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‘8 Passengers’ case: Jodi Hildebrandt follows vlogger Ruby Franke in child abuse guilty plea

Jodi Hildebrandt, of Ivins, at her first court appearance Sept. 8. Hildebrandt pleaded guilty to child abuse Wednesday. | Screenshot
ST. GEORGE, Utah (KSL.com) — Jodi Nan Hildebrandt pleaded guilty Wednesday to four counts of aggravated child abuse, a second-degree felony, admitting to abusing the children of Ruby Franke in a hearing that lasted only a few minutes.
One of the children of Franke, who had been Hildebrandt’s business partner, escaped through a window at Hildebrandt’s home in August and asked a neighbor for food and water, according to charging documents. The child appeared to have been trapped in the home for some time, the documents said.
Hildebrandt, 54, is the founder of Orem-based mental and emotional healing company Connexions Classroom, which purported to help people with addiction and mental health issues. Ruby Franke, who previously ran the “8 Passengers” YouTube channel that had over 2.3 million subscribers, helped run the YouTube channel associated with Connexions Classroom.
Hildebrandt was charged with six counts of aggravated child abuse, all second-degree felonies — two counts were dismissed as part of a plea deal.
Her attorney Doug Terry told reporters outside the courthouse Wednesday that Hildebrandt decided to plead guilty before Franke ever entered a plea.
“She has pled guilty because she … did not want these children to have to testify. She takes responsibility. And it is her main concern, at this point, that these children can heal — both physically and emotionally,” he said.
Franke pleaded guilty on Dec. 18 to the same charges. Both women will be sentenced on Feb. 20.
In a statement filed with the court prior to her plea, Franke admitted her “actions involved the physical torture of her son.” The statement said he was forced to do physical tasks, including work outside without shoes and stand in direct sunlight for extended periods of time while being denied water.
This story will be updated.
The post ‘8 Passengers’ case: Jodi Hildebrandt follows vlogger Ruby Franke in child abuse guilty plea appeared first on East Idaho News.
Source: eastidahonews.com

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