A former Tennessee teacher who admitted to kidnapping a 15-year-old student in 2017, prompting a nationwide manhunt, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison with lifetime supervision.
Tad Cummins, 52, was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Nashville.
Cummins was a teacher at Culleoka Unit School in Columbia, Tennessee, when officials said he kidnapped the student and fled the state March 13, 2017, with the intent of having sex with her.
Cummins was the subject of a nationwide manhunt that ended April 20, 2017, when he and the victim were found in Cecilville, California.
He was charged with transporting a minor across state lines to engage in sexual conduct and obstruction of justice.
In court Wednesday, an assistant U.S. attorney read an impact statement written by the victim and addressed to Cummins.
“Mr. Cummins, what you did to me is unspeakable. I don’t know that any words could ever accurately express how much pain I have suffered and continue to suffer because of you,” the statement said, in part.
Cummins had been suspended from his teaching job on Feb. 6, 2017, after another student saw him kissing his victim, NBC News reported, citing a criminal complaint. He was fired the day after an Amber Alert was issued by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and his teaching license was later revoked by the Tennessee Board of Education.
The girl’s family filed a lawsuit against Maury County Schools, claiming the district knew about Cummins’ predatory behavior leading up to his disappearance with the teen girl, according to WZTV-TV.
Cummins read a statement in court apologizing to his victim and his family.
"To the victim, I want you to know: I agree. This was not your fault. You were a kid. My misguided attempt to help you went sideways. Anything I can do to give you closure, I stand ready,” he said.
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