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Ruby Franke apologizes to children as she's sentenced to up to 60 years in prison for child abuse
Featured Image Credit: YouTube/Law&Crime Network / BBC

Ruby Franke apologizes to children as she's sentenced to up to 60 years in prison for child abuse

She said she was 'disoriented'

Warning: This article contains discussion of child abuse which some readers may find distressing.

Ruby Franke has issued an apology to her children after the former YouTuber pleaded guilty to child abuse.

Franke was arrested in August 2023 alongside her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt after her 12-year-old son escaped through a window and ran to one of her neighbors for help.

According to police, the young boy was thin, covered in lacerations and had 'tape around his legs'.

Police then searched Hildebrandt's home to find Franke's 10-year-old daughter also in a similarly malnourished condition. Both kids were taken to hospital.

A month later, Franke was charged with six counts of felony child abuse.

She later plead guilty to the charges in a Utah court, and has now received her sentencing.

Both Franke and Hildebrandt have been sentenced to serve four terms of one to 15 years each, BBC News reports.

The sentences will run consecutively and are the maximum count under Utah law, meaning they could both spend a maximum of 60 years in prison.

However, it's down to the parole board to decide how much time they'll both actually serve behind bars.

Utah prosecutor Eric Clarke said two of Franke's children lived in a 'concentration camp-like setting' and hailed her a threat to the community.

Ruby Franke pleaded guilty to four counts in December.
Law&Crime Network

"The children were regularly denied food, water, beds to sleep in, and virtually all forms of entertainment," he added.

The former YouTuber - who once boasted over two million subscribers - has now apologized for her actions.

"I was so disoriented that I believed dark was light and right was wrong," she said in court.

"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."

Over the course of her YouTube career, the mom documented her family life, focusing on her parenting style regarding the upbringing and discipline of her six children.

Franke's work with Hildebrandt came as she became a key part of the life counselling organization ConneXions, which Hildebrandt founded.

In her plea deal, Franke admitted to holding her son's head underwater as well as kicking him while wearing boots.

Ruby Franke was a popular family vlogger before her arrest.

The court also heard how she and Hildebrandt made her son endure physical labor in the summer heat without sunscreen and with little food and water, which resulted in severe sunburn and dehydration.

Hildebrandt said in her plea agreement that she was either complicit in the abuse or was aware that it was taking place.

She also said that she'd forced Franke's daughter to 'jump in a cactus multiple times' as well as walking barefoot on dirt roads.

Expressing his concerns about how much longer the children could have survived her abuse, Clarke said at her sentencing: "Had the older of the children not had the courage to run away and ask a neighbor to call the police, heaven only knows how much longer he could have survived in that situation."

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child, the Childhelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and receives calls from throughout the United States, Canada, US Virgin Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico.

Topics: News, US News, Parenting, Crime, YouTube