Ruby Franke’s Estranged Husband Kevin Is Suing Jodi Hildebrandt

Originally appeared on E! Online

Content warning: This story discusses child abuse.

The case surrounding Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt continues.

Two months after the former business partners were given four consecutive one to 15 year prison sentences on child abuse charges, Ruby's estranged husband Kevin Franke has filed a lawsuit against Jodi.

In the court documents, as obtained by local outlet KUTV and viewed by E! News, Kevin alleges Jodi was responsible for physical and emotional abuse against two of his and Ruby's six children—listed as 11-year-old son "R.F." and 9-year-old daughter "E.F." in the documents—after Ruby moved them into Jodi's home in May 2023.

In the documents, Kevin alleges Jodi confined his children to the basement of her house, "from which they were not allowed to leave without the permission of the Defendant or Ruby Franke" upon the threat of punishment. Among the punishments and "physical torture" Jodi is accused of inflicting against R.F. are "wall sits, carrying boxes full of books up and down stairs and [...] outside labor without shoes and in the summer heat."

The latter accusation is further detailed as R.F. being forced to stand in direct summer sunlight for days on end with minimal water and no sun protection, resulting in "repeated and serious sunburns with blistered and sluffing skin."

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The documents claim E.F. was subjected to similar treatment, noting she "was isolated and forced to do extreme and demanding physical tasks, remain outside and denied adequate food and water."

In addition to the physical labor, Kevin's lawsuit accuses Jodi of restraining R.F. with various bindings—including ropes and handcuffs—that "cut through the skin and damaged muscle and tissue." (When R.F. escaped Jodi's home on August 30 and sought help for himself and his sister from a neighbor, police reports noted he was found with "open wounds and duct tape around the extremities." Jodi and Ruby were arrested shortly after and eventually pleaded guilty to four counts of child abuse as part of a plea deal.)

Ruby Franke, Kevin Franke, Jodi Hildebrandt
Instagram / Moms of Truth

According to the lawsuit, R.F. and E.F. were told the punishments and abuse were necessary because the children were "evil and possessed" and needed to learn to "repent" and that the abuse was really "acts of love."

In the suit, Kevin is seeking a jury trial as well as an unspecified amount of damages for three specific causes of action: "intentional infliction of emotional distress," "negligent infliction of emotional distress" and "negligence."

E! News has reached out to both Ruby and Jodi's legal teams for comment and has not heard back.

In a written statement shared with KUTV, Kevin's lawyer Randy Kester said on his client's behalf, "This lawsuit marks a significant step in our journey towards seeking justice for myself and my children against the abuses inflicted by Ms. Hildebrandt. Ms. Hildebrandt weaponized her authority and professional training to cause tremendous harm and damage to myself, my children, and my family."

His statement added, "I am committed to doing everything I possibly can to ensure that this dangerous woman can never harm another individual again and to seek the long-term healing and welfare of my children."

Kevin officially filed for divorce from Ruby in November 2023—though they'd been separated and living apart for more than a year before then—and provided detailed testimony of the way the relationship between his family and Jodi developed as well as the abuse he witnessed.

For more details on the chilling case, keep reading.

Aug. 30, 2023: Children Found Malnourished

<p>Aug. 30, 2023: Children Found Malnourished</p>

Aug. 30, 2023: Arrest

<p>Aug. 30, 2023: Arrest&nbsp;</p>

Aug. 31, 2023: Ruby's Daughter Speaks Out

<p>Aug. 31, 2023: Ruby's Daughter Speaks Out</p>

Aug. 31, 2023: Ruby's Sisters React to Arrest

<p>Aug. 31, 2023: Ruby's Sisters React to Arrest</p>

Sept. 6, 2023: Charges Filed

<p>Sept. 6, 2023: Charges Filed</p>

The former 8 Passengers YouTuber and her business partner Jodi were each formally charged with six counts of felony child abuse by the Washington County Attorney in Utah.

Sept. 6, 2023: Kevin Franke Breaks Silence

<p>Sept. 6, 2023: Kevin Franke Breaks Silence</p>

Nov. 29, 2023: Kevin Files for Divorce

<p>Nov. 29, 2023: Kevin Files for Divorce</p>

Kevin officially filed for divorce from the Utah influencer, according to a domestic relations injunction obtained by NBC News.

Dec. 18: Guilty Pleas

<p>Dec. 18: Guilty Pleas</p>

E! confirmed Dec. 18 that Ruby had entered a guilty plea for four of her charges. At the time, per the Associated Press, she stated, "With my deepest regret and sorrow for my family and my children, guilty."

Jodi would also plead guilty to four counts of second-degree felony aggravated child abuse.

Feb. 20, 2024: Prison Sentencing

<p>Feb. 20, 2024: Prison Sentencing</p>

Both women were sentenced to four consecutive one to 15 year sentences, which will be capped at the 30-year max in Utah.

Feb. 20, 2024: Ruby Apologizes

<p>Feb. 20, 2024: Ruby Apologizes</p>

March 25, 2024: Ruby's Diary Revealed

<p>March 25, 2024: Ruby's Diary Revealed</p>

March 25, 2024: Kevin's Interview With Authorities Becomes Public

<p>March 25, 2024: Kevin's Interview With Authorities Becomes Public</p>

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