Kevin Franke is hoping "to heal the past trauma and events" with his children, after their mother was arrested on child abuse charges, his lawyer tells TODAY.com
Kevin Franke, the husband of disgraced vlogger Ruby Franke, did not choose to leave his wife, but won't "point fingers" at her either after she and her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt were charged with child abuse, Kevin's attorney tells TODAY.com.
Ruby, 41, and Hildebrandt, 54, were arrested late last month in Ivins, Utah, after the two youngest Franke children were found “emaciated” by police, according to a probable cause affidavit previously obtained by PEOPLE. Officers arrived at Hildebrandt’s home to check on the kids after a neighbor called 911 reporting that Ruby’s 12-year-old son had come to his house “covered in wounds,” asking for food and water.
Kevin’s attorney Randy Kester has portrayed the father as a “very gentle” person who had no role in his children’s alleged abuse. Kevin and Ruby share six children, who range from ages 10 to 20.
Four of the Franke’s children were taken into child protective services following Ruby’s arrest last month. She continues to be held in jail without bail after a hearing for her and Hildebrandt was delayed on Monday until sometime in early October.
Kester told TODAY.com that Kevin and Ruby had been separated “at Ruby’s directive” for about 13 months.
"Kevin did not want to be separated," Kester claimed to the outlet. "He wanted to work through concerns as a family. There was never any formal, written decree of separate maintenance or separation agreement. The separation was under terms proscribed by Ruby and Jodi Hildebrandt."
Kester also told the outlet that Kevin is currently working on mending his relationship with his children.
"(Kevin) is making an effort to rebuild and bridge these relationships rather than sling mud and point fingers," Kester told TODAY.com. "He is focused on doing what is best for his kids at this point, even if that means undergoing some introspection."
Neighbors have told PEOPLE that Ruby would often travel back and forth to Hildebrandt’s home in Ivins, Utah — about four hours away from the Franke’s house in Springville, Utah — and would stay for weeks. She would often bring her two youngest children with her while leaving her two teenage girls home alone in Springville for weeks on end, one neighbor described.
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“It's odd,” the neighbor, who spoke with PEOPLE on the condition of anonymity, said earlier this month. Over the past year, the neighbor described the Franke children’s presence in the neighborhood as dwindling. “She really started isolating her kids,” the neighbor said.
Last week, Franke’s sister Bonnie Hoellein spoke out about her nieces’ and nephews’ alleged abuse and laid blame on Kevin, saying he was the “one person that could have done something” to help the kids but that the family “had zero contact with him.”
“It was Kevin's job to check in on the kids and he did not,” Hoellein said in a YouTube video.
Kester addressed the comments in his interview with TODAY.com, saying "I think she admits that she, too, was out of the loop and had not had any contact with the children herself.”
“Kevin is more interested in reaching out to his children, family, and friends to heal the past trauma and events,” Kester added.
Kevin and his attorney appeared in a Utah court on Monday for a second custody hearing for the kids. Ruby and Kevin's oldest daughter, 20-year-old Shari Franke, was also in attendance, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.
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