Home » YouTube mommy blogger Ruby Franke, co-host Jodi Hildebrandt sentenced for child abuse: ‘Dark delusion’

YouTube mommy blogger Ruby Franke, co-host Jodi Hildebrandt sentenced for child abuse: ‘Dark delusion’

by John Jefferson
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Disgraced Utah parenting blogger Ruby Franke and her co-host Jodi Hildebrant were sentenced on Tuesday to serve four consecutive terms between one and 15 years each after pleading guilty to child abuse charges.

Franke, 41, and Hildebrant, 45, who ran a joint parenting and lifestyle YouTube channel called ConneXions Classrooms, each pleaded guilty to four of six counts of second-degree aggravated child abuse in a St. George courtroom in December 2023.

“For the past four years, I’ve chosen to follow counsel and guidance that has led me into a dark delusion,” Franke said in a statement during her sentencing hearing. “My distorted version of reality went largely unchecked as I would isolate from anyone who challenged me. I was led to believe 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, children who need abuse.”

A parole board will determine how many years Franke will serve in prison for her crimes. They each face a maximum sentence of 60 years, though they will only have to serve a total of 30 years under Utah law.

“Kevin, my husband of more than 23 years, you are the love of my life. I’m so sorry to leave to you what we both started together,” Franke continued through sobs. “The ending of our marriage is a tragedy, and you are wrapped around my heart in a knot I’ll never be able to undo. To my babies, my six little chicks, you are part of me. I was the momma duck who was consistently waddling you to safety. … In the past four years, I was consistently leading you to danger. … I was so disoriented that I believed dark was light and right was wrong.”

Hildebrandt said she “loves these children” and wants them to heal physically and emotionally. “I’m willing to submit to what the state feels would be appropriate amount of time served.”


Utah authorities handed down charges against Franke and Hildebrandt in September after police rescued two of Franke’s children, who were malnourished and neglected, from Hildebrandt’s home Aug. 30. The abuse included forcing her children to do physical labor, restricting food, binding one child’s hands and feet, and emotional harm. Franke and Hildebrant told Franke’s children that they were evil and needed to be punished.

One of Hildebrandt’s neighbors reported the abuse to police after one of Franke’s sons showed up on his doorstep.


“I just had a 12-year-old boy show up here at my front door asking for help, and he said he just came from a neighbor’s house, and we know there’s been problems at this neighbor’s house,” a man said in an August 911 call reporting the alleged abuse obtained by Fox News Digital. “He’s emaciated. He’s got tape around his legs. He’s hungry, and he’s thirsty.”

Ruby Franke (right) and her business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt (left)

The boy apparently told the neighbor that even though he came from Hildebrandt’s house, his mother is Ruby Franke, who lives in a different town. Police would later locate Franke’s four other children at different locations, according to a police report. The boy also told police he climbed through Hildebrandt’s window to escape and get help.

After rescuing Franke’s youngest children from Hildebrandt’s home Aug. 30, police from Springfield and other local agencies began to search for her other four kids, who were not at Hildebrandt’s home at the time. They made contact with the two eldest children, Chad and Shari Franke — both living away from home at the time of the incident — in an effort to find the other two juveniles.


Authorities eventually located the two children at another adult’s house in American Fork, Utah.

Ruby Franke poses with her four daughters

Both Franke and Hildebrandt were initially charged with two counts of child abuse, but authorities later added four additional child abuse charges to each suspect. 

In dozens of YouTube videos and social media posts, Franke and Hildebrandt coached parents in calm voices from a living room couch on how to raise their children in “truth.” In a video posted just before their arrests, Hildebrandt said pain can be a good thing for children of a certain age.


“Pain is meant to be your teacher. It’s not your nemesis. It’s your ally. Pain is not bad. … Pain is here to support you to grow and develop,” she said.

Jodi Hildebrandt in court

Franke previously ran a blog called 8Passengers, representative of her family of six children and two parents, for years before she stopped posting on the page amid backlash stemming from some of her controversial videos. In one such video, Franke told her followers about her and her husband’s decision to withhold Christmas presents from their two youngest children as punishment for what she described as selfish behavior.


“My kids are literally starving,” Ruby Franke, wearing red lipstick, said in one video in front of a Christmas tree. “I hesitate to say this because this is going to sound like, I’m, like, a mean barbarian, but I told the kids, I said, I’m not even going to let you eat breakfast until you get your chores done.”

In other videos, Franke discussed withholding food from her children, making her son sleep on a beanbag chair instead of his bed for an extended period of time as punishment for pulling a prank on his younger brother, and other forms of discipline for what she deemed bad behavior.

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