A former Tennessee teacher was sentenced in federal court Wednesday to 20 years in prison after running away with a 15-year-old student.
52-year-old Tad Cummins pleaded guilty last year to a charge of transportation of a minor across states lines with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activities and another charge of obstruction of justice, the US Attorney's Office said.
Cummins, according to prosecutors in April 2018, engaged in sexual activity with the girl several times in a classroom closet and in a car. They allegedly first had intercourse after he took her out of state.
Prosecutors said Cummins knew that the victim, in this case, had been sexually abused as a young child and knew she was suicidal which were some of the reasons he chose her.
While on the run, Cummins changed the license plates on his vehicle twice and disconnected its GPS, according to federal court documents. He also reportedly went by different names, changed his physical appearance and only used cash.
Elizabeth Thomas, who is now 17 attended Wednesday's hearing 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.
'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."'
She was convinced that the 52-year-old would have discarded her eventually if he had not been captured in April 2017 after a nationwide manhunt to find her.
“All you were was a man who just wanted sex, and you used me and manipulated me," the statement said. “Tad Cummins is a sick, disgusting criminal.”
Cummins was originally supposed to be sentenced back in September. Since he was sentenced in federal court, Cummins will have to serve all 20 years of his sentence with no possibility of parole.