The estranged husband of YouTube family influencer Ruby Franke won’t be speaking out directly on the child abuse charges against her.
Randy Kester, Kevin Franke’s attorney, told Today that he is “making an effort to rebuild and bridge these relationships rather than sling mud and point fingers,” after Ms Franke’s six criminal counts were announced.
Attention turned to Kevin Franke after the sisters of Ruby Franke - Julie Griffiths Deru and Bonnie Hoellin - jumped online to weigh in on the situation by making YouTube videos.
They claim that they had no idea of their sister’s behaviour, as they cut ties with her some time ago.
Yet Ms Hoellin said in her video that “It was Kevin’s job to check in on things and he did not.”
Mr Kester, in response to Ms Hoellin’s statement, said that Kevin Franke is more interested in making sure his family can come back from this.
“I think she admits that she, too, was out of the loop and had not had any contact with the children herself ... however, Kevin is more interested in reaching out to his children, family, and friends to heal the past trauma and events,” Mr Kester told Today.
“(Kevin) is making an effort to rebuild and bridge these relationships rather than sling mud and point fingers. “He is focused on doing what is best for his kids at this point, even if that means undergoing some introspection. None of that process, however, is going to be creating more distance between him and his family, including his extended family. He wishes Bonnie and her family well as we all travel down this path of healing.”
Ms Hoellin also said that Kevin Franke could have helped but he had “zero contact” with his family.
In an interview with Law&Crime with last week, Mr Kester said that Kevin Franke didn’t know his wife and kids had moved to Ivans, Utah, as at that point he was separated from his wife for 13 months and had no contact with his children during that time.
Ruby Franke allegedly told her husband that they both needed to work on their marriage, but that it would be better if he moved out and did not communicate with the children.
Seemingly absent while recent alleged child abuse was going on, in connection also with Ruby Franke’s business partner Jodi Hildebrandt, many think he genuinely had no idea what was going on.
However, many people on social media are quick to point out other behaviour that was captured in YouTube videos on the popular channel ‘8 Passengers’ that was run by Ruby and Kevin Franke.
In one instance, Kevin Franke supports the decision to send their 14-year-old son to the Anasazi Foundation Wilderness Therapy Program, an “outdoor behavioural healthcare program” for children who struggle with “defiance” and other behavioural problems.
"(What) many of you are criticising or calling abusive are actually things that mental health professionals have counselled us to," Kevin Franke said in the video.
Other punishments on the channel were often heavily criticised by viewers, such as Ruby Franke denying her children their personal space or food, and forcing them to do push-ups. She also withheld Christmas presents for her two youngest children and took away her eldest son’s bed for seven months, making him sleep on a beanbag. All of this was documented on the channel.
Kevin Franke’s attorney has defended his stance in their current situation, saying that his wife was “emotionally controlling him” and Ms Hildebrand “manipulated the both of them
“Kevin never had any reason to believe that his children were being abused. And if he had even one inkling that his kids were being abused and that the separation wasn’t for any other purpose than to figure out a way between him and Ruby to reunite their family, he would have been down there in two seconds,” Mr Kester said to Law&Crime.
Kevin Franke and his attorney appeared in a court in Utah court Monday for a second custody hearing for the kids. Ruby Franke and their oldest daughter, 20-year-old Shari Franke, were also in attendance, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.