YouTuber Ruby Franke Pleads Guilty in Child Abuse Case

Over three months after Ruby Franke and her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt were charged with six counts of felony child abuse, Franke has pled guilty to her charges.

By Hayley Santaflorentina Dec 18, 2023 9:21 PMTags
Watch: Youtuber Ruby Franke Pleads GUILTY to 4 Charges

Content warning: This story discusses child abuse.

Ruby Franke's legal case has a new development.

Three months after the Utah-based influencer, who is mom to six, and her business partner Jodi Hlidebrandt were arrested and charged with six counts of felony child abuse, Franke has entered her plea for four of the charges. 

During a court appearance on Dec. 18, Franke pleaded guilty to each of the first three charges, per the Associated Press, and on the fourth added, "With my deepest regret and sorrow for my family and my children, guilty."

The outlet reported that the presiding Judge John J. Walton accepted the 41-year-old's plea agreement and scheduled sentencing for Feb. 20. The agreement also does not exclude jail time and leaves the sentencing up to the judge, per Franke's attorney LaMar Winward.

E! News has reached out to Winward for comment but has not yet heard back. 

Franke and her business partner were first arrested on Aug. 30 after Franke's 12-year-old son fled Hildebrandt's house to ask help of a neighbor, who found the child emaciated and with open wounds and duct tape around his wrists. Law enforcement then found Franke's 10-year-old daughter in a similarly malnourished condition at Hildebrandt's house.

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Ultimately, four of Franke's six children—whom she shares with her estranged husband Kevin Franke—were taken into custody following the events of Aug. 30. 

Now, in a recent statement, Franke's law firm says much of the alleged abuse was a result of Hildebrandt's influence. 


"Ruby Franke is a devoted mother and is also a woman committed to constant improvement, the Dec. 15 statement from Winward Law read, per the AP. The missive continued by alleging that Franke initially felt Hildebrandt "had the insight to offer a path to continual improvement," but that the 54-year-old eventually "took advantage of this quest and twisted it into something heinous."

Hildebrandt is due to appear in court on Dec. 27. E! News has reached out to her lawyer for comment but has not heard back.  

When it comes to the charges against Franke, a few of her family members have spoken out—including her sisters and her eldest daughter, Shari Franke, 20. 

For their part, Franke's sisters Ellie MechamBonnie Hoellein and Julie Deru shared a joint statement to Instagram shortly following their sister's arrest. 


"For the last 3 years we have kept quiet on the subject of Ruby Franke for the sake of her children," their Aug. 31 post read. "Behind the public scene, we have done everything to try and make sure the kids were safe. We wouldn't feel right about moving forward with regular content without addressing the most recent events. Once we do, we will not be commenting on it any further."

They added, "Ruby was arrested which needed to happen. Jodi was arrested which needed to happen. The kids are now safe, which is the number one priority."

Utah's Division of Child and Family Services were called to check on the family in 2020 after videos on their YouTube channel caused concern among followers about the nature of the family's punishments, but the investigation was reportedly closed, per a letter from the DCFS obtained by Insider, because abuse claims were found to be unsupported at the time.

Shari—who is a junior at Brigham Young University—also celebrated her mother's arrest.

"Finally," she wrote on her Instagram Story after her mother's arrest, adding in a subsequent post, "Today has been a big day. Me and my family are so glad justice is being served. We've been trying to tell the police and CPS for years about this, and so glad they finally decided to step up. Kids are safe, but there's a long road ahead. Please keep them in your prayers and also respect their privacy."

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