The Ruby Franke Case: Strict Parenting or Child Abuse?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Nov 06, 2023 | 0 Comments

Strict parenting is in the news now with the arrest of Ruby Franke, a Utah YouTube star and mother of six. For years, Franke created video content for her “8 Passengers” account featuring her family and the details of their lives. Franke has long been criticized for her harsh parenting techniques, often captured on camera while Franke narrated her rationale for parenting decisions. YouTube removed her account earlier this year; around the same time, more people began criticizing her parenting and equating it with abuse.

While the Franke case is unusual, it's common to face child abuse investigations based on general allegations of abuse or neglect from people who observe your family from a distance. If you're facing child abuse charges in Pennsylvania, the Criminal Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm can help. Give them a call at 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation.

The Ruby Franke Case

Franke is now under arrest with more direct allegations of child abuse after her emaciated 12-year-old son appeared at a neighbor's door after escaping out a window with his wrists and ankles covered in duct tape. Now, some of Franke's earlier videos are also coming under scrutiny. For example:

  • Her 15-year-old son slept on a bean bag chair for seven months after she revoked his “bedroom privileges,”
  • She refused to bring food to her six-year-old after she forgot her lunch at home,
  • She often threatened to take away meals in videos,
  • She threatened to cut off the head of her daughter's teddy bear,
  • She took away her children's Christmas presents, and
  • She sent her oldest son to a “behavioral camp,” where he spent more than a month camping outdoors with little gear.

But now Franke faces more serious allegations. After the 12-year-old escaped, police discovered that Franke's 10-year-old daughter was also malnourished. The Department of Children and Family Service removed all the children from the home, and police charged Franke and her roommate and business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, with two felony counts each of felony child abuse.

Child Abuse Charges in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, allegations of child abuse are handled through ChildLine investigations of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. You could face investigation for things such as:

  • Causing injury through a recent act or failure to act,
  • Exaggerating a medical symptom resulting in harmful treatment,
  • Causing serious mental injury to a child,
  • Causing sexual abuse or exploitation of a child,
  • Creating a reasonable likelihood of injury, sexual abuse, or exploitation by a recent act or failing to act,
  • Serious physical neglect,
  • Causing the death of a child,
  • Child trafficking or sex trafficking of a child.

While the Franke case is an extreme example of child abuse allegations, you can also face scrutiny for parenting that others don't agree with.

Child Abuse Defense in Pennsylvania

If you're facing child abuse allegations, the consequences to your family can be serious and cause long-term harm. That's why you need the experienced Criminal Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm to protect your rights. They've been helping Pennsylvanians facing criminal charges for years and have guided hundreds of families through ChildLine investigations. Could you find out how they can help you? Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 or contact them online to schedule your consultation today.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

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