### Parenting YouTuber Allegedly Subjected Children to ‘Concentration Camp-Like’ Environment

Published on 22nd February 2024 at 04:55 GMT

A well-known American parenting YouTuber has received the maximum penalty for child abuse for subjecting her children to starvation and forcing them to endure conditions reminiscent of a “concentration camp.”

Ruby Franke, a mother of six from Utah, who had amassed over two million followers on her channel offering advice on strict parenting, has pleaded guilty to the severe mistreatment of her children. She is now facing a sentence of up to 30 years in prison.

The judge revealed that Franke’s children, who sought help when her 12-year-old son managed to escape through a window last year, were consistently deprived of basic necessities such as food, water, proper sleeping arrangements, and any form of entertainment. The son was hospitalized due to malnutrition and severe injuries from being restrained with rope, as stated in the arrest report.

Defendant Ruby Franke looks on during court. Picture: Sheldon Demke/St. George News via APDefendant Ruby Franke looks on during court. Picture: Sheldon Demke/St. George News via AP

In the courtroom, the defendant Ruby Franke is depicted in a photo. Source: Sheldon Demke/St. George News via AP

Through her YouTube channel “8 Passengers,” Franke had previously showcased her family’s daily life, including homeschooling, cooking, and quality time together. She had advocated for strict parenting methods to instill responsibility in her children, as shared with her followers.

However, a disturbing incident in 2020 triggered a petition and investigation into the family’s well-being.

In a video, one of Franke’s sons disclosed that his bedroom had been taken away for seven months, and he was forced to sleep on a beanbag after playing pranks on a sibling. Additional footage discovered by online users revealed Franke’s harsh disciplinary actions, such as withholding food for misbehavior and even canceling Christmas celebrations.

After discontinuing her YouTube channel in 2022 following a divorce, Franke entered into a business partnership with Jodi Hildebrandt, who received an identical sentence and was allegedly an influence on Franke. Franke frequently made appearances on Hildebrandt’s YouTube platform, ConneXions Classroom.

Arrest warrants detailed that Hildebrandt, a counselor and life coach, applied cayenne pepper and honey to the children’s wounds resulting from being tied up.

Utah prosecutor Eric Clarke described two of Franke’s children, aged nine and 11 at the time, as living in conditions resembling a “concentration camp,” emphasizing Franke’s threat to the community.

Clarke stated, “The children were regularly denied food, water, beds to sleep in, and virtually all forms of entertainment.”

During the court proceedings, Franke expressed her belief that the world was a malevolent place, accusing various entities of deceit and harm. She lamented her actions, acknowledging the manipulation of her intentions into something dark and harmful.

Franke’s children, who were absent from the sentencing in St. George, received her tearful apology, expressing deep remorse for the pain she caused them. She acknowledged the distortion of her protective instincts into something damaging, robbing them of safety and comfort.

The judge imposed a sentence requiring the pair to serve four terms ranging from one to 15 years each. However, due to a Utah state law limiting consecutive penalties, the women will serve a maximum of 30 years in prison.