No Bail For "8 Passengers" Ruby Franke
Image Source: ConneXions Youtube Channel
Family vlogger Ruby Franke and business partner Jodi Hildebrandt have been arrested and charged with 6 counts of child abuse without bail. They now risk facing up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for each count.
The arrest comes following Franke’s severely malnourished 12-year-old son arriving at a neighbour's house on August 30th with multiple open wounds and duct tape on his ankles asking for food and water. The boy had climbed out of the window of Hildebrandt’s home and sought help from the neighbours. He and Franke’s 10-year-old daughter, who was found at the property in a similar condition, were taken to hospital for treatment. Two other children found at the property have also been taken into care.
Judge John Walton will be overseeing both women’s cases, with the next hearing scheduled for 21st September. Franke is also undergoing pre-trial hearings in juvenile court over the welfare of the children, with the next one scheduled for September 18th.
For the neighbours and many viewers the arrest has come as no surprise, with Franke’s sisters stating that the arrest “needed to happen”. Franke’s controversial and strict parenting style has been witnessed on her YouTube channel, 8 Passengers, which launched in 2015. These videos included her telling her sons that they would lose the privilege of eating dinner if they continued play-fighting, and taking away her teenage son's bedroom for seven months following pranks on his siblings.
The outrage from viewers and media as the channel brought in a larger audience did not change this behaviour, but the time between videos got increasingly longer until the channel was deleted earlier this year. However, Franke has remained present on social media through her work with counsellor and business partner Hildebrant through counselling business, ConneXions Classroom, which has also faced criticism for its extreme teachings.