Sunday, April 21, 2024

Family Vlogger Ruby Franke Sentenced 60 Years For Child Abuse

Ruby Franke, a former vlogger who broadcasted her family’s life on YouTube, has been sentenced to a minimum of four, up to 60 years, in prison.

The mother of six, along with her former business partner Jodi Hildebrandt, were both given four terms of 15 years each, meaning they can serve up to 60 years behind bars.

Last December, the pair pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated child abuse. They were arrested in September 2023 after Franke’s 12-year-old son escaped the family home and asked neighbors for food and water.

When emergency responders arrived, he had duct tape on his ankles and wrists and was noticeably injured and starved.

frankes kids

Police subsequently searched Hildebrandt’s home and found a 10-year-old girl in a similar condition.

In the end, the Department of Child and Family Services removed four of her children from the home, the two others being adults.

In the court hearing on Tuesday, prosecutor Eric Clarke described Franke as a ‘significant threat to the community’, having held her 9-year-old and 11-year-old children in a ‘concentration camp-like setting’ at home where they were regularly denied ‘food, water, sleeping premises, an entertainment.’

Franke could be seen tearfully apologizing to her children as the judge gave her her sentence.

The sentencing marks the end of her long and controversial vlogging career on YouTube, one that had earned her more than two million subscribers.

Her channel, titled ‘8 Passengers’, was launched in 2015, when the popularity of parenting vlogs exploded. At the time, she told media outlets that filming and sharing her family’s lives online helped them ‘enjoy the kids and live in the present.’

The videos, which would quickly rack up hundreds of thousands of views, portrayed a typical suburban family eating, cooking, and talking together.

However, audience members eventually became suspicious in 2020, when one of her sons commented that he’d been forced to sleep on a bean bag for more than half a year.

Viewers subsequently combed through her videos and pointed out other disturbing moments – such as when she threatened to decapitate a stuffed toy and when she withheld food from her kids.

ruby franke

The viewers eventually started a petition, one that received thousands of signatures. It eventually came to the attention of Utah’s child protection agency, though no action was taken at the time. At the time, Franke defended herself by saying that their videos ‘had been taken out of context.’

Despite that, the channel’s popularity dwindled quickly, and was eventually deleted in 2022 – the same year Franke and her husband went their separate ways.

franke with business part ner
Franke with her business partner Jodi Hildebrandi – both have been sentenced to prison for aggravated child abuse

After deleting her own channel, Franke began to appear in Hildebrandt’s YouTube videos.

Behind the scenes, however, her children continued to be abused. They would be tied up, beaten up, refused food, kicked, and forced to stand and work under direct sunlight without sun protection, which led to serious sunburns with sloughing and blistered skin. They were also denied water.

Franke allegedly told her children that they were ‘possessed and evil’ and had to ‘repent.’

Brooke Carter
Brooke Carter
Freelance writer who loves dogs and anything related to Japanese culture.
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