Ruby Franke, a former family Vlogger, admits to abusing children: Reports
Ruby Franke, a Utah mother of six and a YouTube vlogger known for her parenting advice channel “8 Passengers,” pleaded guilty to four counts of second-degree felony aggravated child abuse. This plea deal, reached after Franke was initially charged with six counts, saw the dismissal of the remaining two counts.
The child abuse charges Franke faced are severe under Utah law, as second-degree aggravated child abuse can involve knowingly or intentionally inflicting serious physical injury on a child. Each charge in such cases carries a potential sentence of one to 15 years in prison.
Franke’s legal representatives from Winward Law attributed the abuse to the influence of a relationship counselor, who, they claim, led Franke to develop a “distorted sense of morality.” They portrayed Franke as a devoted mother misled by her co-defendant Jodi Hildebrandt, who allegedly exploited Franke’s quest for improvement.
In the plea agreement, Franke admitted to torturing her son over several months by forcing him into demanding physical tasks, denying him adequate food and water, and subjecting him to isolation and physical restraint.
She acknowledged using handcuffs and ropes to bind his hands and feet, as well as kicking him, holding his head under water, and smothering his mouth and nose. Franke also admitted to similarly abusing her 9-year-old daughter, including forcing her to work outside barefoot and without food or water.
The abuse came to light when Franke’s 12-year-old son escaped from Hildebrandt’s house and sought help from a neighbor, leading to their arrest. At the time of his escape, the boy was emaciated and had visible injuries. Franke’s four youngest children were subsequently taken into state custody.
Both Franke and Hildebrandt were charged with six felony counts of aggravated child abuse and have remained in jail since their arrests. Franke’s statement during her incarceration reflected a commitment to understanding and taking responsibility for her actions.
The Franke family’s “8 Passengers” YouTube channel, which started in 2015 and ended after seven years, had previously drawn criticism for its portrayal of strict parenting methods. These included refusing to provide lunch to a forgetful kindergartener and threatening punitive measures against the children. Kevin Franke, Ruby’s husband, has filed for divorce following these events