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Body language expert gives verdict on whether YouTube mum was truly remorseful during sentencing

Body language expert gives verdict on whether YouTube mum was truly remorseful during sentencing

An expert has given their verdict on what was going on in court

A body language expert has given his verdict on Ruby Franke's sentencing as the former YouTuber was given the maximum prison sentence for child abuse.

Franke found fame with her YouTube channel '8 Passengers' which shared videos and vlogs focused on family life, but the mother-of-six was recently sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Franke and business partner Jodi Hildebrandt both pleaded guilty to four counts of child abuse after they were arrested in August last year when one of the 42-year-old's children alerted neighbours in Utah.

A 12-year-old boy fled from Hildebrandt's house and ran to another home where he asked for food and water.

According to police he was thin, covered in lacerations and had duct tape around his ankles and wrists.

Ruby Franke received her sentence earlier this week after pleading guilty to child abuse.
YouTube/Law&Crime Network

Police searches discovered that Franke's other children were suffering in similar conditions, and as part of her plea deal she admitted she held her son's head underwater, covered his nose and mouth with her hands and kicked him while wearing boots.

She also admitted to forcing her son to perform hours of physical labour in scorching heat, leading him to suffer from severe sunburn and dehydration.

Franke received her sentence on Tuesday (20 February) of four prison terms that could each range between one and 15 years in length, though according to Utah law the maximum time she could spend behind bars is capped at 30 years.

Franke pleaded guilty to four counts of child abuse, and could spend up to 30 years in prison.
YouTube/Law&Crime Network

Behavioural analyst Dr Cliff Lansley of the Emotional Intelligence Agency gave his verdict on Franke's behaviour during her sentencing, explaining that there was 'genuine sadness' in her behaviour.

Pointing out a moment shortly after her lawyer had told the court she had fully accepted her actions, he drew attention to 'a micro facial expression of sadness as her lip corners lower'.

He explained: "The blinking and mouth movement and thoracic breathing (from upper chest signifying anxiety) reveal her trying to control the emotion and resume her composure.

"She makes no attempt to exaggerate or draw attention to the emotion to create an impression to the court."

When she gave her statement to the court the behaviour analysis expert said Franke's voice 'has the vocal tone and characteristics that align with genuine sadness'.

"Franke’s behaviour is consistent with her words and therefore has credibility," Dr Lansley said.

"This suggests that she is remorseful and there is hope of her reforming and rejoining society without being a threat to others."

The expert said Franke gave a 'micro facial expression of sadness' as her lawyer said she took 'total acceptance of her actions'.
YouTube/Law&Crime Network

The expert could not say the same for Hildebrandt, noting the contrast between the voices of the two women who were sentenced after pleading guilty to child abuse.

He said: "Genuine sadness is characterised by a gradual onset, long duration and smooth offset, punctuated by in-breaths.

"That’s what we hear from Franke. Hildebrandt, however, reveals a vocal tone that is forced using the out-breath and transitions too quickly to her baseline tone.

"Emotions don’t work like that when they are genuine."

Dr Lansley also said the reactions from the judge were interesting, giving his view on judge John J. Walton's interactions with prosecutors when Franke was being sentenced.

"He challenged the lawyers to explore restitution right at the start of the hearing," the expert said of the judge's behaviour while Franke was in court.

"He returns to this and signals with a glare to the lawyers and an encouraging head nod 'yes' to focus on this within eight months – almost an instruction."

The body language expert believed that the judge did not have the same view of Hildebrandt.
YouTube/Law&Crime Network

Franke's husband Kevin was sat in the courtroom along with their two eldest children, though it appears as though he didn't look over to her as she read out a statement apologising to her family.

Apologising to her six children, she said she would 'never stop crying for hurting their tender souls' and called the ending of her marriage a 'tragedy'.

Ruby's son Chad was seen reacting to his mother being in prison on TikTok.

Ultimately the length of the sentences which Franke and Hildebrandt will serve will be determined by the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole, as each woman will spend between four and 30 years in prison.

Full timeline of the Ruby Franke case:

Starting a YouTube channel and initial suspicions

Franke started her parenting YouTube channel '8Passengers' with now ex-husband Kevin, amassing over 2.5 million subscribers before it was deleted in 2023 following the arrest.

Several subscribers became suspicious of child abuse, with a petition being signed for the police to investigate the family, citing the numerous questionable videos uploaded.

Franke joins ConneXions with Jodi Hildebrandt

The mum told critics in a 2021 interview for The Wrap that she was showing everyone 'what a responsible mother looks like'.

She stopped uploading videos to the channel in 2022, joining Mormon therapist Hildebrandt's ConneXions podcast.

Their divisive opinions on subjects such as eating disorders, blaming rape victims and criticising immigrants drew the wrong kind of attention.

The arrest

Franke and Hildebrandt were arrested on child abuse charges in August 2023.

The Santa Clara Public Safety Department were called to the Ivins neighbourhood in Utah after a neighbour was alerted by Franke's 'emaciated' 12-year-old son, who escaped to knock on their door to ask for help.

He had visible marks and wounds from duct tape put around his ankles, and asked for some food and water.

Police found his 10-year-old sister in a 'similar physical condition of malnourishment' in Hildebrandt's house.

Family members speak out

Franke's oldest daughter, Shari, wrote on Instagram on the day of the arrests: “Today has been a big day."

The 20-year-old continued: "Me and my family are so glad justice is being served. We've been trying to tell the police and CPS for years about this, and so glad they finally decided to step up."

In November, Kevin also officially filed for divorce from Franke.

Franke and Hildebrandt are charged with six counts of child abuse

Just one week after their arrests, the pair were charged with six counts of felony child abuse.

YouTube banned Franke, deleting both 8Passengers and ConneXions channels and banning her from the social media platform.

Franke blames the abuse on Hildebrandt

Her attorneys released a statement that said: “Initially, Ms. Franke believed that Jodi Hildebrandt had the insight to offer a path to continual improvement. Ms. Hildebrandt took advantage of this quest and twisted it into something heinous," according to Fox13.

It blamed Hildebrandt solely for isolating Franke from her family completely, distorting her morality.

Franke pleads guilty

Just three days after the statement was released, Franke pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated child abuse.

Franke and Hildebrandt are sentenced to prison for child abuse

On 20 February 2024, Franke was convicted and given four separate prison sentences for one to 15 years, with the length of each sentence decided by the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole.

Franke will not serve more than 30 years in the Federal Penitentiary because of a Utah law about consecutive sentences.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child, contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, 10am-8pm Monday to Friday. If you are a child seeking advice and support, call Childline for free on 0800 1111, 24/7.

Featured Image Credit: Law&Crime Network/YouTube/moms_of_truth

Topics: US News, Crime, YouTube