YouTuber Ruby Franke could get 60 years for child abuse

 February 21, 2024

YouTuber Ruby Franke was sentenced to up to 60 years in prison on Tuesday, two months after she pled guilty to abusing the same children that she used to make money and that made her famous on her YouTube channel.

Franke, whose channel had 2.5 million followers, admitted to forcing her 12-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter to work all day in the hot Utah sun without food and water as punishment for misdeeds.

The abuse was discovered when her son showed up to a neighbor's house with duct tape on his wrists and ankles, emaciated and covered with wounds.

Franke was sentenced to one to 15 years consecutively for each of four counts of child abuse. A parole board will decide how much of the terms she serves.

The reason

Franke's business partner Jodi Hildebrandt got the same sentence as Franke for participating in the abuse.

Franke said that Hildebrandt actually manipulated her into abusing the children by isolating her from others including her husband, Kevin, whom Hildebrandt told to stay away from the home and had not seen the children in a year.

Kevin filed for divorce after the abuse allegations broke, saying he hoped both women would get the maximum sentences.

Besides the physical abuse, Franke also made her other son sleep on a beanbag in the living room for months, threatened to decapitate her daughter's stuffed animals,  and canceled Christmas one year.

The apology

“To my babies, my six little chicks. You are part of me. I was the mama duck who was consistently waddling you to safety. I can see now that over the past four years, I was in a deep undercurrent that led us to danger,” Franke said tearfully at sentencing, according to Today.

“I was so disoriented that I believed dark was light and right was wrong," she continued. "I would do anything in this world for you. My willingness to sacrifice all for you was masterfully manipulated … How terrifying this must have been for you. I will never stop crying for hurting your tender souls. You’re so precious to me. I’m sorry.”

Franke embraced her jail sentence and promised to do better.

“I am humbled and willing to serve a prison sentence for as long as I need,” she told the judge. “I am committed to unlearning my toxic behavior.”

The warning signs

After the abuse was discovered, neighbors reported being afraid that police "were going to come out of that house with body bags," though no reports were made before Franke's arrest.

Some viewers of her YouTube channel said they were concerned about her discipline methods and her older children's reluctance to be filmed on a daily basis.


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