Ruby Franke Sentenced In Case

Ruby Franke, a popular YouTuber known for her parenting channel 8 Passengers, was sentenced to up to 30 years in prison on Tuesday for brutally abusing two of her own children in a ‘concentration camp-like setting’. The 42-year-old pleaded guilty last year to four counts of child abuse after one of her young children managed to escape and alert a neighbor to their suffering.

At the Utah 5th District Court, Judge John J. Walton handed down the sentence of between one to 15 years in prison for each count, with a maximum of 60 years in total. However, state law means that Franke can only serve a maximum of 30 years. Her business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, received the same sentence. Both women will serve their sentences in Utah State Prison.

Throughout the sentencing, Franke wept and apologized to her ex-husband, Kevin Franke, who was present in the courtroom, and her six children. She referred to her children as her ‘little chicks’ and said, ‘I took from you all that was soft and safe and good.’ She also expressed her remorse for ‘twisting god’s word and distorting his doctrines’, and stated her willingness to serve her time and ‘continue my learning until all my toxic layers are shed’.

The charges against Franke and Hildebrandt stem from a case last August when Franke’s 12-year-old child crawled out of a window of Hildebrandt’s home, malnourished and with tape on his ankles. He was rushed to the hospital and authorities found another malnourished child in the same home.

Both children claimed that Ruby and Jodi had been torturing and abusing them for months. The children were denied food and access to amenities, forced to do manual labor outdoors without proper shoes or clothing, and were regularly beaten and bound for trying to escape.

Chief Deputy Washington County Attorney Ryan Shaum described the situation as ‘some of the worst child abuse’ he had seen in nearly 30 years of prosecuting. He said the children were held in a ‘concentration camp-like setting’ for over three months and were regularly denied basic needs like food, water, and beds to sleep in. Shaum added that Hildebrandt regularly told the children that the abuse was necessary for them to ‘properly repent for imagined “sins”‘ and to get rid of ‘evil spirits’ from their bodies.

During her statement in court, Hildebrandt expressed her love for the children and her desire for them to heal both physically and emotionally. She said, ‘One of the reasons I did not go to trial is that I did not want them to emotionally relive the experiences that have been done to them.’ Outside of court, her attorney stated that she was not the person ‘portrayed to be’ and that she now accepts responsibility for her actions.

The sentencing of Franke and Hildebrandt has shed light on the extreme religious beliefs and practices that led to their brutal treatment of the children. Washington County Attorney Eric Clarke stated that the case is about ‘religious extremism’ and that the defendants believed the abuse was necessary in order for the children to ‘properly repent’. Ruby admitted to following Hildebrandt’s guidance and seeing her as a leader who communicated directly with God.

The couple, who were arrested in August and charged with six counts of felony child abuse, apologized to the children and their ex-husband for the suffering they caused. They also stated their willingness to serve their time in prison.

Franke’s ex-husband, Kevin Franke, said in a statement that he trusts the judge to hand down a sentence of 1-15 years for each count, with the Utah State Board of Pardons determining if the sentence should be shortened or other conditions imposed. As the case comes to a close, the focus now shifts to the healing and well-being of the traumatized children.