Ruby Franke, Jodi Hildebrandt get 30-year prison sentence in child abuse case

Parenting YouTuber Ruby Franke (right) and her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt. — Instagram/Moms of Truth

Popular parenting YouTuber Ruby Franke and her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt have been sentenced to 30 years in prison — the most severe penalty available under Utah law — for child abuse charges on Tuesday.

The charges stem from one of Franke’s children escaping Hildebrandt’s house in August to beg a neighbour for help.

According to CBS News affiliate KUTV, Franke has been sentenced to four consecutive prison terms which could range from one to 15 years each. The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole will determine prison time while Franke has 30 days to appeal the decision.

Hildebrandt received the same sentence as Franke.

Franke gave parenting advice on her now-defunct “8 Passengers” YouTube channel, and Hildebrandt operated a counselling business called ConneXions Classroom.

Both women were charged with six counts of aggravated child abuse, which is a second-degree felony and each carries a potential prison sentence of one to 15 years and a $10,000 fine.

State prosecutor Eric Clarke compared Franke’s children’s environment to a “concentration camp-like setting” and said Franke “committed horrible acts of child abuse”, while he deemed Hildebrandt a “significant threat” to the community.

Both women addressed the court before their sentences.

Hildebrandt said that she would “submit to what the state feels is an appropriate amount of time served.”

Meanwhile, Franke admitted that she and Hildebrandt had “inflicted the injuries” on her children. She said that she had been “led to believe that this world is an evil place” and that Hildebrandt had never been her “business responsibility,” but that she had paid the other woman to be her mentor.

Franke also thanked public safety officials who rescued her children, calling them “angels,” according to KUTV.

“My charges are just,” Franke said. “They offer safety to my family, accountability to the public.” 

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