### Apology from Ruby Franke, the YouTube Mom, During Child Abuse Sentencing

Ruby Franke, a mother of six from Utah who provided parenting tips to a wide audience through a previously popular YouTube channel, issued a tearful apology to her children for subjecting them to physical and emotional mistreatment. This apology came before a judge sentenced her to a maximum of 60 years in prison on Tuesday.

During the court proceedings, Franke expressed her acceptance of the sentence without seeking a reduction. She took the opportunity to express gratitude to local law enforcement, medical professionals, and social workers whom she referred to as the “angels” who intervened to protect her children from her harmful actions. Franke attributed her behavior to the influence of her business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, a mental health counselor from Utah. Hildebrandt, who initially worked with Franke’s youngest son before entering into a business partnership, also received a prison sentence of up to 60 years on the same day.

In her emotional address to the judge, Franke acknowledged the pain she caused her children, who were not present at the sentencing. She lamented the manipulation of her genuine intentions into destructive behavior, acknowledging the profound impact on her children’s well-being. Franke and Hildebrandt had pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated child abuse, involving attempts to convince Franke’s two youngest children that they were inherently evil and in need of punishment for repentance.

The arrests of Franke and Hildebrandt occurred following an incident where Franke’s 12-year-old son managed to escape and seek help from a neighbor, leading to police involvement. The severity of the abuse was revealed through the boy’s condition, with reports of physical restraints, injuries, and inappropriate medical treatment using cayenne pepper and honey.

State prosecutor Eric Clarke described the environment in which the children were kept as akin to a “concentration camp-like setting,” drawing a chilling parallel to the atrocities committed during the Holocaust. Despite Franke displaying remorse and cooperation with legal proceedings, Hildebrandt has been less forthcoming, shifting blame onto the children.

In court, Hildebrandt expressed her love for the children and her desire for their healing, emphasizing her decision to accept the plea deal to spare the children from further trauma during a trial. Both Franke and Hildebrandt pleaded guilty to multiple charges of aggravated child abuse, with Franke admitting to specific acts of physical abuse in her plea deal.

The case has garnered significant attention due to the involvement of the Franke family in the online parenting community through their YouTube channel, “8 Passengers.” The channel, launched in 2015 by Ruby and her husband Kevin Franke, chronicled their experiences raising six children and amassed a substantial following. However, the revelations of abuse led to the cessation of the channel and Kevin Franke initiating divorce proceedings.

As the legal process unfolds, both Franke and Hildebrandt have the option to appeal their sentences within 30 days.