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Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt Sentenced in Child Abuse Case

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YouTuber Ruby Franke, a former family vlogger who pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated child abuse, was sentenced on Tuesday to four terms of one to 15 years in prison. Franke’s prior Business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, received the same sentence on Tuesday at Washington County 5th District Court in Utah.

Franke and Hildebrandt were charged with six counts of felony child abuse charges in September for abusing two of Franke’s children. Both pleaded guilty to four of the six counts. The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole will determine the actual amount of time they spend in prison.

Read More: What to Know About YouTuber Ruby Franke’s Child Abuse Case

At the sentencing hearing, Franke’s two eldest children, Shari and Chad, joined their father, Kevin, in court and were seated in the front row. Franke apologized to the children in court.  “ I will never stop crying for hurting your tender souls. You're so precious to me, I'm sorry,” Franke said. 

In her statement, Hildebrandt said, “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 experience, which had been detrimental for them.”

Franke and Hildebrandt were arrested on Aug. 31 after Franke’s son climbed out of a window in Hildebrandt’s home and ran to a neighbor’s house, asking for help. He was found malnourished with duct tape on open wounds. Law enforcement later found Franke’s 10-year-old daughter in the house, also malnourished, NBC News reports.

Franke was a popular vlogger whose YouTube channel “8 Passengers” had an audience of over two million people. On the channel, Franke shared parenting tips and talked about raising her six children, Shari, Chad, Abby, Julie, Russell, and Eve, whom she shared with her now ex-husband Kevin.

In 2022, she announced she would be launching a ConneXions YouTube page with Hildebrandt. ConneXions is a life coaching service that Hildebrandt had been running since 2007, and former clients told NBC News that Hildebrandt did more harm than good. As a life coach, Hildebrandt “methodically separated spouses, pathologized patients’ behaviors as evidence of various addictions, and encouraged people to cut off others who weren’t living in accordance with her teachings,” NBC News reports. The two regularly shared discriminatory viewpoints on the YouTube channel. Insider wrote that Franke and Hildebrandt shared racist, homophobic, ableist, and transphobic comments on their channel.

Franke previously faced backlash for the content of some of her videos. In one video, her son Chad said that he had been sleeping on a beaNBAg chair for seven months, according to Insider. This prompted viewers to urge the Division of Child and Family Services to investigate the Franke household in 2020. They did, but that investigation was closed due to the “claims being unsupported.”

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