(NewsNation) — Parenting YouTuber Ruby Franke and her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt were arrested last month on charges of aggravated child abuse after an emaciated child reportedly escaped to a neighbor’s house to ask for food.
Hildebrandt is a licensed clinical mental health counselor who ran ConneXions Classroom, which advertised itself as offering mental health and addiction services. Hildebrandt’s license was put on probation for 18 months in 2012 after she discussed a client’s porn addiction with Mormon church leaders without the client’s permission.
Now, former clients of Hildebrandt are claiming that she was abusing her patients as a counselor. Brian Tibbets, Spencer Tibbets and Adam Paul Steed joined “Banfield” exclusively Wednesday to share their story.
Steed and both Tibbets allege that they are victims of cultlike therapy techniques conducted by Hildebrandt.
They also allege that despite going to Hildebrandt for therapy on different topics, she treated them for sex and porn addictions, despite none of the men having them.
“I never felt a good connection with her. She was, like, really cold and rude and never seemed like she really cared about me as a kid, especially compared to other, better therapists I’ve had,” Spencer Tibbets said.
Ruby Franke is a Mormon mother of six from Utah. She and her husband, Kevin Franke, ran a YouTube channel called “8 Passengers” about life with their six children, who currently range in age from 10 to 20. At the peak of the channel’s popularity, the family had more than two million followers.
8 Passengers garnered controversy for showing the children in vulnerable moments and for what Franke called her strict parenting style. Those who spoke out against the channel said she was openly abusing her children. The channel was removed from YouTube this year.
After the channel was removed, Franke began the new venture with Hildebrandt called ConneXions Classroom. That channel focused on mental health and counseling. It was removed after Franke and Hildebrandt were arrested.
NewsNation’s Stephanie Whiteside contributed to this report.