YouTuber Ruby Franke Tearfully Apologizes to Kids During Child Abuse Sentencing

Utah-based YouTuber Ruby Franke read out an emotional apology after being sentenced to between one and 60 years in prison for felony child abuse.

By Hayley Santaflorentina Feb 20, 2024 7:00 PMTags
Watch: YouTuber Ruby Franke Sentenced in Child Abuse Case

Content warning: This story discusses child abuse.

Ruby Franke is expressing her remorse.

Ahead of being sentenced to four to 60 years in prison for child abuse in a Feb. 20 hearing, the 42-year-old—who had pleaded guilty to four felony charges—apologized to her husband Kevin Franke and her six children.

"For the past four years, I've chosen to follow counsel and guidance that has led me into a dark delusion," an emotional Franke said during the hearing, which was streamed live on the Utah court's website. "My distorted version of reality went largely unchecked as I would isolate from anyone who challenged me."

She continued, "To my babies, you are a part of me. I believed dark was light and right was wrong. I would do anything in this world for you. I took from you all that was soft, and safe, and good."

And to her estranged husband, who filed for divorce in December, she tearfully added, "Kevin, my husband of 23 years, you are the love of my life. I am so sorry to leave to you what we both started together."

TV's Most Killer True Crime Transformations

Though Franke was given was given four consecutive one to 15-year sentences—meaning she could spend between four and 40 years in prison—her exact time behind bars will be determined by the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole.

Her former business partner Jodi Hildebrandt was given the same sentence of four, one to 15-year sentences to be served consecutively after being charged with the same counts of felony child abuse. 


Franke, who rose to fame by giving parenting advice to followers on YouTube, and Hildebrandt were arrested last summer after a minor escaped from Hildebrandt's house and sought a neighbor's help. Officials stated at the time that the juvenile's condition was so severe they were taken to a local hospital. After police went to the child's home, they found another minor in a similar state of malnourishment and transported them to the hospital as well.

Ultimately, four minor children were placed in the care of Department of Child and Family Services following Franke and Hildebrandt arrests. In December, both Franke and Hildebrandt—a mental health counselor—pleaded guilty to four counts of second-degree felony aggravated child abuse, according to court documents viewed by Today.

Following the pair's arrests, a number of Franke's family members spoke out against her, including sisters Ellie MechamBonnie Hoellein and Julie Deru.

"For the last 3 years we have kept quiet on the subject of Ruby Franke for the sake of her children," they wrote in a joint statement shared to Instagram in August. "Behind the public scene, we have done everything to try and make sure the kids were safe. 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."

(NBC and E! News are part of the NBCUniversal family.) 

For the latest breaking news updates, click here to download the E! News App