Ruby Franke's Horrific Abuse Conviction, Explained

This article contains descriptions of child abuse and neglect.

Ruby Franke has been convicted of child abuse after the details of her mistreatment toward her children came to light. If you're unfamiliar, her case is filled with twists and turns and began years before her conviction.

In 2015, Ruby and her husband, Kevin Franke, began documenting their family's life in vlogs posted to YouTube. Even back then it didn't take long for viewers to raise concerns over how Ruby treated her six kids. From not bringing her daughter lunch to having her son sleep on a bean bag, viewers questioned a number of her choices. It got so bad a petition for authorities to check on the Franke family even circulated in 2020. Ruby dodged concerns left and right, but the family did stop their vlog, and she even joined forces with Utah therapist Jodi Hildebrandt for a new podcast. The public wouldn't discover until three years later that Franke and Hildebrandt were abusing some of the Franke children.

According to Fox 13, in August 2023, one of Franke's children climbed out of a window to escape Hildebrandt's home before going to a neighbor for food and water. When the neighbor noticed the child's wrists and ankles were duct taped, they alerted authorities. In the documents, authorities revealed the child was severely malnourished. They also found another child in the home in a similar state. Franke and Hildebrandt were both arrested, and the two pleaded guilty to child abuse shortly thereafter. Now, Ruby Franke has been convicted.

Ruby Franke's plea deal lightened her sentence a bit

It didn't take long for Ruby Franke to plead guilty to the child abuse charges. According to KUTV, the mom of six appeared in court in December 2023, just months after her arrest, and officially pleaded guilty. The plea deal agreement included two of the six counts of child abuse being dropped, and Franke had to testify against former business partner and friend Jodi Hildebrandt, who she said influenced her abuse toward her children. When asked by the judge what she pleaded, Franke told the court, "With my deepest regret and sorrow for my family and my children, guilty."

The plea deal also went into more horrific details of the abuse that two of her children endured while under her care. According to documents obtained by Today, Franke would kick her son and hold his head underwater while restricting his breathing by covering his mouth and nose. She would also force her daughter to "work outside without shoes and run barefoot on dirt roads for an extended period of time." With all the terrible details uncovered, not to mention her guilty plea, it was only a matter of time until Franke's conviction.

Now, Franke has officially been sentenced to 4-60 years in prison for child abuse on February 20, 2024, per Page Six. Franke broke down in tears as the sentence was handed down, but with what she allegedly did to her children, many find it difficult to sympathize with her.

What does the 4 to 60 year sentence mean?

Ruby Franke's sentence of 4 to 60 years in prison can be confusing. Why is there such a wide range? Well, Franke was essentially charged on four counts of child abuse, and each count includes a sentence of 1-15 years in prison, which will run consecutively, per Page Six. This means that the least amount of time that Franke can spend in prison is four years because she must serve for each count of child abuse. The maximum she can serve reaches a height of 60 years -– at least, that's what it appeared to be.

However, according to Komo news, Utah has a code in place in which consecutively run sentences are not allowed to exceed 30 years unless the prisoner is given a life or death sentence, which Franke was not. And since this case occurred in Utah, the most time Franke can actually be sentenced to is 30 years, not 60. Now, it's up to the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole to determine the exact amount of time she will spend in prison.

While Franke has the opportunity to appeal, that doesn't seem likely based on her statement given in court during her conviction, as reported by Page Six. "I am humbled and willing to serve a prison sentence for as long as I need," she said. "I am committed to unlearning my toxic behavior." Based on her statement, it seems that Franke is willing to do whatever time the board gives her.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.