It’s been a decade since Jessi Hildebrandt has seen her aunt Jodi Hildebrandt and she says that the abuse the Franke children suffered is similar to the severe abuse she experiences under Jodi’s care. Jodi Hildebrandt was arrested August 30 along with her business partner Ruby Franke for multiple counts of abusing Ruby’s four minor children (she has six in total.)
Jessi spoke with reporter Brian Schnee of KUTV2 in Utah to relate her story of abuse at the hands of Jodi when she was a teenager. She says she was tied, duct-taped, blindfolded, and kept in extreme isolation.
Along with this torturous physical abuse, Jessi says she was also severely emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically abused. She was told that she was such a dangerous individual that she shouldn’t be around other people, and she came to believe that about herself.
She was told not to speak to others, even if they spoke to her. A lot of the time, though, she had duct tape over her mouth so she couldn’t physically speak. Jessi says Jodi had “systems of people” who would report to Jodi if she spoke to them or broke any other rules.
One time she was forced to sleep outside in the snow, which is extremely dangerous.
Jessi says that Jodi’s who system is based on the idea of shame. Jessi wasn’t allowed to use tampons or use the bathroom with the door close. She wasn’t allowed any kind of privacy.
Jodi also accused Jessi of being a p0rn addict, when Jessi wasn’t even aware of such things. This is particularly interesting, considering that Ruby recently told the court that at least two of her children were p0rn addicts and sexual abusers.
Jessi, for one, feels like what Ruby said about her children mirrors what she experienced. Jessi says she even confessed to things that she did not do to get the punishment and abuse to stop.
Jodi even told Jodi that she was sure that she had had abortions, when that wasn’t true.
I spoke at length with Jessi Hildebrandt today, who details abuse while living with #JodiHildebrandt.
— 𝐁𝐫𝐢𝐚𝐧 𝐒𝐜𝐡𝐧𝐞𝐞 (@brian_schnee) September 11, 2023
Because of all that she went through, Jessi wants everyone to acknowledge how big a part Jodi has in this case. She thinks that Ruby is also to blame, of course, but doesn’t want the focus to solely be on Ruby.
“It’s been a really interesting experience watching everyone focus on Ruby and I understand why, but this is Jodi, these are Jodi’s words, these are Jodi’s ideas,” Jessi Hildebrandt says.
“I just hope that Jodi is not sidelined,” said Jessi, when seeing Ruby Franke receive a majority of the coverage on this case. “I mean she is so connected to is happening and yes, Ruby needs to be held accountable because she made those choices, she’s just as guilty, but Jodi’s been doing this for much longer.”
Before Ruby stopped her family vlog to focus on content with Jodi, she often displayed signs of disturbing punishment for her kids and extreme anger over the slightest thing. It’s unclear exactly when Ruby met Jodi and when Jodi’s ideas might have started to influence Ruby.
The last time Jessi saw Jodi was about 10 years ago at a wedding. When she was a teenager she spent about a year with her, which is in when she says she underwent terrible abuse at Jodi’s hands. She has never met Ruby, and had not even heard of her until the arrest.