‘All you were was a man who wanted sex, and you manipulated me and used me just for that’ – Elizabeth Cummins, 17
Student victim confronts pervert 52-year-old teacher who molested her as a 15-year-old at his sentencing, Wednesday in Nashville, Tenn.
Tad Cummins was handed a 20-year sentence for going on the run with Cummins when she was 15 and ‘having sex every day as they dodged law enforcement, moving from state to state’
Married Tennessee teacher Tad Cummins, was 50 when he went on a 38-day hiatus in 2017 with his 15-year-old student with whom he was having a sexual relationship
On Wednesday, Elizabeth Thomas, 17, wept as she confronted Cummins during his sentencing
In a moving victim impact statement, she called what he did to her ‘unspeakable’ – she told authorities she and Cummins had sex ‘every day as they traveled from state to state,’ between March 13 and April 20, 2017
The two skipped town after Cummins was suspended from school in February of 2017, when a 12-year-old student reported seeing Cummins kiss the teen
Prosecutors said Cummins ‘took advantage of a vulnerable girl with a history of abuse and neglect when he cultivated a sexual relationship with her’
Thomas said Cummins who called her his wife while they were on the lam, kept a gun in the car’s console and she couldn’t escape
Cummins pled guilty in April of 2018 to obstructing justice and taking a minor across state lines for sex, a year after an initial Not Guilty plea
The victim’s dad has filed a civil lawsuit against Cummins and Maury County Public Schools district, which is pending
Former Tennessee teacher Tad Cummins,[right], who was on the run for weeks with a 15-year-old student while having a sexual relationship, was sentenced to serve 20 years in prison. Victim Elizabeth Thomas, [left] now 17, was in court for the sentencing court on Jan 16
A federal judge has sentenced a married Tennessee teacher who went on the run for weeks with a 15-year-old student with whom he was having a sexual relationship, to serve 20 years in prison.
Tad Cummins, 52, pled guilty in April of 2018 to obstructing justice and taking a minor across state lines for sex. Cummins appeared for sentencing on Wednesday before US District Judge Aleta Trauger in Nashville
In a sentencing memorandum filed on Monday, prosecutors accused Cummins of taking advantage of a vulnerable girl with a history of abuse and neglect when he cultivated a sexual relationship with her. They asked for a sentence of 30 years.
Related: Tad Cummins, teacher who fled with his 15-year-old student, arrested in northern California five weeks after they fled their home in Tennessee, Girl recovered, safe
The teenage victim, Elizabeth Thomas, who is now 17, told authorities she and Cummins had sex ‘every day as they traveled from state to state,’ over 38 days between March 13 and April 20 of 2017, the Tennessean reported.
‘When I started school, you picked me out of the crowd. I was just a kid who wanted to make friends, but you were someone who had a plan,’ Thomas said in court during her victim impact statement, according to Radar Online.
‘You saw a broken girl who was lonely, scared, and traumatized. You made her feel safe and loved because you saw what she needed and made her believe you would be her “protector.”‘
Thomas previously revealed in an interview with ABC’s 20/20 that she felt like she had to go with Cummins or he would do something drastic, that he kept a gun in the car’s console during their cross-country drive, and she knew she couldn’t escape.
Tennessee high school student Elizabeth Thomas [right] was fifteen when she made a cross-country sex-filled trip with her then 50-year-old teacher Tad Cummins [left] in 2017. Her victim impact statement demonstrated how much trauma she’s dealt with, following months of grooming and assault at the hands of Cummins
Thomas’ victim impact statement demonstrated how much trauma she’s dealt with, following months of grooming and assault at the hands of Cummins.
‘You act like you care now and that you’re full of all this regret, but where was any of that before?’ Thomas asked in court.
‘Where was any of that when you first had me alone in your classroom closet and violated me over and over again for months?
Where was any of that when you spent untold amounts of time and effort into manipulating, pressuring and deceiving me into thinking that you were the only person that cared about me?’
Thomas went on: ‘All you were was a man who wanted sex, and you manipulated me and used me just for that.
Related: ‘I’m glad this is over’ – Tenn. teacher arrested for abducting student admits weariness to cops
‘But the truth is, no matter how much time you have to serve, you will never be able to undo what you did to me. I will have to live with the scars you left on me forever.’
Cummins first pled not guilty to the charges against him in May of 2017, but changed his plea without entering into a deal with prosecutors ‘after case review, consultation, and personal reflection,’ federal public defender Dumaka Shabazz wrote in a court filing.
Tad Cummins apologized in a later to his wife, Jill [left], written from jail on July 31, 2017, Cummins [right] accepted responsibility for his perverse behavior
In a later to his wife, Jill, written from behind bars on July 31, 2017, Cummins wrote: ‘I am the one to blame for everything,’ while adding that ‘the devil was deeply involved.’
Cummins met the teen when she was a student at Culleoka Unit School in Maury County, Tennessee.
Elizabeth Thomas aged 15 said she felt trapped in a physical relationship with, 50-year-old Thomas. She reluctantly agreed to leave town with Cummins two years ago, for fear that he would do something drastic if she refused, she said in court on Wednesday
Eventually, Thomas says Cummins told her she had to run away with him, or else he would kill himself or someone else, including her family.
Thomas said the teacher had two guns and he would threaten her with them.
Feeling trapped, Thomas said she reluctantly agreed to go with Cummins for fear that he would do something drastic if she didn’t.
On March 13, Thomas was reported missing on the same day that Cummins left a note for his wife telling her not to call the police, and saying that he need to leave town to clear his head.
Cummins is said to have convinced Thomas to leave with him and destroyed both of their phones so their whereabouts could not be traced as they made their way to a remote cabin near Cecilville, California.
‘As soon as we went to go leave, he set a gun in the middle console, and I knew that I wasn’t getting out of the car,’ Thomas said. ‘He made me throw my phone off a bridge and his phone as well, that way the police couldn’t track us.’
Thomas likened the ordeal to a kidnapping and described in detail Cummins’ controlling behavior, which included keeping her by his side at all times, even when she went to use the bathroom or shower, and telling her what to eat.
‘He told me he likes skinny girls,’ she said, adding that she often went hungry.
In the days after he fled with the teenager, they were seen on surveillance cameras going into a Walmart where they bought hair dye to change Elizabeth’s appearance.
They also bought cheese cubes, K-Y jelly, women’s razors and chocolate.
He later bought a two-seater kayak, allegedly for a failed plan to escape to Panama, and an iPad to try to monitor the media coverage of their case, prosecutors said.
When they would stay in motels, Thomas says Cummins made her sleep naked next to him and would keep her clothes separately so she could not leave.
‘He was really mean and said hurtful things a lot of the time,’ she said of Cummins. ‘He called me his wife sometimes and said that we were going to get married and I was going to live with him until I died.’
Cummins and Elizabeth were staying in one of these cabins in Cecilville, California when they were caught, and he was arrested on April 20, 2017
Authorities were alerted to their presence at the cabin by a neighbor who became suspicious when she saw the car being driven by Cummins without a license plate and noticed the very young-looking Thomas inside the vehicle, the Tennessean reported at the time of Cummins’ arrest.
The two were said to have been at the cabin for one week before Siskiyou County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Cummins.
‘We are all stoked she was found,’ property owner Michael ‘Monk’ O’Hare, who wasn’t on site while Cummins and Thomas stayed there, said at the time.
‘We’re a pretty tight small-knit community that’s hours from the nearest police department. We police our own community with diligence. Neighbors, friends and community members.’
In unsuccessfully arguing for the minimum sentence of 10 years, Cummins’ legal team noted he had no previous criminal history.