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Parenting advice YouTuber Ruby Franke pleads guilty in child abuse case

Utah mother pleads guilty to abusing and starving children. Influenced by relationship counselor. Divorce filed. Ex-YouTuber criticized for parenting decisions.

A mother of six from Utah, who previously shared parenting advice on a popular YouTube channel called "8 Passengers," has pleaded guilty to four felony counts of second-degree aggravated child abuse. Ruby Franke, who appeared in court wearing jail clothing, entered her guilty plea for each of the first three charges individually and expressed deep regret and sorrow for her actions. The judge accepted the plea agreement and scheduled her sentencing for February 20th. Franke's attorney acknowledged that the sentencing is left up to the judge and does not rule out prison time.

According to a statement released by her attorney's law firm, the alleged abuse occurred while Franke was influenced by a relationship counselor who led her to "a distorted sense of morality." The statement also mentioned that the counselor systematically isolated Franke from her extended family, older children, and her husband.

The charges arose after Franke's 12-year-old son escaped from a house in southern Utah and asked a neighbor to call the police. Upon investigation, the boy was found emaciated with duct tape around his ankles and wrists. Franke's 10-year-old daughter was also found at the house, and both children were taken to the hospital. Franke's four youngest children were eventually taken into state custody.

Franke and her associate, Jodi Hildebrandt, have been charged with six felony counts of aggravated child abuse. Both have remained jailed since their arrests. Franke's husband has filed for divorce, and Hildebrandt has agreed not to see patients until the allegations are addressed by state licensing officials.

The Franke family had previously faced criticism for their parenting decisions, as seen in their "8 Passengers" video blog, which included controversial disciplinary actions. The YouTube channel, which began in 2015, ended after seven years.

Franke's attorney emphasized that she is committed to taking responsibility for her actions and has been actively engaging in introspection during her incarceration. The statement also mentioned that Franke's moral compass has been reset, and she is dedicated to understanding the full weight of her actions.

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