41-year-old Ruby Franke, who once ran a popular family YouTube channel called “8 Passengers,” is charged with six counts of felony child abuse after one of her four minor children escaped from her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt’s home malnourished and injured. Both Ruby and Jodi have been arrested and charged. Now, Ruby’s the one accusing her children of abuse.
During a hearing today, a tearful Ruby told the judge that one of her children had started looking at p0rn at three years old.
Ruby then went on to say that this child started abusing one of their younger siblings and that the two of them teamed up to abuse over 20 people together, including friends and neighbors.
She didn’t elaborate on the abuse but says that it involved a “patting game.”
The judge responded to this allegation by stating that the child she’s accusing of abuse needs to be “placed in a home with no other children.”
A mother of one of the child’s alleged victims was present and ready to speak in more detail, but the judge declined, saying that this could wait for a future date.
Early signs of trouble
Over the years, Ruby openly shared her harsh parenting tactics, including withholding food and taking their beds as punishments. The backlash Ruby received from the YouTube community over these things led her to stop making content on the family’s 8 Passengers channel.
A few years ago, Ruby’s husband, Kevin Franke, moved out of the house. Ruby started making content with Jodi Hildebrandt for their company “Connexions,” where they offered life and parenting advice. Some of their content was free, but Jodi offered one-on-one “training” for $175 an hour.
In her content for “Connexions,” Ruby continued to give strict, controlling parenting advice. She told parents to monitor every aspect of their children’s lives and to take extreme measures to get them to comply. She preached the idea that minors don’t deserve any measure of privacy.
From bad to horrific
Although people have been concerned about the Franke children for years, Ruby’s treatment of her children appears to have escalated since she took them offline. When her 12-year-old escaped from Jodi Hildebrant’s home on August 30, they had duct tape around their ankles and wrists. They were thirsty and emaciated.
Family members have made CPS reports about the Franke family that didn’t result in any action, and just last year, police were called to Ruby Franke’s house because she left them home alone for an extended period.
How much prison time is Ruby facing?
Ruby has six counts of abuse, each carrying a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
There were four minors under Ruby’s care at the time of her arrest, but she also has two adult children.