READ: Ruby Franke, Jodi Hildebrandt’s full sentencing statements

Both women will spend at least four years in prison.

(Sheldon Demke | Pool) Jodi Hildebrandt appears during a sentencing hearing in St. George, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024.

Utah parenting influencer Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt, who authorities have described as Franke’s business partner, each gave statements to a 5th District Court judge Tuesday.

The women read aloud the statements before they were each sentenced to prison on aggravated child abuse charges. Below is an edited transcription of their statements in their entirety.

Ruby Franke’s statement:


“I would like to make a statement without any intent to change my stipulated sentence. For the past four years, I’ve chosen to follow counseling guidance that has led me into a dark delusion. My distorted version of reality went largely unchecked, as I would isolate from anyone who challenged me.

“I was led to believe that this world was an evil place — filled with cops who control, hospitals that injure, government agencies that brainwash, church leaders who lie and lust, husbands who refuse to protect and children who need [to be] abused. My choice to believe and behave this paranoia culminated into criminal activity, for which I stand before you today ready to take accountability.

“Jodi Hildebrandt was never my business partner, nor was I ever employed by her. I have never received wages from her or ConneXions. Jodi was employed as my son’s counselor in 2019, and in 2020, I paid her to be my mentor. It is important to me to demonstrate my remorse and regret without blame. I take full accountability for my choices, and it is my preference that I serve a prison sentence.

[Read more: Ruby Franke, Jodi Hildebrandt sentenced to prison in Utah child abuse case]

“Thank you to the officers in Santa Clara and the Ivins City police: Nick Hallman, Brian Peluffo, Si [Simon] Pikyavit, Mike Pondoyo, Nick Tobler, Jon Ward ... and Chief Flowers. You are the angels who came and saved my children. I especially want to thank detective Jessica Bate. She plucked me out of a situation I didn’t know how to get out of, and the moment she handcuffed me was the moment I gained my freedom. You were not the controlling ones — I was.

“Thank you to the medical staff at Intermountain Hospital. Your skill, tenderness and professionalism helped to heal my children. Jodi and I inflicted the injuries — not the hospital. Thank you to [the Utah Division of Child and Family Services], the Children’s Justice Center, [4th District Juvenile Court] Judge [Suchada] Bazzelle and other key adults. You’ve gathered my children under your wing and offered them love, compassion, encouragement. You were not the ones who were doing the brainwashing.

(Sheldon Demke | Pool) Ruby Franke appears during a sentencing hearing in St. George, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024.

“Thank you to my bishop, Tom Hawks, and my stake president, Jim Nelson, for reminding me of the Lord’s love for the lost. So much pain and suffering would have been avoided had I followed and heeded your counsel. I was the one who was deceived, not you. Thank you to the Washington County prosecutor’s office, [prosecutor] Ryan Shaum, the legal assistants and discovery clerks. [Washington County Attorney] Eric Clarke, you exemplify to me how justice and mercy are meant to coexist. My charges are just, they offer safety to my family, accountability to the public, and they did show mercy to me.

“Thank you to my attorney, Lamar Winward, and his staff — I would not be where I am today without them. Thank you to Randy Kester for your limitless energy in healing my family. My dear friends, Pam and Roy, I’m so sorry for letting you down. Because of your association with me, your innocence was called into question. My mother-in-law, father-in-law, Kevin’s family, my cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and neighbors. You all saw the warning signs long before I did, and you did what you could. You wanted to help but I pushed you away.

“My mother and father, I have been utterly wretched to you. You have offered me unconditional love. And for that I have offered you unconditional contempt. My siblings and their spouses — because of my decision to roll around in a pigsty, I’ve drug your families through the mud in public. Yet when I desired to return as a prodigal sister, unlike the prodigal’s brother in the Bible, you synced step with my parents and ran out to greet me. Your capacity to love is unprecedented.”

“Kevin, my husband of more than 23 years,” Franke said, starting to cry. “You are the love of my life. [I’m] so sorry to leave to you to finish what we both started together. The ending of our marriage is a tragedy. And you are wrapped around my heart in a knot I’ll never be able to undo.

“To my babies; my six little chicks — you are a part of me. I was the mama duck who was consistently waddling you to safety. I can see now that over the past four years, I was in a deep undercurrent that led us to danger. I would never have led you to darkness knowingly — I was so disoriented that I believed dark was light and right was wrong. I would do anything in this world for you. My willingness to sacrifice all for you was masterfully manipulated into something very ugly. I took from you all that was soft, and safe, and good. I took from you, your mother. How terrifying this must have been for you.

“I will — I will never stop crying for hurting your tender souls. You are so precious to me, I’m sorry. My choice to live in fear of the world has created a great vulnerability and a blind spot for me — where I have broken hearts, and I’ve caused people to suffer and I have betrayed sacred trust. Watching my community respond to my charges with justice and mercy and grace and love is all the more evidence to me of how wrong I’ve been. This world is full of really good people.

“And finally, I’m sorry for twisting God’s word and distorting His doctrines. My greatest desire is to stand in His court someday spotless and confident. Judge Walton, I know that standing before you today is a necessary step towards that end. Thank you to you and your staff for facilitating my opportunity to take accountability and to answer for my charges.

“I am humbled and willing to serve a prison sentence as long as it takes to continue unraveling all of this information I have believed, and bought, swallowed and acted out. And for my family to heal and for the community to heal, and I understand this is going to take time. I’m committed to continuing my learning until all of my toxic layers are shed, and I am ready to reenter as a contributing member of our beautiful society.”

Jodi Hildebrandt’s statement:

“I sincerely love these children. I desire for them to heal physically and emotionally. One of the reasons I did not go to trial is I did not want them to emotionally relive the experience, which would have been detrimental to them.

“My hope and prayer is that they will heal and move forward to have beautiful lives. I’m willing to submit to what the state feels would be an appropriate amount of time served to make retribution as an outcome.”