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Ruby Franke will NOT appeal her prison sentence after being jailed for up to 30 years for horrific abuse of her two young children, attorney says


Disgraced YouTube mommy blogger Ruby Franke will not appeal her prison sentence after being jailed for up to 30 years for horrific abuse of two of her children, her attorney said.

Franke, 42, pleaded guilty last year to four counts of child abuse after one of her young children escaped and alerted a neighbor to their suffering. 

She was sentenced on Tuesday to between one to 15 years in prison for each count – up to 60 years in total – at Utah’s 5th District Court on Tuesday. 

State law means she will only serve a maximum of 30, but exactly how much will be determined by the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole.

‘As far as we know, Ruby Franke does not have any intentions of appealing the sentence,’ a spokesperson for Franke’s attorney at Winward Law told Today.com.

‘She has taken full responsibility for her actions and is prepared to serve her time in prison.’

Defendant Ruby Franke looks on during court on Tuesday in St. George, Utah. Franke, 42, pleaded guilty last year to four counts of child abuse after one of her young children escaped and alerted a neighbor to their suffering

Defendant Ruby Franke looks on during court on Tuesday in St. George, Utah. Franke, 42, pleaded guilty last year to four counts of child abuse after one of her young children escaped and alerted a neighbor to their suffering

Defendant Jodi Hildebrandt looks on during court on Tuesday in St. George, Utah

Defendant Jodi Hildebrandt looks on during court on Tuesday in St. George, Utah

The popular YouTuber was arrested along with her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt in August and charged with six counts of felony child abuse after one of her sons was discovered with open wounds and duct tape on their limbs

The popular YouTuber was arrested along with her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt in August and charged with six counts of felony child abuse after one of her sons was discovered with open wounds and duct tape on their limbs 

Franke, who has six children in total, broke down while speaking in court Tuesday as she apologized to her ‘little chicks’ and told the judge she was willing to serve her time.

Franke’s business partner Jodi Hildebrandt was handed down the same sentence on Tuesday. Both women will serve their sentences in Utah State Prison.

They have 30 days to appeal their sentences. It is not known if Hildebrandt plans to appeal hers.

Criminal ‘Momfluencer’ Franke became an internet sensation thanks to her YouTube channel 8 Passengers where millions of viewers watched how she and then-husband, Kevin Franke, raised, and disciplined, their six children.

But late last year, shocking claims emerged that Franke, a Mormon, had spent years abusing her children. 

Franke was arrested alongside her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt and the pair pleaded guilty in late December.

Chief Deputy Washington County Attorney Ryan Shaum said in a written statement on Tuesday that Franke and Hildebrandt’s actions amounted to ‘some of the worst child abuse’ he had seen in nearly 30 years of prosecuting. 

‘For over three months, the two children, ages 9 and 11-12, were held by their mother and her business partner in a concentration-camp setting. 

‘They were regularly denied food, water, beds to sleep in, and virtually all forms of entertainment. They were also prohibited from interacting with others and were hidden in the home when people came to visit.’

Former YouTube mommy blogger Ruby Franke sobbed in a Utah court on Tuesday as she was told she faces up to 30 years in jail for the brutal abuse of two of her own children

Ruby Franke, (left) who ran the now-defunct 8 Passengers channel, was arrested along with her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt (right) on August 30

Ruby Franke, (left) who ran the now-defunct 8 Passengers channel, was arrested along with her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt (right) on August 30

He added the children were forced to do manual labor outdoors in the extreme summer heat without shoes or socks. 

‘They were beaten, and the 12-year-old was bound hand and foot after he attempted to run away,’ he added.

In court, Franke broke down in tears as she told Kevin Franke, who was present in the courtroom, that he was the love of her life.

She said: ‘I’m sorry to leave you to finish what we both started together. The ending of our marriage is a tragedy and you were wrapped around my heart.’

Franke did not turn to face her ex-husband, who was moved to tears as he sat head bowed behind her in the courtroom. Beside him were Ruby’s oldest children, Chad and Shari.

She also apologized to her six children for the suffering she had caused them. ‘To my babies, my six little chicks. You are part of me. I can see now that over the past four years I was in a deep undercurrent that led us to danger. I would never have led you to darkness knowingly … I was led to believe that this world is an evil place.’

She added: ‘I took from you all that was soft and safe and good. I took from you your mother. How terrifying this must have been for you … You are so precious to me … I’m sorry.’

She told Judge Walton: ‘I am humbled and willing to serve a prison sentence … I understand this is going to take time.’

Ahead of sentencing on Tuesday, Ruby’s ex-husband Kevin Franke – who has previously demanded Hildebrandt pay for their children’s medical treatment – called for them to see jail time.

‘We trust the judge to sentence them both to 1-15 years for each of the four counts, to run consecutively, and then let the Utah State Board of Pardons decide if that should be shortened or other conditions imposed,’ his attorney said in a statement.

Jodi Hildebrandt pictured in court in December 2023. She had formerly been a mental health counselor in Utah

Jodi Hildebrandt pictured in court in December 2023. She had formerly been a mental health counselor in Utah

In court, Franke broke down in tears as she told her ex-husband, Kevin Franke, who was present in the courtroom that he was the love of her life

In court, Franke broke down in tears as she told her ex-husband, Kevin Franke, who was present in the courtroom that he was the love of her life 

Hildebrandt looked forlorn as she entered the courtroom in handcuffs on Tuesday morning.

Before her sentencing, she read out a brief statement in which she said she ‘sincerely loved’ the children she’d spent years abusing. She added: ‘I desire for them to heal physically and emotionally. 

‘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.’

She said she was willing to submit to what the ‘state feels will be an appropriate time’ for restitution.

Judge Walton reserved his ire for Hildebrandt during his sentencing, saying that her ‘philosophy in dealing with them frankly seems detached from reality by any objective standard of decency or common sense’.

He told her: ‘Your conduct in this case was disastrous. Adults are supposed to protect children … You didn’t do that in this case. In this case you terrorized children and the results have been tragic.’

Prior to sentencing, Franke had once again directed blame toward Hildebrandt.

‘For the past four years I have chosen to follow counsel and guidance that has led me to a dark delusion,’ she said.

She claimed that she ‘was led to believe that this world was an evil place.’

Before her sentencing, she read out a brief statement in which she said she 'sincerely loved' the children she'd spent years abusing

Before her sentencing, she read out a brief statement in which she said she ‘sincerely loved’ the children she’d spent years abusing

Franke broke down while speaking in court as she apologized to her 'little chicks' and told the judge she was willing to serve her time

Franke broke down while speaking in court as she apologized to her ‘little chicks’ and told the judge she was willing to serve her time

Hildebrandt’s guidance, she claimed, included tales of ‘government agencies that brainwash,’ and ‘husbands who refuse to protect.’

Despite the accusation, however, Franke said she took ‘full accountability for my choices and it is my preference that I serve a prison sentence’.

‘My charges are just as they offer safety to my family, accountability to the public,’ she added.

Franke also apologized for ‘twisting god’s word and distorting his doctrines’.

She added: ‘My greatest desire is to stand in his court someday spotless and confident.

‘I am committed to continuing my learning until all my toxic layers are shed.’

Prior to Hildebrandt’s sentencing, her attorney, Douglas Terry, claimed she ‘was not the person that she has been portrayed to be’.

Responding to claims by the prosecution that his client lacked remorse, Mr Terry said outside court that Hildebrandt now accepted responsibility for her actions, but that this had been ‘a process’.

Following the sentencing, Washington County Attorney Eric Clarke said: ‘This is a case about religious extremism. The defendants appear to have fully believed that the abuse they inflicted was necessary to reach the children how to properly repent for imagined ‘sins’ and to cast the evil spirits out of their bodies.

Both Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated child abuse, a second-degree felony

Both Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated child abuse, a second-degree felony 

The initial arrests occurred in August of last year after Franke's 12-year-old child crawled out of a window in Hildebrandt's home, malnourished and with tape on his ankles

The initial arrests occurred in August of last year after Franke’s 12-year-old child crawled out of a window in Hildebrandt’s home, malnourished and with tape on his ankles

‘Hildebrandt regularly stated that God communicated directly with her and gave her directions. Franke accepted Hildebrandt as her leader and followed her instructions and guidance.’ 

The prosecutor’s note went on to say that while in jail, these last five months, ‘Franke has shown considerable remorse for her horrific acts’.

It added: ‘Hildebrandt, on the other hand, continues to see herself as the victim. She views the devil, as well as the children, as the perpetrators.

‘In a recorded conversation after she pled [sic] guilty, Hildebrandt even compared herself to Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in her perceived unjust incarceration.’ 

The initial arrests occurred in August of last year after Franke’s 12-year-old child crawled out of a window in Hildebrandt’s home, malnourished and with tape on his ankles.

He made it to a neighbor’s house, where the Good Samaritan proceeded to call 911.

‘I just had a 12-year-old boy show up here in my front door asking for help,’ said the neighbor on the harrowing 911 call.

‘We know there’s been problems at this neighbor’s house. He’s emaciated. He’s got tape around his legs. He’s hungry and he’s thirsty.’

The initial arrests occurred in August of last year after Franke's 12-year-old child crawled out of a window in Hildebrandt's home, malnourished and with tape on his ankles

The initial arrests occurred in August of last year after Franke’s 12-year-old child crawled out of a window in Hildebrandt’s home, malnourished and with tape on his ankles

Ruby also admitted to kicking her son while wearing boots, holding his head under water and smothering his mouth and nose with her hands, according to the plea agreement

Ruby also admitted to kicking her son while wearing boots, holding his head under water and smothering his mouth and nose with her hands, according to the plea agreement

The child accused ‘Jodi’ of tying him up and using cayenne pepper as well as using honey to treat the wounds caused by the tape. 

He was rushed to a local hospital. Not long after, his 10-year-old sister was found in the same home, also malnourished.

Four of Franke’s minor children were immediately placed in protective custody. 

Judge John J. Walton accepted Franke’s plea agreement in December.

In the plea agreement, Ruby admits that she tortured her son from May 22 through August 30 by forcing him into hours of physical tasks, summer work outdoors without adequate water and ‘repeated and serious sunburns’ that blistered.

He was denied food or given very plain meals, and he was isolated from other people without access to books, notebooks or electronics.

After he tried to run away in July, his hands and feet were regularly bound, sometimes with handcuffs.

Ruby also admitted to kicking her son while wearing boots, holding his head under water and smothering his mouth and nose with her hands, according to the plea agreement.

‘He was also told that everything that was being done to him were acts of love,’ the agreement states.

Ruby acknowledged similarly abusing her nine-year-old daughter by forcing her to work outside, run on dirt roads barefoot, and go without food and water.

‘She was also repeatedly told she was evil and possessed, the punishments were necessary for her to be obedient and repent, and these things were being done to her in order to help her,’ the plea agreement said.

The girl ‘was convinced’ what her mother said was true, the agreement said.



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