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Crime News Teacher Scandals

Tennessee Teacher Accused Of Kidnapping Student For Sex For 38 Days Wants To Change Plea To Guilty

Last year, Tad Cummins and his former student Elizabeth Thomas ran off for 39 days. They were eventually found in a remote cabin posing as husband and wife.

By Gina Tron

Tad Cummins, the former forensics teacher from Tennessee accused of kidnapping a 15-year-old student for 38 days and taking her across state lines for sex, is expected to reverse his not guilty plea.

The announcement came on Thursday after Cummins’ attorney made a court filing describing his client’s desire to change his plea to guilty after "personal reflection," according to The Tennessean.  In May, Cummins pleaded not guilty to federal charges of charges of obstruction of justice and transporting a minor across state lines for the purpose of engaging in criminal sexual conduct.

In March 2017, Cummins, then 50, ran off with his former student Elizabeth Thomas. After a national manhunt, the two were discovered hiding out in a remote California cabin where they posed as husband and wife. The former teacher allegedly admitted to having sexual contact with the teen during “most nights” during their five weeks on the run.

"After case review, consultation, and personal reflection, he would like to enter a plea of guilty to both counts as charged in the Indictment," Cummin’s lawyer Dumaka Shabazz wrote in the new filing.

The family of the victim is reportedly happy about the change of plea. An attorney for Thomas’ family said this is a step toward justice. Anthony Thomas, Elizabeth's father, told WKRN in Nashville, "I've been notified by the FBI and I'm glad to hear it.”

In addition to these federal charges, Cummins is also expected to face state charges of kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor.

In September, an editor at The Columbia Daily Herald spotted Elizabeth at a fast food restaurant and started up an impromptu interview in which she reportedly said, “I don’t regret it [the ordeal with Cummins], nor do I say it was the right thing to do. It was an experience I’ll have to live with the rest of my life.”

[Photos: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation]

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