Utah mom Ruby Franke sentenced up to 60 years in prison for child abuse - Hindustan Times
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Utah mom Ruby Franke sentenced up to 60 years in prison for child abuse, breaks down in tears

BySumanti Sen
Feb 21, 2024 07:04 AM IST

“I am humbled and willing to serve a prison sentence for as long as I need,” Ruby Franke told the judge

Ruby Franke, a Utah mom who gave online parenting advice via a YouTube channel, was sentenced up to 60 years in prison for child abuse. The judge sentenced Franke to the terms of her plea, which is our counts of one to 15 years, to be served consecutively.

This image from video shows Ruby Franke during a hearing Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, in St. George, Utah (Ron Chaffin/St. George News via AP, Pool)(AP)
This image from video shows Ruby Franke during a hearing Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, in St. George, Utah (Ron Chaffin/St. George News via AP, Pool)(AP)

Her exact amount of prison term will be decided by the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole. The mom of six will have 30 days to appeal the decision. Franke broke down in court during the sentencing, Page Six reported. 

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“I am humbled and willing to serve a prison sentence for as long as I need,” the 42-year-old told the judge. “I am committed to unlearning my toxic behavior.”

Franke went on to apologise for “twisting God’s words and distorting his doctrine.” Franke’s sentence is the maximum under Utah state guidelines.

Franke’s former business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, received the same sentence. The judge told Franke she “terrorised” the children. 

In response, Franke said, “I sincerely loved these children. One of the reasons I didn’t go to trial is I didn’t want them to relive this.” She pleaded guilty to four counts of child abuse in December last year.

What is Ruby Franke accused of?

Franke and Hildebrandt were arrested in August after Franke’s son, 12, allegedly escaped Hildebrandt’s home. He went to a neighbour begging for food and water. A neighbour called 911 and said the boy looked "emaciated" and was "covered in wounds,” ABC News reported.

Franke put her children – specifically her minor son and daughter – through hard times by inflicting pain on them through her heinous actions from approximately May 22, 2023, to August 30, 2023, in Washington County, Utah. She reportedly emotionally abused her children by telling them they needed to be punished as they were evil and possessed.

Franke made her son perform strenuous physical tasks for long periods. He was forced to do wall-sits, carry heavy loads of books, and perform outdoor labour without shoes under the scorching sun. He was deprived of water and punished when he tried to secretly hydrate. He was provided with insufficient food as the others enjoyed wholesome meals.

The child was isolated, not allowed to access books, notebooks, and electronics. His hands and feet were regularly bound after he tried to escape in July. Wounds on his ankles and wrists were treated with "homeopathic remedies" and covered with duct tape. He was then bound above the duct tape again. She would often kick her son while wearing boots, and hold his head underwater to cut off oxygen.

Franke’s youngest daughter was also put through "severe emotional harm,” according to the guilty plea, The Mirror reported. The child’s experiences, like his brother, also included physical tasks and outdoor exposure. She was denied food and water. She was forced to work barefoot outside in the summer heat and run barefoot on dirt roads for long periods. The girl reportedly sustained scabs, blisters, and sloughing skin.

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