COURTS & LEGAL

Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt to be sentenced Tuesday, possible for victims to speak

Feb 19, 2024, 6:27 PM | Updated: Feb 20, 2024, 6:55 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Two women at the center of a high-profile child abuse case in Utah will be sentenced Tuesday after they both pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated child abuse.

YouTube family channel content creator, Ruby Franke, and her former business partner, Connexions Classroom founder Jodi Hildebrandt will be sentenced by the same judge. Franke will receive her sentence first, immediately followed by Hildebrandt.

KSL TV’s legal analyst, Greg Skordas, said we could be hearing statements from both women and those closest to them.  He said the judge will read a presentence investigation report, which was done for both Franke and Hildebrandt. Then, he may read victim impact statements, or the victims may read their statements themselves.

“They’ll have victim impact statements, which are letters from the victims in the case, and they’ll be allowed to submit letters from friends and family — what we call character letters,” Skordas said.

Skordas predicts Hildebrandt and Franke will receive similar sentences.

“With four second-degree felony pleas, each of which carry one to 15 years in prison, I would anticipate the judge will run one to five years in prison on each count, and probably add that some of the counts will run consecutively, that is one after the other,” Skordas said.

He estimates both women will serve about 10 years in prison, but said the board of pardons will decide how long they stay behind bars.

“Given the age of the victims, the number of victims, and just the outrageous conduct here, I would assume the board of pardons would keep her in prison for the better part of 10 years,” Skordas said of Franke.

In December, Franke’s legal team said she agreed to testify against Hildebrandt as part of her plea deal. They claimed Franke was led astray by Hildebrandt. Skordas said it’s possible because of this, the judge may decide Hildebrandt is the more culpable of the two and give her a slightly greater sentence.

Skordas argued both women should accept the blame and apologize on Tuesday.

“It wouldn’t help Franke to blame Hildebrandt tomorrow, as she has been doing,” Skordas said. “She needs to accept responsibility and she needs to acknowledge her own conduct.”

Kevin Franke, Ruby Franke’s husband, has since filed for divorce. But many online have questioned his role in this family ordeal.

“If the state was going to bring charges against anyone else, including the husband of the defendant, the state would have done that by now. There’s no reason to hold back. And the fact that they didn’t charge Franke’s husband means to me that he probably cooperated with the state. He probably provided evidence for the state, and they decided not to charge him.”

Skordas said he believes public opinion and the facts that have come out detailing the abuse of two children will weigh heavily on this case, and each sentencing could potentially take some time.

“Victims are allowed to speak if they want or a victim. Representatives can speak. And certainly, the attorneys for both sides can speak. So the sentencing hearing on both of these defendants could go for some time,” Skordas said. “But the judge has almost certainly already read what he’s going to hear tomorrow.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Courts & Legal

FILE (KSL TV)...

Lindsay Aerts

Utah State Board of Education clarifies districts are in charge of bathroom law implementation

The Utah State Board of Education is clarifying that it's up to school districts to decide how they implement a new bathroom law in schools that requires students to use the bathroom of their gender assigned at birth

1 day ago

WASHINGTON - APRIL 14:  Activists line Wisconsin Avenue during a vigil outside the residence of Vic...

Matthew Barakat, Associated Press

Jury deliberating in Iraq Abu Ghraib prison abuse civil case; contractor casts blame on Army

A lawyer for a military contractor being sued by three survivors of the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq says the plaintiffs are suing the wrong people.

2 days ago

Texts shown during Chad Daybell's jury trial show he and Lori Daybell planned to be together in Haw...

Emily Ashcraft, KSL.com

Texts show Chad and Lori Daybell’s relationship days after her husband’s death

Jurors for Chad Daybell's trial heard testimony on Friday about Lori Daybell's texts from an FBI agent, along with the end of testimony from Lori Daybell's friend, Melanie Gibb.

5 days ago

Crime scene tape. (Getty Images)...

Associated Press

Police to review security outside courthouse hosting Trump’s trial after man sets himself on fire

Police officials say they are reviewing whether to restrict access to a public park outside the courthouse where former President Donald Trump is on trial after a man set himself on fire there.

5 days ago

FILE - Rays of sunlight pierce through the clouds Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023, above homes burned by wi...

Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, Associated Press

Hawaii Supreme Court chides state’s legal moves on water after deadly Maui wildfire

The Hawaii Supreme Court says the state attorney general's office must pay attorney fees for using last year's Maui wildfire tragedy to file a petition in “bad faith” that blamed a state court judge for a lack of water for firefighting.

6 days ago

Chad Daybell stands next to his attorney, John Prior, during his murder trial in Boise on Wednesday...

Emily Ashcraft, KSL.com

Chad and Lori Daybell used ‘castings’ to pray for spouses’ deaths, ex-friend testifies

An ex-friend of Lori Daybell testified Thursday that Chad and Lori Daybell prayed for evil spirits to leave their spouses, which if successful would mean the person would die.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt to be sentenced Tuesday, possible for victims to speak