Jodi Ann Hildebrandt, 54, from Ivins has appeared for a preliminary waiver hearing at the 5th District Court in St. George. Jodi is the second of the two defendents in the case. Washington County Attorney Eric Clarke and Prosecutor Ryan Shaum represented the state, while Hildebrandt was represented by defense attorney Douglas Terry.
Held before the District Judge John J. Walton, Terry said his client would be waiving the preliminary waiving. She had signed a plea agreement where she pleaded guilty to the four second-grade felony counts of aggravated child abuse. The two remaining counts of the same charge have been dismissed under the terms of the agreement.
Hildebrandt who is the founder of the Youtube channel Connexions Classroom and her business partner as well as co-defendent, Ruby Franke who is the mother of six from Springville, were charged with six counts aggravated child abuse.
An emergency call reporting a malnourished boy at an Ivins residence asking for food and water initiated a search of the Hildebrandt residence. The search revealed a second child who was found in a similar malnourished state.
The responding officers described the young boy in a state of “severe” malnourishment. Authorities also found open wounds and deep lacerations, allegedly caused by rope that was used to tie the child to the ground.
Additional details have emerged in the statements in support of the guilty plea that Hildebrandt signed before the hearing. The defendent has admitted to forcing one of the kids to “remain outside at all hours of the day and night for extended periods of time,” that caused“repeated and serious sunburns with blistered and sloughing skin.”
The defendent’s action may also have caused severe emotional harm to the younger child who was subject to similar treatment that included being forced to stay outside for long hours without food and water as well as isolation.
Terry has said on behalf of his client that, “It is her main concern at this point that these children can heal both physically and emotionally.”