Tennessee teacher sentenced to 20 years in prison for kidnapping student

By Daniel Uria

Jan. 16 (UPI) -- A former Tennessee teacher was sentenced to 20 years in prison Wednesday for kidnapping a 15-year-old female student in 2017.

Tad Cummins, 52, was sentenced in Nashville after pleading guilty to charges of obstruction and transportation of a minor across state lines for the purposes of having criminal sexual intercourse and destruction, alteration or falsification of records in federal investigations.


Cummins also faces a lifetime of supervision after his release.

A statement by the victim read aloud by a federal prosecutor said she believes Cummins should face 38 years in prison, "one year for each day he kept me away from my family."

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"What you did to me was unspeakable," the statement read, according to NBC News. "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."

Authorities arrested Cummins in a rural area of Northern California after a nationwide search in 2017. Investigators said he took a 15-year-old female student across the country and engaged in sexual activity with her.


Cummins pleaded guilty to the federal crimes of crossing state lines to have sex with a minor and obstruction of justice in April.

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In court on Tuesday he read an apology to his family, saying he "embarrassed them" and "ruined their lives too" as well as to the victim.

"As a father and as a parent, to the family of the victim, I'm so sorry," he said. "If someone had done this to my girls I would want to hurt them. I wish I could go back in time.

"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."

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Cummins had been suspended from his teaching job at Culleoka Unit School on Feb. 6, 2017, after he was seen kissing the victim and was fired in April 2017 when an Amber Alert was issued by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. His teaching license was later revoked by the Tennessee Board of Education.

The victim's family also filed a lawsuit against Maury County Schools, stating the district knew about Cummins' behavior.

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