Former YouTube Parenting Channel Host Pleads Guilty to Child Abuse


Ruby Franke, host of a now-defunct YouTube parenting channel, pleaded guilty Monday to four counts of aggravated child abuse for the treatment of her children.

Ms. Franke, known for videos chronicling her strict parenting style on social media, was arrested along with her business partner in Utah in September. Police said at the time that two of Ms. Franke's children appeared malnourished and that one of them had tape on his ankles and wrists, as well as open wounds. Her statement was part of an agreement with prosecutors.

The maximum penalty for each of the charges is 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000. Franke, 41, will remain jailed until she is sentenced in 2024, according to the attorney's office.

“We are pleased that Ms. Franke has accepted responsibility for her criminal actions and that justice is being served to the extent possible in this type of situation,” Washington County Prosecutor Eric Clarke said in a statement Monday. .

Franke's attorney, Lamar J. Winward, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Franke was the host of a YouTube channel called “8 Passengers,” which has since been removed from the platform. In her videos, Ms. Franke documented her strict parenting strategies, which included denying food to her own children as a form of punishment. The channel documented the lives of her six children: Shari, Chad, Abby, Julie, Russell and Eve. He had almost 2.5 million subscribers before being removed.

Ms. Franke was arrested in September at the home of her business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, in Ivins, Utah, and charged with six counts of aggravated child abuse. The arrest and charges came after Ms. Franke's 12-year-old son, identified as RF in a court document, climbed through the window of Ms. Hildebrandt's home and went to a neighbor's house asking for food and water.

The boy had tape on his ankles and wrists and open wounds, according to the document. He looked emaciated and malnourished. The neighbor called the police, who also found Ms. Franke's 10-year-old daughter, Eve, at Ms. Hildebrandt's home. She also appeared to be emaciated and malnourished, according to the court document. Police contacted the Utah Division of Children and Family Services and a total of four children were placed in its care.

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