YouTuber Ruby Franke breaks down in court as she's ordered to serve up to 60 years in prison for child abuse charges

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By James Kay

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Ruby Franke broke down in court as she was handed a maximum sentence of up to 60 years behind bars on child abuse charges.

The 42-year-old, who amassed a substantial following of over 2.3 million subscribers on her controversial YouTube channel, 8 Passengers, faced allegations of starving two of her children.

Franke's arrest in August gained attention when her 12-year-old son, visibly emaciated and seeking help, approached a neighbor for food and water, bearing signs of restraint.

Prompted by a distressing 911 call, authorities intervened, leading to the immediate hospitalization of the child due to the severity of his condition.

Insider reported that some viewers called child protective services in 2015 when their son Chad, then 15, said he had slept on a beanbag for seven months.

The allegations arose after a video surfaced, now deleted, where their teenage son revealed that sleeping on the beanbag for seven months was a punishment.

Franke and her husband claimed they offered Chad alternative sleeping arrangements, but he chose the beanbag.

Franke and her former business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, 54, appeared in court together and received identical sentences. Both women were sentenced to serve four terms of one to 15 years each, with the sentences to run consecutively, marking the maximum penalty for each count under Utah law.

Addressing the prison term of up to 60 years, Franke told the court: "I am humbled and willing to serve a prison sentence for as long as I need. I am committed to unlearning my toxic behavior," per the Guardian.

Franke also acknowledged regret for distorting religious teachings, stating: "I sincerely loved these children... One of the reasons I didn’t go to trial is I didn’t want them to relive this."

Franke apologized to her children, saying she had “believed dark was light and right was wrong. I would do anything in this world for you. I took from you all that was soft, and safe and good.”

Franke also told the court in an emotional state: “For the past four years, I’ve chosen to follow counsel and guidance that has led me into a dark delusion,” she said. “My distorted version of reality went largely unchecked as I would isolate from anyone who challenged me.”

She continued: "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.

"Jodi Hildebrandt was never my business partner, nor was I ever employed by her. I have never received wages from her or connections. Jodi was employed as my son's counselor, in 2019 and in 2020, I paid her to be my mentor."

Franke went on: "It is important to me to demonstrate my remorse and regret without blame. I take full accountability for my choices, and it is my preference that I serve a prison sentence."

Franke's attorney, LaMar Winward, alleged that Hildebrandt systematically isolated Franke from her family and husband, Kevin Franke.

Featured image credit: Marilyn Nieves/Getty

YouTuber Ruby Franke breaks down in court as she's ordered to serve up to 60 years in prison for child abuse charges

vt-author-image

By James Kay

Article saved!Article saved!

Ruby Franke broke down in court as she was handed a maximum sentence of up to 60 years behind bars on child abuse charges.

The 42-year-old, who amassed a substantial following of over 2.3 million subscribers on her controversial YouTube channel, 8 Passengers, faced allegations of starving two of her children.

Franke's arrest in August gained attention when her 12-year-old son, visibly emaciated and seeking help, approached a neighbor for food and water, bearing signs of restraint.

Prompted by a distressing 911 call, authorities intervened, leading to the immediate hospitalization of the child due to the severity of his condition.

Insider reported that some viewers called child protective services in 2015 when their son Chad, then 15, said he had slept on a beanbag for seven months.

The allegations arose after a video surfaced, now deleted, where their teenage son revealed that sleeping on the beanbag for seven months was a punishment.

Franke and her husband claimed they offered Chad alternative sleeping arrangements, but he chose the beanbag.

Franke and her former business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, 54, appeared in court together and received identical sentences. Both women were sentenced to serve four terms of one to 15 years each, with the sentences to run consecutively, marking the maximum penalty for each count under Utah law.

Addressing the prison term of up to 60 years, Franke told the court: "I am humbled and willing to serve a prison sentence for as long as I need. I am committed to unlearning my toxic behavior," per the Guardian.

Franke also acknowledged regret for distorting religious teachings, stating: "I sincerely loved these children... One of the reasons I didn’t go to trial is I didn’t want them to relive this."

Franke apologized to her children, saying she had “believed dark was light and right was wrong. I would do anything in this world for you. I took from you all that was soft, and safe and good.”

Franke also told the court in an emotional state: “For the past four years, I’ve chosen to follow counsel and guidance that has led me into a dark delusion,” she said. “My distorted version of reality went largely unchecked as I would isolate from anyone who challenged me.”

She continued: "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.

"Jodi Hildebrandt was never my business partner, nor was I ever employed by her. I have never received wages from her or connections. Jodi was employed as my son's counselor, in 2019 and in 2020, I paid her to be my mentor."

Franke went on: "It is important to me to demonstrate my remorse and regret without blame. I take full accountability for my choices, and it is my preference that I serve a prison sentence."

Franke's attorney, LaMar Winward, alleged that Hildebrandt systematically isolated Franke from her family and husband, Kevin Franke.

Featured image credit: Marilyn Nieves/Getty