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YouTube mum who shared parenting tips given maximum prison sentence for child abuse

YouTube mum who shared parenting tips given maximum prison sentence for child abuse

Ruby Franke was sentenced on Tuesday by a court in Utah, US.

A former family vlogger has been given the maximum prison sentence for child abuse.

Ruby Franke, a mother who found YouTube fame with her channel '8 Passengers', was handed the punishment in court on Tuesday (20 February) alongside her business partner and mental health counsellor Jodi Hildebrandt, 54.

The pair both pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated child abuse in December following their arrests in August last year after one of Franke's children alerted neighbours in the city of Ivins in Utah, US.

The 12-year-old boy fled through a window in Hildebrandt's house and ran to a neighbours where he asked for food and water.

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

Authorities then searched the family home and found her other children were suffering in similar conditions.

The full extent of the parenting influencer's crimes were revealed in her plea deal, where she admitted to holding her son's head underwater and covering his mouth and nose with her hands as well as kicking him while wearing boots.

Franke, 42, also confessed that she and Hildebrandt had forced her son to endure hours of physical labour in the scorching summer heat without sunscreen and with little food and water, which resulted in severe sunburn and dehydration.

Ruby Franke sobbed as she was sentenced.

The court in Utah heard how the mum, who had more than 2 million subscribers at her peak on YouTube, tried to convince her youngest children that they were 'evil and possessed' and needed to 'repent'.

According to state prosecutor Eric Clarke, Franke's nine-year-old and 11-year-old were living in a 'concentration camp-like setting', adding: "The children were regularly denied food, water, beds to sleep in, and virtually all forms of entertainment."

In her plea agreement, Hildebrandt said she was either complicit in the abuse subjected on the children or was aware of it taking place, while admitting she forced Franke's youngest daughter to 'jump into a cactus multiple times' as well as walking barefoot on dirt roads until her feet blistered.

Franke sobbed as she was sentenced in court on Tuesday and apologised to her six children, saying she would 'never stop crying for hurting their tender souls'.

She said: "My willingness to sacrifice all for you was masterfully manipulated into something very ugly.

"I took from you all that was soft and safe and good."

The former YouTuber and Jodi Hildebrandt received the same sentence.
YouTube/ConneXions Classroom

"I was so disoriented that I believed dark was light and right was wrong," Franke continued to say.

"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."

After pleading guilty as part of plea deals, Franke and Hildebrandt were sentenced to serve four terms of 1 to 15 years behind bars for each of the second-degree felony aggravated child abuse charges they admitted to, meaning they could both spend a maximum of 60 years in prison.

The sentences, which are the maximum for each count under Utah law, will run consecutively, but the exact time that the pair will have to serve will be determined at a later date by the state's parole board.

Franke's ex-husband, Kevin Franke, has filed for divorce and asked for the maximum sentence to be imposed on her while describing her actions towards their children as 'horrific and inhumane'.

Featured Image Credit: YouTube/moms_of_truth

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