run consecutively.

Ruby Franke
Ruby Franke

Prosecutor's Statement

Utah prosecutor Eric Clarke emphasized the severity of the abuse, stating that the children were regularly denied basic necessities such as food, water, proper sleeping arrangements, and entertainment. Clarke characterized Franke as a significant threat to the community.

The court proceedings revealed the awful conditions of Franke's children, who were aged nine and eleven at the time, lived, describing it as a "concentration camp-like setting."

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Franke's Apology

During the court hearing, she expressed remorse and apologized to her children. She claimed to have been disoriented, believing that "dark was light and right was wrong." And she even said, "I was led to believe that this world was an evil place, filled with cops who control, hospitals that injure, government agencies that brainwash, church leaders who lie and lust, husbands who refuse to protect and children who need abuse,"

Ruby Franke
Ruby Franke

Arrest and Police Records

The arrests occurred in August 2023 after Franke's malnourished 12-year-old son escaped Hildebrandt's house, seeking help from a neighbor.

According to police records, the toddler had wounds from being tied up with a rope.

Franke's controversial YouTube career came to an end, after she gathered over two million followers to her channel.

YouTube Controversies

Franke's downfall began in 2020 when viewers raised concerns about her parenting methods, including withholding food, threats of violence towards toys, and canceling Christmas as punishment.

A petition demanding an investigation garnered numerous times, prompting Utah's child protection agency to be involved. However, no legal action was taken at the time.

Franke and her husband originally dismissed the criticism, claiming that some of their clips were taken out of context.

Ruby Franke
Ruby Franke

Hildebrandt's Channel

The old channel's popularity declined, leading to its deletion in 2022, coinciding with Franke's separation from her husband.

After the deletion of her channel, Franke appeared in videos posted by Hildebrandt on her site, ConneXions Classroom.

Contrary to the family friendly image presented on YouTube, Franke's children were enduring even harsher abuse behind the scenes. The abuse included tying them up, physical beatings, neglecting to provide healthy food, and forcing them to work outdoors without sunscreen, resulting in serious sunburn.

Plea Agreement and Ex-Husband's Plea

In a plea agreement, Hildebrandt admitted her guilt for torturing the children's and being aware of the abuse.

One shocking revelation was her forcing one of Franke's daughters to "jump into a cactus multiple times."

Franke's ex-husband, Kevin Franke, through his lawyer, called for the maximum sentence, describing the abuse suffered by his children as "horrific and inhumane."

Ruby Franke
Ruby Franke

Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt's imprisonment concludes a disturbing chapter of online influence and parenting advice.

The story serves as an alarming reminder of dangers hiding behind seemingly ideal social media personas. As the legal process progresses, the fate of these children and the accountability of those responsible will be closely monitored. 

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Vikatan English