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Ruby Franke seeks plea deal in child abuse case

The disgraced parenting vlogger faces six felony counts of aggravated child abuse

Mike Bedigan
Los Angeles
Sunday 17 December 2023 20:44 GMT
Police bodycam captures moment neighbours learn Ruby Franke allegedly kept her children in a 'safe'

Disgraced parenting blogger and YouTube influencer Ruby Franke is expected to enter a plea agreement in her child abuse case imminently, according to her lawyers.

Ms Franke, along with her former business partner Jodi Hildebrandt, faces six felony counts of aggravated child abuse after her arrest on 30 August in Utah.

Police found one of Ms Franke’s children with open wounds after escaping from Ms Hildebrandt’s home, and another one of her children in a similar malnourished condition at the residence.

Ms Franke has been held without bail since her arrest and is hoping to “resolve the matter quickly” by entering a plea agreement on Monday 18 December, a statement said.

The statement, put out by Winward Law, said Ms Franke was a “devoted mother” and “committed to constant improvement”.

Ruby Franke and business partner Jodi Hildebrandt (Instagram/Moms of Truth)

Ms Franke and Ms Hildebrandt ran a popular YouTube parenting advice channel, but came to law enforcement’s attention after Ms Hildebrandt’s neighbour called 911.

The neighbour reported that Ms Franke’s 12-year-old son showed up at his doorstep with “duct tape” covering his ankles and wrists as he begged for food and water. “This kid has obviously... he’s been detained. He’s obviously covered in wounds,” the 911 recording revealed.

Police subsequently searched Ms Franke’s house, where they found a 10-year-old girl who was also allegedly malnourished and suffering from wounds. These two children were then hospitalised.

Ms Franke and Ms Hildebrandt were supposed to appear in court on 18 September for a hearing, but it was postponed until after 5 October as the lawyers had asked for a delay in order “to review copious amounts of discovery,” The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

In the statement announcing their client was seeking a plea deal, lawyers claimed Ms Franke had been manipulated by her former business partner who had taken advantage of her “quest” for self-improvement and “twisted it into something heinous”.

YouTuber Ruby Franke is charged with six counts of child abuse (Instagram/ Moms_of_Truth)

“Over an extended period, Ms Hildebrant systematically isolated Ruby Franke from her extended family, older children, and her husband, Kevin Franke.

“This prolonged isolation resulted in Ms Franke being subjected to a distorted sense of morality, shaped by Ms Hildebrandt’s influence,” the statement read.

Mr Franke filed for divorce from the family vlogger in November, though his attorney, Randy Kester, told in October that the Frankes had been separated for 13 months “at Ruby’s directive”.

The statement from Ms Franke’s lawyers said she was “devastated” by the divorce but  “acknowledges and understands his anger and reasoning”.

“Despite the pain, she respects his decisions and remains hopeful that, with time, she can contribute to rebuilding trust and fostering understanding within their family. Ruby has offered her full cooperation to help the children reunite with their father,” the statement read.

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