Ruby Franke: Everything to Know About the Child Abuse Allegations Against the YouTube Star

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Ruby Franke




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Image Credit: Courtesy of 8 Passengers/Archive.org

Ruby Franke pleaded guilty to felony child abuse charges as part of a plea deal on Monday, December 18, 2023, per NBC News. She appeared in court in Washington County, Utah. “With my deepest regret and sorrow for my family and my children, guilty,” she said in court at the end of 2023. The former YouTube star, 42, was then sentenced on February 20, 2024. Ruby was sentenced to four to 60 years in prison on four counts of aggravated child abuse, as reported by Business Insider.

The 42-year-old and her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt will not serve more than 30 years, as the outlet reported that the law in Utah “prohibits consecutive sentences exceeding” that length of time. On the day of her sentencing, a judge ordered Ruby to consecutively serve “one to 15 years behind bars for each of the four counts.” Amid the latest, find out more about Ruby and her charges, below.

Ruby Was a Family Vlogger

Courtesy of 8 Passengers/Archive.org

Franke began her YouTube channel “8 Passengers” in 2015, and she rose to prominence on the website with her daily video vlogs. She would post videos each day detailing her life with her six children and her husband in Utah. The channel has since been taken down, but it did have 2.5 million subscribers at one time, per The New York Times. The videos garnered attention for her strict parenting style as well as the daily glimpses into their lives.

Fans Began Accusing Her of Child Abuse in 2020

Viewers began to express concern for Franke’s children in 2020, when one of her sons said that he had slept on a beanbag chair for months as a punishment, according to The Washington Post. In other videos, she talked about letting one of her daughters go hungry so she would learn to pack her lunch, and another where one of her daughters had lost “the privilege of eating dinner.” Fans began a Change.org petition to try to get an investigation into her.

After Franke was arrested, her oldest daughter Shari said that she and her family members had tried to alert authorities for a long time in an Instagram Story. “We’ve been trying to tell the police and CPS for years about this,” she said.

Franke’s three sisters are also family influencers, and after their sister’s arrest two of them released a joint statement to say that they supported their sister’s arrest. “Behind the public scene we have done everything we could to try and make sure the kids were safe,” they said. “Ruby was arrested which needed to happen. Jodie was arrested which needed to happen. The kids are now safe, which is the number one priority.”

She Was Charged With 6 Counts of Felony Child Abuse

Franke and her business partner Jodi Nan Hildebrandt were arrested on August 30, 2023 after one of the vlogger’s children ran away to a neighbor’s home and asked to call 911. Police reported that he was emaciated and had duct tape around his wrists and ankles for unclear reasons, per The Guardian. When police went to Franke’s home, they found one of her other daughters who also appeared malnourished. Her son claimed that Hildebrandt had tied rope around his arms and used cayenne pepper and honey on the wounds caused by the rope. Both children, plus two more of Franke’s minor children, were taken into state custody.

With the news that Franke has plead guilty, Washington County Attorney Eric Clarke issued a statement, per The Times. “We are pleased that Ms. Franke has accepted responsibility for her criminal actions and that justice is being served to the extent possible in this type of situation,” he said.

During her February 2024 sentencing, Ruby reportedly sobbed in response to the sentencing. “I was led to believe that this world was an evil place, filled with cops who control, hospitals that injure, government agencies that brainwash, church leaders who lie and lust, husbands who refuse to protect, and children who need abuse,” she said, per Business Insider. “My choice to believe and behave this paranoia culminated into criminal activity, for which I stand before you today ready to take accountability.”

“I can see now over the past four years, I was in a deep undercurrent that led us to danger,” Ruby continued, speaking to her children. “I would never have led you to darkness knowingly. I was so disoriented that I believed dark was light and right was wrong. I would do anything in this world for you.” Meanwhile, Jodi was sentenced to the same amount of time in prison as Ruby.

Her Husband Filed for Divorce in November 2023

Franke and her husband Kevin separated in 2022. He filed for divorce in November 2023, per NBC NewsHer lawyers said that she was “devastated” by the split in a statement.

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