The niece of Ruby Franke’s business partner Jodi Hildebrandt claims her aunt exposed her to “severe” psychological and emotional abuse.
Jessi Hildebrandt, who uses they/them pronouns, came forward to Utah’s local KUTV and alleged that they “experienced” the child abuse that Jodi and Franke are accused of committing while they lived with her.
“I experienced being tied, I experienced being duct-taped, I experienced being blindfolded, I experienced severe isolation, I experienced severe emotional, spiritual and psychological abuse,” they told the news outlet.
Jessi also claimed that Jodi consistently told them that they were “dangerous to be around” and warned them against spending time with other people.
“People were afraid of me to the point that I was afraid of myself,” they explained, adding that they were allegedly “forced to sleep outside in the snow.”
“If someone spoke to me directly, if I wasn’t wearing duct tape on my mouth I had to just stare at them and not respond,” Jessi claimed.
The tattoo artist claimed their aunt’s therapy tactics all stem from “shame,” so Jodi would attempt to “force sin out” by making Jessi’s life increasingly “uncomfortable.”
“[Jodi] is remarkably convincing. She is also terrifying if you cross her because she has and will systematically destroy your life,” Jessi added. “She destroys reputation, she destroys your credibility.”
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Jessi said they hope Jodi is “not able to slip away and kind of fade into the background” as the attention mostly has been focused on Franke, 41.
Franke and Jodi, 54, were both arrested on Aug. 30 and charged with two counts of aggravated child abuse when one of the momfluencer’s children ran — while their extremities were duct-taped — to a neighbor seeking water and food.
The business partners, who founded alleged cult ConneXions together, were booked in jail without bail. The duo were slapped with four additional counts of child abuse charges about a week after their arrest.
Jodi’s attorneys filed a motion for an expedited hearing on Sept. 8 on the grounds that she had “experienced a life-threatening medical issue” while in jail, causing her to be hospitalized for “several days.”
The therapist’s condition remains unclear, though she’s still under medical observation.
Franke was also briefly placed under medical observation but ultimately was moved back to her holding block.
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